Growing diversity of issues and advocates showcase 2019 FOI Summit



                                 Issues and trends in state open government, public records and press freedom discussed

The National Freedom of Information Coalition concluded its 2019 FOI Summit in Dallas recently. The annual two-day conference features presentations from open government experts and practitioners on trending open government issues in state and local public institutions. This year’s event also celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the summit and NFOIC.

A diverse group of speakers and topics highlighted the sessions. Four new members were inducted into the State Open Government Hall of Fame. New features and formats were introduced, and selection of a new board president highlight the 2019 summit.

Summit sessions included online public record request portals; trends in state data management policies affecting public information; the growing role of litigation to obtain public records; how press freedom and open government challenges affect ethnic minority-centered news media; and a look forward to the future of state and local open government from technology, journalism and public sector perspectives.

A first-ever FOI research paper competition was held prior to the summit with the top three authors presenting their work. The other nine authors presented their papers at a poster session. The top three papers selected by a panel of judges included “Countering the Privatization of Public Records;” “Are Government Lawsuits Against Records Requesters SLAPP?;” and, “The Effects and Efficacy of Online Public Records Request Portals.”

Each year, the summit includes the State Open Government Hall of Fame induction ceremony. This year’s inductees were Brian Hunhoff (South Dakota), Richard P. McKee (California), Hyde Post (Georgia) and Laura Lee Prather (Texas).

During the NFOIC directors meeting, new board members Terry Mutchler and Tom Verdin were elected. David Cuillier was elected as the new board president, replacing Malcolm Leary who termed-out of the position after serving five years as NFOIC’s president. Academician, author and national speaker Cuillier has an extensive career in journalism, press freedom and FOI.

Kansas City will be the site for the 2020 National FOI Summit. For more information about the summit and links to content, please visit the 2019 FOI Summit web page ( View the summit program here.

NFOIC recognizes and thanks this year’s sponsors and contributors Bloomberg LP, the Charles Koch Institute, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, C.W. Scripps Company, Quorum and the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information and the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communication.