2019 FOI Summit

FOI Summit


NFOIC and the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas announce the 2019 National FOI Summit will convene in Dallas, Texas on April 12-13, 2019. The 2019 summit also marks the 30th anniversary of NFOIC and the FOI summit. The summit hotel will be the Magnolia Dallas Downtown. Attendees can take advantage of a special hotel rate.

Click here to book your room at our special room rate.

Register for the summit here!

This year's summit will include new features including a call for papers that encompass any research methodological approach (legal, survey, experimental, content analysis, etc.) that provide insights of practical value in access to government information. Topics may include issues regarding access to public records and meetings, court transparency, access to public employees and elected officials, open data and technology, and other related matters. Special features are planned in recognition of NFOIC's 30th anniversary.

Check back for updates or send your email to nfoic@nfoic.org with "FOI Summit" in the subject line and we will notify you about updates.  

More information coming soon... See you in Dallas!

Call for Papers Announcement


2019 National FOI Summit Agenda (Proposed and Tentative)


Thursday - April 11, 2019 – NFOIC Board of Directors

Registration Open

NFOIC Board Meeting – 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm with lunch served

NFOIC Board Dinner – 7:00 pm (est.)


Friday – April 12, 2019 – Day #1

Registration Open

8:00 am – 9:00 am - Breakfast

9:00 am – Welcome  

9:30 am – 10:30 am - Session #1 - Online Public Records Portals and the future of FOI administration

It’s been said that if it isn’t measured, it’s not managed.  A key metric missing in many state and local public institutions is comprehensive reporting of public record requests and responses. Can the growing use of online public record portals improve responses and provide a meaningful measurement for FOI administration? Learn more about how these online solutions help and hinder a fundamental feature of open government in our states and communities.  

10:45 am - 11:45 am - Session #2 - How cybersecurity laws and new data management policies are impacting access to public information

As states bolster their cybersecurity laws to protect sensitive or private data, some transparency measures are being challenged or overruled, making it more difficult to access public records. How can journalists, open government advocates and public records stewards better navigate these changes? And how does technology like cloud storage of public information come into play?

12:00 pm – 1:00pm – Lunch & Learn - Knight Foundation Report on State FOI

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm – Session #3 - Papers Presentation

Authors of selected papers will provide insights of practical value for those who work day-to-day in access to government information. Topics may include issues regarding access to public records and meetings, court transparency, access to public employees and elected officials, open data and technology, and other related matters. (Learn more here…)

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm – Session #4 - The growing role of litigation for government transparency

Journalists, open government advocates and residents sometimes need to sue their government to obtain public records. And nowadays, sometimes they’re the ones getting sued by the public institution. Reasons vary. But lawsuits aren’t cheap or quick. We’ll talk about the different reasons on both sides and options from journalism and FOI organizations that contribute to the rise in public records litigation, as well as strategies for open government and first amendment groups to work together to find solutions to this public access challenge.

3:45 pm - 4:45 pm – Session #5 - State lightning talks: Trends around the nation

Representatives from NFOIC state coalitions provide a three- to five-minute talk highlighting the biggest open government challenges and wins in their state in the last year. We’ll also present the results of our coalition-wide survey and discuss trends in the needs of coalitions in 2019.

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Welcome Reception


Saturday – April 13, 2019 – Day #2

Registration Open

8:00 am – 9:00 am - Breakfast

8:30 am – 9:00 am - NFOIC Members Meeting

9:15 am – 10:15 am – Session #6 - Funding First Amendment challenges today

Representatives from major philanthropies will discuss the current initiatives they are funding in open government and first amendment challenges, what they see has the most need in 2019 and beyond, and why support from multiple groups matters when it comes to press freedoms, transparency reform and advancing democracy.

10:30 am – 11:30 am – Session #7 - How press freedom and open government challenges affect minorities and minority-centered news organizations

Open government and first amendment issues impact all of society. However, some issues have a greater impact on certain audiences. In this session, we’ll hear from minority-centered news organizations and journalists about their perspectives on today’s transparency challenges considering key historical, cultural and socio-economic challenges unique to different minority groups (e.g. immigration and Black Lives Matter).

11:30 – 12:00 Room Transition (free time to catch up on email and calls)

12:00 – 1:45       Open Government Hall of Fame Inductee

                           30-year NFOIC retrospect

                           FOI Summit Keynote Speaker

2:00 – 3:00 – Session #8 - Leveraging news media to pressure government action

One of the best ways to enact reforms in transparency laws and policies is to tell people about the real-world impact of open government laws and policies. We’ll look back at recent actions by state governments to enact sweeping negative changes to their state open government laws that were thwarted by an aggressive public response led by the news media.  We’ll talk about how to leverage news media to help enact changes in laws and policies, and how to create a grassroots effort to pressure public officials through social media and other outlets.

3:15 – 4:15 – Session #9 - 30 years of NFOIC and State FOI: Trailblazers and the next generation of open government leaders

The federal Freedom of Information Act became a law in 1966 and led the way for similar state open government and transparency legislation across the U.S.  As NFOIC celebrates its 30th anniversary, we’ll hear from transparency pioneers and next generation trailblazers and consider the future of open government considering the radical changes in technology, governing, politics and journalism.

4:15 Wrap up & Adjourn