National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

2007 FOI Summit

Seattle Sunshine: 2007 FOI Summit is now a part of FOI history, but it won’t be forgotten any time soon.

While the two-day event in Seattle, Washington, concluded the afternoon of May 12, the work of NFOIC and FOI advocates everywhere will continue into the foreseeable future.

The National Freedom of Information Coalition would like to thank our host, the Washington Coalition for Open Government, for all their hard work, as well as our generous sponsors and the wonderful folks at the Seattle Marriott Waterfront. Further, we’d like to thank reporter Aimee Edmondson from the Missouri School of Journalism for her excellent work.

Finally, of course, we are grateful to all conference attendees for their support.

“This year’s Freedom of Information summit was, by all accounts, a huge success,” said Charles Davis, executive director of NFOIC. “It was a great chance to hear about the latest in FOI issues, to mingle with likeminded FOI activists and eat some great food!”

We’re also fortunate that TVW, Washington State’s Public Affairs Network, is providing video and/or audio coverage of many of the summit’s events. Below, you’ll find a link to a list of Windows Media, Real Media, and Podcast mp3 recordings available at the TVW site.

Panel Highlights

  • FOI Training in the States: What Your State Can Do — The Sunshine state is sunnier than ever with Gov. Charlie Crist’s creation of a special counsel for open government in the governor’s office. He appointed Pat Gleason to the job.
  • Sports Secrecy: Stadium Deals In The Luxury Suites? — For former sportswriter Murray Sperber, it’s the same old playbook. He asks for public records relating to big-time college sports and officials want to charge him a dollar a page for copies. Then there’s the “flood-the-zone trick.” They give him piles of documents and figure he can’t wade through everything to find the information they don’t want him to find.
  • Telling Stories About Secrecy: On the FOI Beat — Kansas City Star reporter Mike McGraw sets aside plenty of time for the care and feeding of sources. He works to develop relationships with Freedom of Information officers within various public agencies, so when he needs a document, he knows who to call first.
  • Election Transparency: The Next Great FOI Story? — When you are a political reporter and your state’s gubernatorial election flip flops winners amid a weeks-long investigation into voting irregularities, you need every related public record you can get.
  • Bridging the Red-Blue Divide: Keeping Access A Bipartisan Issue — In Washington State, the push for open government is coming from both sides of the aisle. And some public officials from both parties support cutting down on the increasing number of exemptions finding their way on the books. Across the political spectrum, this includes Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna and Democratic State Auditor Brian Sonntag.