Opinion: I’m dancing every day on Tik Tok for journalism

In August, I filed a public record request for the personnel file of FAU’s former vice president of Student Affairs — along with two other related requests. Five months later, I’m still waiting for it.

Jan.+29+is+Student+Press+Freedom+Day%2C+an+event+organized+by+the+Student+Press+Law+Center.+Photo+courtesy+of+SPLC
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Opinion: I’m dancing every day on Tik Tok for journalism

Jan. 29 is Student Press Freedom Day, an event organized by the Student Press Law Center. Photo courtesy of SPLC

Jan. 29 is Student Press Freedom Day, an event organized by the Student Press Law Center. Photo courtesy of SPLC

Jan. 29 is Student Press Freedom Day, an event organized by the Student Press Law Center. Photo courtesy of SPLC

Jan. 29 is Student Press Freedom Day, an event organized by the Student Press Law Center. Photo courtesy of SPLC

Kristen Grau, Editor in Chief

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Correction: The UP’s Tik Tok on Jan. 6 states that I requested a personnel file in July. It was actually requested for in August.

I didn’t start dancing every day to Doja Cat’s “Say So” to be called a “dedicated artist” by The Washington Post — or to have another journalist on Twitter tell me I should win a Pulitzer Prize, journalism’s highest honor.

I did it to keep a visual track of how long it’s taken FAU’s public records department to fulfill a request I made in August. So far, I’ve made 20 Tik Toks, but I’ve waited 159 days for the simplest part of a three-part request: a personnel file. (FAU’s public records specialist emailed me Wednesday saying the request is “almost done.”)

Specifically, the personnel file of Corey King, the former vice president of Student Affairs who resigned last year, as the UP previously reported. A personnel file could include an employee’s salaries, complaints, and evaluations. 

Today is Student Press Freedom Day, which is promoted by a Washington, D.C.-based organization that gives free legal advice to high school and college journalists called the Student Press Law Center. And to mark Student Press Freedom Day, some student newsrooms will preach how their freedoms must be protected. 

But just telling non-journalists that what you do is both challenging and noble doesn’t work. You have to show them. One of those challenges is waiting for public records to come in, and Tik Tok is my way of illustrating how long journalists have to wait sometimes.

Will my Tik Toks speed up my request? Probably not. But that’s not the point. The point is to show people how long reporting can take when documents can take months to be released by the university.

So I won’t tell you how long and taxing it can be to wait for a public record to come in, especially when it’s the personnel file of a former employee that resigned last year. Instead, I’ll show you below, and you can keep up here.

@upressonlinejust journalism tings #charli #journalism #HMmerchformation♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline day 2 of dancing #fyp♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline dancing every day until I get my public records request♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline dancing every day until I get my one personnel file FOIA request. still no public records 🙁 #fyp #journalism♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline someone please tell me if I’m doing the dance right♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline u know the drill♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline #fyp♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline #journalism♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline #greenscreen first dance as a “dedicated artist” as coined by washingtonpost tik tok guy♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline ceo of wearing the same shirt two days in a row♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline#duet with upressonline♬ Say So – Doja Cat

@upressonline♬ original sound – upressonline

Kristen Grau is the editor-in-chief of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her @_kristengrau.