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Get Hearings Fast!

Getting a hearing quickly is difficult if not impossible — unless you have money. Now, without fanfair, one committee is making it easier. See a list here, and read more about it in Dan Froomkin’s article, Citizen Journalists, Start Your Engines! (December 4, 2007).

Major hearings are often transcribed in real-time by CQ Transcripts and the Federal News Service, but those are copyrighted works that are only available to those who pay for them or have a subscription to Nexis.

Up until now, it took more than six months for public-domain transcripts of most hearings to become available. They had to work their way through an arduous proofing and approval process before finally being published by the Government Printing Office.

But now, without any formal announcement, the House Oversight Committee has started Web-publishing the preliminary transcripts prepared by official stenographers as soon as they are available — typically within a few days of the hearing. In other words, while the news is still fresh.

Let’s hope other committees follow its lead.

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