National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

NFOIC presents Lighting The Way: Illuminating Information & Innovation with Uncovered

For Sunshine Week 2022, The National Freedom of Information Coalition & Uncovered: A Cold Case Platform proudly present “Lighting the Way: Illuminating Information and Innovation.”

This year, the NFOIC examines freedom of information through the lens of technology — how technological solutions can help us, or in some cases hinder us, as we work to understand the world around us and to ensure government transparency.

2 p.m. Eastern, Monday, March 14 — “Igniting Inspiration: Bringing Data to Light and to Life,” presented by Lam Thuy Vo, data journalist in residence at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. She’s explored how excessive ‘quality-of-life’ complaints led to the over-policing of minorities, how badly constructed algorithms helped spread hate-speech and warp our understanding of politics, and how changes in immigration enforcement drove immigrants into the arms of fraudulent lawyers. Previously, she has reported for BuzzFeed News, The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera America, and NPR’s Planet Money and told economic and political stories across the U.S. and throughout Asia. This session will focus on FOI & data possibilities — accomplishments via scraping and reporting using FOI requests.

3 p.m. Eastern, Wednesday, March 16 — “Sparking Discovery: Using FOI and Big Data to Tell Stories, Build Community, and Solve Problems,” presented by David Cuillier, NFOIC board president and University of Arizona associate professor; Grace Cheng, director of government practice, practical law, at Thomson Reuters; and Ashlee Fujawa, co-founder and head of community of Uncovered, a cold case platform, and NFOIC partner. The panel will cover the basics of making open records requests, how to deal with denials, and how to present data in ways that engage and empower the public.    

The NFOIC welcomes your attendance, regardless of your ability to pay. We are pleased to offer these sessions at no cost to you, but we absolutely welcome your donations, as you are able to give and no matter the amount. Better yet, consider joining your state open government coalition and becoming a member of the NFOIC. Here’s how.

Uncovered’s data-driven platform provides citizens with access to hundreds of cold case overviews from those involved, timelines, and relevant locations via Google Maps. The organization also created a space for community engagement, offering anyone the ability to join the conversation. People can submit cases they believe need more attention and research. Uncovered believes in citizen detective work and offers a free Citizen Detective Guide, which helps individuals learn about how information is perceived, requested, and collected. According to Uncovered, more than 200,000 cases have gone cold since 1980. Equity of resources and attention paid to cases depends on the characteristics of the victim. In 1965, the murder clearance rate was 91%. By 2017, it had dropped to 62%.