We do it on behalf of you, our readers.

Over the last few months, you may have noticed news stories about our battles with Rhode Island government over the free pursuit of information.

We’ve sued the Superior Court and Judge Netti Vogel over her refusal to let reporters interview jurors after a murder trial, and the judge’s later letter to jurors — never retracted — in which she proposed to serve as a gatekeeper if they wanted to talk to our reporter.

We’ve also filed a legal complaint seeking information from the secretary of state’s office that includes dates of birth for voters, so we can track whether people are registered to vote in more than one Rhode Island city or town. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea has refused to give us that information, although its release is legal and it has been made public in the past.

This kind of fight is not about putting particular public servants — who in other contexts may be doing commendable work — on the spot. It’s about our own work of shining a light on the operations of our government. Which we do on behalf of you, our readers.

We all have an interest in making sure our court system is functioning properly. That’s one reason why we seek to talk to jurors after a verdict is rendered in a big case.

And we all want our election system to work well, with people able to vote in only one jurisdiction at a time. That’s impossible to assess unless we can separate one Robert Smith or Jane Jones from another.

The right to this information, of course, belongs to the public as a whole, not just to the press. Most members of the public, though, don’t have the time to pursue such questions, or the resources to run the sort of data programs that can make sense of a statewide voter roll.

We do. So we act for the public, part of our role as watchdog of Rhode Island’s government.

Speaking of resources, our work in this field is not cheap. The state spent nearly $50,000 just through Nov. 7 to oppose us on the Vogel case alone; the bill has undoubtedly climbed since then. We, too, have faced considerable expenses over the last year in fighting for your right to know.

We’re lucky that we have the support of our parent company, GateHouse Media, in facing these legal costs. Journalism these days isn’t an easy field to finance, but GateHouse executives have been unhesitating in their backing of us.

They understand, as we do, the importance of holding government accountable. If we don’t do it, who’s going to?

One more reason to preserve local newspapers.

Our quarterly economic scorecard

And speaking of things that only we can do ...

We heard a lot during last fall’s election about Rhode Island’s economy — either a disaster or a beacon, depending on who you listened to. More recently, there have been warnings from some quarters that the state was again about to head into recession, a canary in the national coal mine.

Today we publish the third installment of the quarterly Providence Journal Economic Scorecard — our own nonpartisan index of important indicators of the state’s economic performance.

The latest numbers, as crunched by The Journal’s data-reporting expert, Paul Edward Parker, show that 10 out of 11 indicators moved in a good direction — a sign that as of December, Rhode Island was doing just fine.

No spin. Just fact. Only from The Providence Journal and providencejournal.com.

— Alan Rosenberg is The Journal’s executive editor.

(401) 277-7409

arosenberg@providencejournal.com

On Twitter: @AlanRosenbergPJ