I've been reporting long enough to remember when I had to call the city personnel office to get a public official's salary, and getting a city contract meant trekking to the Municipal Services Building or begging some kind clerical worker to fax me a copy.

We now live in an age in which an enormous amount of public information is available online. But plenty isn't, and public officials can put you through quite a dance to get the stuff you're after.

If you're a journalist, an aspiring journalist, or somebody who's curious about how your tax dollars are spent, consider coming to WHYY Tuesday evening, March 12th. My WHYY colleagues Chris Satullo, Holly Otterbein and I will join Bill Allison, the national editorial director of the Sunlight Foundation, which promotes government openness and transparency.

It will be a hands-on discussion of how to figure out what public information is available, and how to get it.

Doors open at 7. It's free to WHYY members, five bucks if you aren't (and why would that be?).