A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


#FOI


April 16th, 2018 • Journalism Education
Student press freedom laws gain momentum

OLYMPIA, Washington – Washington became the 14th state to protect student journalists and their free speech rights by passing a New Voices bill on March 21. Gov. Jay Inslee signed SB5064, which states that student journalists should be free from school censorship if their reporting is not libelous, illegal or invading anyone’s privacy.


March 30th, 2018 • Featured
Isolation and harassment: My life as a female journalist in Pakistan

Working as a journalist in Pakistan is a difficult task, especially for a woman since it is considered a man’s domain in my country. Women are harassed and threatened regardless of their profession, but when you are a journalist, raising your voice about issues facing a dysfunctional society such as Pakistan, the threats become more acute.


March 14th, 2018 • Featured
When journalists aren’t trusted, corruption often follows

Vladimir Putin’s media consolidation efforts in the early 2000s began on well-prepared soil. The public’s trust in journalism as a profession in Russia had become so low — driven down by a distinct mixture of economic, political and cultural factors following the fall of the Soviet Union —that Putin’s efforts weren’t the cause for alarm one might otherwise expect.


March 12th, 2018 • Featured
How news literacy programs can help journalists earn back trust

In the fall of 2006, after spending nearly 35 years as a reporter, editor and then the editor of one of America’s largest daily newspapers, I left my job to help start the newest journalism school in the country. Even then, it was an act of audacious optimism.


March 12th, 2018 • Ten With...
Ten Questions with Jim Acosta

It was fewer than 10 days before Donald Trump’s inauguration when he berated CNN and its reporter, Jim Acosta, during a news conference at Trump Tower. “Quiet,” Trump told Acosta as the reporter tried to answer a question. “Don’t be rude, don’t be rude.”


January 9th, 2018 • Freedom of Information
Need FOIA help?

Filed a federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, but ran into a few bumps? The Society of Professional Journalists wants to help.


November 2nd, 2017 • Featured
Reimagining access rights under the First Amendment

We are living through an anti-openness renaissance. In June, on the eve of the special election in the Georgia Six, as it came to be known, Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff excluded a reporter for the conservative Washington Free Beacon from a campaign event, while Republican candidate Karen Handel gave the same treatment to a reporter for the liberal site ThinkProgress.


November 2nd, 2017 • Featured
Fixing FOI: Big ideas for a new era of transparency

Bring in the cats and dogs, and batten down the hatches: The forecast for government transparency calls for increasing clouds with a chance of heavy storms. This year the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation commissioned me to study the state of freedom of information in the United States, where it’s going and what can be done to improve it.


November 2nd, 2017 • Featured
Leveraging the predictive power of FOIA data

In 2010, when we started MuckRock, a non-profit website that helps newsrooms and journalists around the country file and track public records requests, one of our big bets was that if you filed a lot of FOIA requests, you’d get better at it.


November 2nd, 2017 • Quill Archives
Freelancers: Learn to overcome record request hurdles

“And who are you reporting for?” This the most dreaded question I hear as a freelancer, especially when I’m calling a public office to request records. I don’t fault anyone for asking it — it’s a natural question, and I’m sure I would ask it too, if the tables were turned.


November 2nd, 2017 • Quill Archives
Ten: with David Fahrenthold

Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold has covered a wide variety of topics in his 17 years at the newspaper. Like many journalists, he started as an intern before becoming a night cops reporter. He has since reported on the Washington, D.C., police, the environment New England region.


February 23rd, 2017 • Quill Archives
Transparency And FOIA In The Age Of Trump

What does the Trump administration mean for freedom of information, public records, and general government accountability and transparency? Maybe the news media should shy away from the prediction business based on the not-too-stellar record of poll watching in 2016. No matter who is president, there’s an ever-increasing need for vigilance from journalists to safeguard the values of government transparency and openness underscored by the Freedom of Information Act and all public records laws.