For the past two years, OGIS has been trying to be a transparent, useful agency. In March 2011, it launched a handy FOIA blog, and according to a first-year report (PDF) published that same month, it has claimed overall success and positive outcomes in the majority of cases it handled. In its first year, the OGIS caseload consisted of 391 FOIA cases from forty different states. OGIS reported having aided 80 percent of requestors reach “agreement” with the government agency that was giving them trouble. By its second year, OGIS had helped over 1,200 requesters.
But today, many have never heard of OGIS, let alone used it to help with stuck or pending FOIA requests. “I don’t know of any experience with OGIS here,” Andrew Donohue, founder of the investigative website Voice of San Diego, told me via e-mail. Ryan Gabrielson, staff reporter for California Watch, said he’d never used them, either. Neither had Doug Longhini, an investigative producer at CBS News.