2008 FOI Summit


The 2008 FOI Summit in Philadelphia is now a part of FOI lore, but the lessons we can take from it are just beginning to sink in.

The two-day event concluded the afternoon of May 10 with the assurance that the work of NFOIC and FOI advocates everywhere will continue unabated.

“We think this year’s Freedom of Information summit was a huge success,” said Charles Davis, executive director of NFOIC. “We’re always amazed at just how much work goes into this, but the end result always makes it worth the effort. We could not be more pleased or more grateful.”

The National Freedom of Information Coalition would like to thank:

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

News from the Summit

  • Coalition Care and Feeding — You’ve formed your own FOI group, created a cool logo and you are ready to try to save the world, or open government at least. But what’s the next step?
  • FOI Reform Efforts: Rewriting Your State’s Laws? — Sometimes it takes a juicy public scandal to get the citizenry interested in open government. Pennsylvania and Iowa got just that, but with mixed results for FOI reform. Pennsylvania has a new law. Iowa’s failed to make it out of legislative committee.
  • Author Gup Sees Secrecy in Present and Past — Ted Gup worries about what people don’t know. And worse, that people don’t know what they don’t know. Or don’t seem to care.
  • FOI 2.0: Wikis and Podcasts and Blogs, Oh My! — The FOI movement has gone high-tech in recent years with plenty of new tools to encourage information sharing, and these tools are already revolutionizing the way we use public records.
  • Building the Perfect Ombudsman’s Office — OK, there’s no such thing as the perfect ombudsman’s office. But there are some ways to create a really good one, according to experts.
  • My State is Worse than Your State—or is it? — Here’s one great way to find out how your state access laws stack up with others on key issues – go to citizenaccess.org. You can examine state FOI laws in a multitude of ways. You can look at one issue across 50 states for comparison purposes, or look at state law summaries and even get advice about specific access issues from a “Rapid Response Team.”
  • Sunshine Week Roundtable — The fourth annual Sunshine Week has come and gone and advocates of access can start planning ahead to No. 5 with lots of bright ideas posted on sunshineweek.org.
  • Ex-reporter Urges Journalists to Fight for National Shield Law — It’s time for journalists to band together and fight harder for a national shield law, said a former USA Today reporter who for years never saw the need for such protection.
  • Beltway Update — Nobody has been more surprised than Lucy Dalglish to see such widespread congressional support of a federal shield law to protect the confidentiality of reporters’ sources.
  • Identity Theft — A lively discussion on privacy versus open access to government records highlighted divergent opinions on how to reduce the risk of identity theft.