Washington Beat Book

Written for reporters by reporters, the Washington Beat Book provides a crash course in government agencies for those assigned to cover the federal government. Paul Miller Fellows select and profile each agency, with relevant links and resources. Click an agency seal to browse the information compiled by our fellows, or navigate directly to an agency's website with the provided link.

Office of the Federal Register

The Office of the Federal Register

The Office of the Federal Register (OFR), an agency within the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), is a resource for anyone reporting on the federal government's day-to-day operations or assigned to a beat involving the environment, health care, exports, education or other major public policy issues. Through the OFR and the Government Printing Office (GPO), journalists can access the official text of federal laws, presidential documents, administrative regulations and notices about scheduled hearings and grant applications. In addition to administering the Electoral College and the Constitutional Amendment Process, the OFR publishes the Federal Register, The Code of Federal Regulations, United States Statutes At Large, Privacy Act Issuances and other document compilations.

The Federal Register: The Daily Journal of the US Government

The Federal Register is perhaps the OFR's most useful resource for journalists. Published by 6 a.m. Monday through Friday, with the exception of federal holidays, the Federal Register, also referred to as the Fed. Reg., is the official journal of the US federal government. The Fed. Reg. contains proposed rules, executive orders, proclamations and any other presidential documents. It is a useful research tool and a great way for journalists to find story ideas.

The Fed. Reg. is available in print, on microfiche and on the Internet. To access the publication for free online visit the Federal Register 2.0, the GPO’s Federal Digital System. Archives dating back to 1994 are available online. Archives dating back to the Federal Register's creation in 1935 are accessible at any Federal Depository Library. Click here to find one near you.  Reporters do not have to waste time skimming through endless pages to find out whether or not something of interest to their beat is included in the day’s edition of the Fed. Reg. The index breaks down all of the content alphabetically by agency and includes one sentence synopses of the content that journalists can read and decide whether or not its contents are  worth their time.

The Federal Register for Busy Journalists

Don't have time for the hard copy or the full online text of the Federal Register? Journalists can subscribe to Federal Register email notifications and RSS feeds. The Federal Register email notifications will not flood your inbox with updates irrelevant to your beat. Journalists can tailor e-mail updates and feeds so they are only notified when there is information relevant to their news beat. For directions on how to customize email notifications or to receive pre-configured notifications visit the Federal Register Blog.  For standard agency notifications visit the National Archives website.

The Federal Register 2.0 is easy to navigate and loaded with information that may help you come up with a story idea that hasn't yet caught the attention of the mainstream media. The Federal Register's blog can be another story-generator tool. A list of all topics that have appeared in the Federal Register is available here. It includes everything from exports and government contracts to straw, watermelons and dry cleaners. Click here for more information on the how to maximize your search results.


The Public Papers of the US Presidents

The Public Papers of the US Presidents are also published twice a year and contain all Executive Orders, Proclamations, Administrative Orders and text of addresses and remarks of a public nature made by the President.The search can be narrowed by time frame, subject or addressed agency. Up until the inauguration of Pres. Barack Obama, the OFR printed a weekly compilation of presidential documents. It now publishes a daily compilation on its website.

The US Government Manual Online Edition

In April 2011, The OFR announced the first-ever Internet release of the new United States Government Manual (the Manual), the official handbook of the Federal Government. The Manual provides easy access to agency organizational charts, definitions of the federal government's commonly used abbreviations and acronyms, and a detailed section on Federal agencies that have been terminated, transferred, or changed in name since March 1933.


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Does this agency's information need updating? programs@nationalpress.org

Contact Information

  • 202 741-6000