Journalists of Color, state coalitions benefit from NFOIC program funded by SPJ Foundation grant

The National Freedom of Information Coalition’s $5,000 grant from the SPJ Foundation helped 24 journalists of color sharpen their skills in acquiring public records and connected them to experts in more than 12 states.  The FOI Bootcamp for Journalists of Color provided a two-hour virtual training on records access, analyzing data, and serving disadvantaged communities….

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NFOIC seeks administrative support, invites applications from member coalitions

The National Freedom of Information Coalition Board of Directors voted Sept. 28, 2021, to invite applications from member coalitions interested in entering a contract to provide NFOIC administrative support services. Under a three-year contract, the NFOIC would provide $10,000 annually to the supporting coalition, starting July 1, 2022, in exchange for administrative duties that would…

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Four state heroes to be inducted into NFOIC’s Open Government Hall of Fame

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA, Sept. 16, 2021 — Four “Heroes of the 50 States,” representing Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, will be inducted Sept. 30 into the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s State Open Government Hall of Fame, as the Class of 2021. The inductees have backgrounds in law, journalism, and academia.  The 2021 inductees are: The…

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Letter to Supreme Court: Make live audio streaming permanent, accessible

The National Freedom of Information Coalition and 75 other organizations signed a letter urging Chief Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court to permanently provide live audio access to oral arguments. “Providing live audio access to cases during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has convincingly demonstrated the public’s appetite to observe the operations of the Court,” reads…

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Winners of research competition to present findings at 2021 FOI Summit

Five research papers have been accepted to the third annual National Freedom of Information Coalition FOI research competition, to be presented online Sept. 28, 2021, at the FOI Summit. In all, seven one-page proposals were entered and five selected through double-blind peer review for final consideration. Then, a team of eight expert judges rated the…

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Letter, signed by NFOIC, urges New York governor to publish COVID data

Ten open government groups, including the National Freedom of Information Coalition, signed a Sept. 7, 2021, letter urging New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to publish COVID-19 data. “Publishing COVID data in a tabular, downloadable, machine-readable format would help restore trust in state government and help researchers, journalists and the public to better understand the dire…

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States with coalitions for open government are more transparent, new study finds

A study published in the August 2021 edition of The Journal of Civic Information found that states with coalitions for open government are more likely to have counties that are more transparent, resulting in faster and more complete responses, as well as greater communication, in the public records process. Marquette University’s A.Jay Wagner based the…

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NFOIC’s newest member to focus on public access, investigative journalism in Florida

The National Freedom of Information Coalition welcomes its newest member, the Florida Center for Government Accountability.  Barbara A. Petersen, executive director of the Florida Center for Government Accountability, previously served on NFOIC’s Board and as president of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation.  Petersen says the new organization will focus on public access and investigative journalism. “The Florida Center…

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Study examines: Does a state constitutional right to know make a difference?

State constitutional rights guaranteeing access to information can’t hurt, and may help, when judges balance the interests of disclosure and privacy.  But there’s little evidence that a constitutional right to access produces better results directly for requesters. That’s, in part, because many variables influence the outcome of a request, particularly the state’s political culture.  Those…

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NFOIC signs brief, urging access to opinions of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

The National Freedom of Information Coalition, along with 30 other organizations, signed a Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press amicus brief in support of greater access to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinions and orders. Several organizations in recent years have sought access to the specialized court’s opinions. In April 2021, the American Civil Liberties…

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