Coalition leads project seeking records related to university’s hiring of Nikole Hannah-Jones

The North Carolina Open Government Coalition is leading a project to educate the public and encourage collaboration among journalists covering the University of North Carolina. The coalition, partnering with journalists, professors and nonprofit organizations, filed eight requests with the university, seeking records related to the hiring of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones as the Knight…

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A FOIA beginner’s guide to requesting a FBI file – Looking to get records out of the Bureau? Here’s where to start

One of questions we’re most frequently asked at MuckRock is how to request the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s files on an individual. To help clear up the process, we’ve compiled this simple flowchart to make sure you have everything you need before you file that FOIA. While this guide was written specifically for people making their…

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Poynter: Journalists around the country are joining a Slack channel devoted to FOIA and Trump

A few days before President Trump's inauguration, MuckRock opened up a Slack channel to help journalists better cover him and his administration.

As of Wednesday, 250 people signed up. Most are journalists, about half from national newsrooms and half from local newsrooms around the country. Update: As of Thursday, 1,500 people have signed up.

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Maine State Police “can neither confirm nor deny” use of cellphone surveillance

“Glomar” rejections, as they are known, are mostly issued by federal agencies like the CIA on requests about black ops programs or operations gone wrong, and they have a tight legal scope. Those infamous words, “we can neither confirm nor deny,” are only supposed to come out when national security is at risk, or if someone’s name appearing or not appearing in a law enforcement document would have a ruinous effect on that person’s life or character.

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MuckRock is launching a national database of FOIA exemptions

In the 2015 fiscal year, the U.S. federal government processed 769,903 Freedom of Information requests. The government fully fulfilled only 22.6 percent of those requests; 44.9 percent of federal FOIA requests were either partially or fully denied. Even though the government denied at least part of more than 345,000 requests, it only received 14,639 administrative appeals.

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EFF Fights to End Prior Restraint Against MuckRock

EFF on Wednesday asked a Washington state trial court to lift its order that forced the public records website MuckRock to take down documents one of its users had lawfully obtained.

The motion EFF filed on behalf of MuckRock and its co-founder, Michael Morisy, argues that the court order requiring the site to de-publish these public records was an unconstitutional prior restraint.  Continue…

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