NFOIC News Releases

2016

2016 FOI Summit Concludes – Challenges to public records access in a digital age among top issues  - October 10, 2016 -- The annual two-day FOI Summit convened in Washington, D.C. and featured presentations on policing transparency, open data, proactive disclosure, attorney fees, FOI litigation and advocacy campaigns. The continually growing challenge for government to manage, and for open records petitioners to obtain, public information in an increasing digital age was a recurring theme throughout the summit. Continue..

"The godfather of nonprofit investigative journalism" to keynote 2016 FOI Summit - September 8, 2016 -- A best selling author and national investigative journalist for over 30 years, Charles “Chuck” Lewis will be the featured keynote speaker at NFOIC’s annual FOI Summit. Charles is a former producer for CBS News 60 Minutes and a reportorial producer for ABC News. He began the Center for Public Integrity from his home in 1989, growing it to a full-time staff of 40 people. He led the Center until 2005 when he co-founded Global Integrity. Continue...

2016 State Open Government Hall of Fame Inductee Announced - September 1, 2016 -- A former Tennessee and National Press Association president, AP board member, judge, district attorney, newspaper editor and publisher has been become the 16th inductee into the State Open Government Hall of Fame. Formal induction takes place on October 8th at the 2016 Freedom of Information Summit in Washington, D.C. More...

2016 FOI Summit Announced - 1 June 2016 -- The nation’s capital and the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Freedom of Information Act will serve as backdrops for the 2016 FOI Summit. The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and the D.C. Open Government Coalition (DCOGC) will convene the summit on Friday and Saturday, October 7-8, 2016 at the Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington, D.C. More...

FOI Fund contributes to U.S. Circuit Court ruling“Educational Requester” status to students - 25 May 2016 -- A United States Circuit Court in the District of Columbia ruled last week in a far-reaching federal FOIA case that “Educational Requester” status in federal FOIA petitions applies to all students seeking government information for educational purposes. The plaintiff used a loan from the Knight FOI Fund administered by NFOIC to finance her appeal. More...

Nominations sought for the State Open Government Hall of Fame "Heroes" - 24 May 2016 -- The State Open Government Hall of Fame is open to anyone who has made a substantial, sustained and lasting contribution to open government or freedom of information within one particular state. Nominations are accepted until July 15th. More...

Troubling Trends from Biennial Open Government Survey - 17 March 2016 -- NFOIC’s fourth biennial joint survey with the New York-based Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) shows a continuing trend that should be troubling to anyone who supports democratic freedom and open government including access to public institutions. Much of this challenge is coming from new digital forms of public records and how they are being created, classified and retrieved. More...

2015

NFOIC Names New Officers/Board Members at Annual FOI Summit - 11 October 2015 - The National Freedom of Information Coalitiontoday announced its 2016 officers and new board members during the 2015 FOI Summitin Denver. The new officers include: Mal Leary, President (vice president, Maine Freedom of Information Coalition); Katherine Garner, Vice President (executive director Florida First Amendment Foundation); Mark Horvit, Treasurer (executive director, Investigative Reporters and Editors); Megan Rhyne, Secretary (executive director, Virginia Coalition for Open Government). More...

NFOIC FOI Fund helps settle open meetings lawsuit in Florida - 10 September 2015 - Florida’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court in Hillsborough County ruled in favor of a retired Tampa firefighter who was kept out of a 2012 pension board meeting. The Board of Trustees of the City Pension Fund for Firefighters and Police Officers in the City of Tampa kept Dennis Ribaya out of the monthly pension board meeting with a “no trespass order.” According to the court filing, the Pension Board falsely accused him of “disrupting” a June meeting for saying an expletive. More...

AP General Counsel Karen Kaiser to Keynote 2015 FOI Summit - 8 September 2015 - The Associated Press General Counsel Karen Kaiser will be keynote speaker Oct. 10 at the 2015 FOI Summit Hall of Fame Luncheon in Denver, Colorado. Kaiser, who serves as AP senior vice president, counsels global AP reporters on all editorial matters including subpoena and libel defense, government investigations, reporter’s privilege, and access issues. Her efforts to ensure open and transparent government include leading AP’s legal strategy against the U.S. Department of Justice following the seizure of AP’s phone records and its lawsuit against the State Department for access to the emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. More...

Veteran newspaper editor and Sunshine Week pioneer named to FOI Hall of Fame - 31 August 2015 - Former Miami Herald managing editor, Pete Weitzel has become the 16th inductee into the State Open Government Hall of Fame. Known as the “Heroes of the Fifty States,” the Open Government Hall of Fame is a joint initiative of the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and the Society of Professional Journalists. Inductees are recognized for their "long and steady effort to preserve and protect the free flow of information about state and local government that is vital to the public in a democracy." Formal induction takes place on October 10th at the 2015 Freedom of Information Summit in Denver, Colorado. More...

2015 Open Government survey to measure transparency of public institutions - 25 August 2015 - The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and the New York-based Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) has sent its fourth biennial open government survey to its members to identify current trends in public institutions for requesting and accessing public records.  This year, Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) will participate and include their membership in the survey. Combined, the three organizations have 8,000 members who will receive the 24 question survey. Participants will include professionals from the news media, the legal profession and government watchdog organizations.  More...

FOI filing and tracking requests now available from participating NFOIC state and regional coalitions with FOIA Machine - 12 August 2015 - The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and FOIA Machine (FM) have teamed to help people file and track their FOI requests online through select NFOIC state and regional member web sites. Visitors to more than 20 NFOIC member coalition web sites will be able to use FOIA Machine's technology to prepare, file and track their FOI request to public agencies at the local, state, or federal levels. More...

NFOIC provides funding for open meetings lawsuit in Florida - 18 July 2015 - The Knight FOI Fund, a legal war chest administered by the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC), has awarded a $5,000 grant to support a Florida lawsuit that could invalidate a March 2011 ballot referendum in St. Pete Beach on the grounds that the city commission made improper, closed-door decisions authorizing the citywide vote. Attorney Kenneth Weiss of Treasure Island, FL said he would file a lawsuit on behalf of St. Pete Beach resident Jim Anderson contending that the city made decisions authorizing the vote in illegal secret meetings in November 2010 and January 2011.

Knight FOI fund helps bring settlement in Florida Governor Lawsuit - 24 June 2015 - he Associated Press reported that Florida Governor Rick Scott and his Cabinet are settling a lawsuit* filed by media organizations and others over the firing of former Florida Department of Law Enforcement chief Gerald Bailey. The lawsuit was filed by St. Petersburg attorney Matthew Weidner, Citizens for Sunshine and nine media organizations including the Florida First Amendment Foundation and the Associated Press. To help with litigation costs, Mr. Weidner applied for and received an FOI grant from the National Freedom of information Coalition (NFOIC). NFOIC offers litigation grants to qualified applicants to pursue important open government cases. The fund is made possible through a generous donation from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to NFOIC, the fund’s administrator. More...

NFOIC and SPJ combine war chests to fight for Freedom of Information - 23 March 2015 - The Society of Professional Journalists and the National Freedom of Information Coalition are joining forces – and legal war chests –  to help citizens and journalists fight for public records. The two groups will band together to help litigants who sue for access to government information. The NFOIC can provide court fees and SPJ help for attorney fees. Both organizations also will use their combined national networks of journalists and citizens to apply public pressure to government agencies that flaunt the law.

2015 Sunshine Week NFOIC state affiliate activities - 16 March 2015 -  NFOIC and its state and regional affiliate members are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Sunshine Week 2015. Together, we have planned events and announcements to recognize this important annual event. More...