If you are seeking information for news, research or educatinal purposes you get certain fee benefits under the federal FOI Act. You cannot be charged for the time it takes to search for the records and review them, and you get 100 pages of copies at no charge. If you are a commercial requester or are seeking the information for purposes other than those listed above, you pay for search and review time and all copies.
If you are seeking the information for publication and it will primarily benefit the general public you may be entitled to fee waivers and the information might cost little or nothing.
Journalists and others who are entitled to fee benefits or fee waivers should send their request letters on letterhead stationery if possible. Journalists employed by news organizations should have no difficulty demonstrating that they are entitled to fee benefits and that they are likely to publish the information and should be considered for fee waivers. Freelancers should include a list of prior publications or other information demonstrating that they are engaged in news gathering. Explain briefly the purpose for which you are seeking the information and the public benefit disclosure will serve. If you're worried about protecting yourself from being scooped this section of your letter has to be drafted carefully.