2018 FOI Summit

2018 FOI Summit homepage

The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and the Ohio Coalition of Open Government (OCOG) convened the 2018 FOI Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, on September 21st and 22nd at the Westin Cincinnati.

The 29th annual summit is a gathering of state FOI coalition directors, journalists, attorneys, and open government and first amendment advocates focused on issues and trends around state and local open government legislation, policies and practices. An excellent networking experience, the summit includes panel discussions, presentations, and group interaction among FOI and First Amendment experts, advocates and champions. Read the post-summit news release

The summit also included the State Open Government Hall of Fame luncheon. This year’s inductee, Terry Mutchler was recognized for her lifetime achievements in Pennsylvania. Tom Curley, Associate General Counsel at the Gannett Company provided the keynote address.   


2018 FOI Summit Schedule 

Friday, September 21


12:00 pm – 4:00 pm       NFOIC Board meeting (board members only)


 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm         Welcome Reception

Location: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 50 East Freedom Way

Sponsor: The E.W. Scripps Company



Saturday, September 22

**All Saturday sessions convene in Tyler-Davis Room, 2nd floor**


7:30 am  –  Registration


7:30 – 8:30 am          Breakfast and Round Table Discussions (open to all)

Sponsor: Charles Koch Institute, Arlington, VA

Join your fellow coalition directors and open government advocates for breakfast featuring a series of concurrent roundtable discussions important to state coalitions with topics ranging from sustainability to impact. Conversations will include fundraising, marketing, advocacy/lobbying and sustainability.


8:30 am – 9:00 am          NFOIC Members Meeting (open to all)

President’s Report – Mal Leary, Managing Editor, The Maine Capitol Connection Channel

Treasurer’s Report – Mark Horvit, Associate Professor, University of Missouri School of Journalism

Elections – Deborah Fisher, NFOIC Secretary and Executive Director, Tennessee Coalition for Open Government


9:15 am – 10:45 am       State Reports

Discuss the findings from a survey of state coalitions on the year’s victories, setbacks and challenges in FOI and open government.  Participate in a discussion on Public Records Fees –the case to charge or not to charge. Inconsistencies exist in how fees are established and administered across jurisdictions, and even within the same administration. Do policies match reality? How are fees decided? What evidence exists, and should different fees apply based on the requester? Can realistic reforms be developed and enforced to justify whether public agencies should charge fees for this important public service?

Facilitator: David Cuillier, Director, University of Arizona School of Journalism, NFOIC board member

 Presentation Slides


11:00 am – 11:45 am     Open Data and Proactive Disclosure – Low overhead/High ROI

Reforms to FOI administration can begin with public agencies adopting consistent policies to manage information and data. Collecting, organizing and reporting public information for release before it is requested can save time and money. This session explores the value of progressive policies governing proactive disclosure and open data.

Moderator:   Dennis Hetzel, Executive Director, Ohio News Media Association and President, Ohio Coalition for Open Government

Speakers:    Craig Cheatham – Chief Investigative Reporter, 9 On Your Side WCPO, Cincinnati

                    Rep. Mike Duffey – Ohio State House of Representatives

                    Marc Joffe – Senior Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation, Los Angeles

Presentation Slides


12:00 pm – 1:15 pm       State Open Government Hall of Fame Luncheon

Sponsors: The Cincinnati Enquirer, part of the USA TODAY Network and Graydon Law

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm         Open Meeting Laws: Fixing Weaknesses and Blocking End Runs

Conversations among elected government officials about public business that do not occur in a public forum typically violate state open meeting laws. Due to growing use of technology devices and apps, violations are on the rise.  Join a discussion about state open meeting laws and help identify elements for model legislation and mechanisms to enforce those already on the books to ensure public meetings remain open to the public.

Moderator:  John C. Greiner, Attorney, Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP

Speakers:   Miranda Spivack, Reveal journalist, DCCOG board member

                   John P. Schmidt, Vice President, New Jersey Foundation for Open Government

                   Melanie Majors, Executive Director, New Mexico Foundation for Open Government


2:45 pm – 3:45 pm     The Public Records Appeals Process – Best Practices & Professional Standards

Twenty-three states still lack a formal public records appeal process, leaving a denied records petitioner in those states with little option but to sue. Litigation comes at a cost in time and resources to both the petitioner and the government entity being sued. Some states are addressing the growing challenge surrounding an effective appeals process. This session highlights three regional states that administer distinct models for appealing denied public record requests.

Moderator:  David M. Giles, VP, Deputy General Counsel, Chief Ethics Officer, The E.W. Scripps Co.

Speakers:   Jeff Clark, Public Records Master at Ohio Court of Claims

                   Amye Bensenhaver, Assistant Attorney General, Commonwealth of Kentucky (ret.)

                   Luke Britt, Indiana Public Access Counselor

Presentation Slides


4:00 pm – 5:00 pm         Access Denied: law enforcement and criminal justice records

Public records concerning law enforcement tend to be the most difficult to access. From use-of-force to predictive policing, and from sentencing data to body cam footage, agencies in the justice system are consistent at one thing: denying access. This session addresses the challenges to obtain public records including research models and data analysis techniques used by these agencies, along with the validity and legality of their policies and practices.

Moderator:  Frank LoMonte, Executive Director, Brechner Center for Freedom of Information

Speakers:   Robert Hutchinson, Senior Research Fellow, Measures for Justice

                   Bridget C. DuPey, Editor in Chief, Denver Law Review (invited)

Presentation Slides


5:00 pm                               Wrap Up and Adjourn