Building transparency in government tops agenda at NFOIC summit

The National Freedom of Information summit agenda includes multiple sessions on efforts to build transparency in government.

Sessions on state-level research, how to build sustainable citizen coalitions, and FOI litigation will take place at the NFOIC summit on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 13-14 in Nashville at the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University.

Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, is the keynote speaker for the Saturday luncheon, which is sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute.

Registration for the summit is open to anyone, and can be done here. Registration fees for working press and students are waived or discounted (see registration form options).

Tennessee Coalition for Open Government is a member of NFOIC and the local host.

Here’s the lineup:


1:15 pm – 2:00 pm – Knight Forecasting Freedom of Information Report – Why it faces problems- and how experts say they could be solved
Update on the March 2017 report commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to gain a better understanding of the state of public access to government records and to identify barriers to access and solutions
David Cuillier,Report author; University of Arizona associate professor; NFOIC board member

2:00pm – 2:30 pm– AP SunshineHub overview and demo
The AP is working on a collaboration platform dedicated to government transparency issues. SunshineHub is a web site that enables users to track transparency-related legislation from all 50 states and discuss transparency-related issues with journalists and freedom of information advocates from across the country.
Tom Verdin, National enterprise Editor/State Government, Associated Press
Troy Thibodeaux, Data Science & News Applications Editor, Associated Press

2:45 pm – 4:00 pm – Tech Solutions for Tech Problems
Managing electronic public records in today’s digital transformation tests the resources of most agencies. Could more technology be the solution? Hear from IT companies whose solutions are helping public record stewardship in the digital age.
Moderator: Michael Morisy, Co-Founder, MuckRock, and NFOIC board member
Jay Grewe, Business Development Executive, Smarsh
Tamara Manik-Perlman, Co-founder & CEO, NextRequest

4:15 pm – 5:30 pm – Building a sustainable organization
Strategies and techniques for your coalition to promote a sustainable financial base.
Moderator: Michael Reitz, Executive Vice President, Mackinac Center for Public Policy
Sarah Ruger, Director, Free Expression, Charles Koch Institute
Lisa Rosenberg, Executive Director, OpenTheGovernment

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Hosted by the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government and sponsored by The Tennessean and Adams & Reese LLP. Location: Adams and Reese LLP, 424 Church Street, Suite 2800 (Note: A shuttle will provide transportation to/from the reception. Those planning to remain downtown for the evening will need to secure return transportation.)



8:00 am – Breakfast Buffet

8:30 am – 9:15 am
NFOIC Annual Membership Meeting
Organizational updates and reports
Mal Leary, Board President, National Freedom of Information Coalition
Mark Horvit, Treasurer, National Freedom of Information Coalition
Daniel Bevarly, Executive Director, NFOIC
Barbara Petersen, Chair, Futures Committee

9:15 – 10:15 – State Coalition Round-up
Brief reports from state coalition directors
Moderator: Daniel Bevarly, Executive Director, National Freedom of Information Coalition

10:30 am – 11:45 pm – State-level research
Discussion of recent public records research by state coalitions, including an analysis of Ohio Supreme Court public records decisions, examination of state laws regarding access to text messages, and New Mexico’s recent open records compliance audit. Learn how they did it, lessons learned, and outcomes.
Moderator: Deborah Fisher, Executive Director, Tennessee Coalition for Open Government
Dennis Hetzel, President and Executive Director, Ohio News Media Associatio
Jim McLaughlin, Deputy General Counsel of the Washington Post, D.C Open Government Coalition
Peter St. Cyr, Executive Director, New Mexico Foundation for Open Government

12:00 pm – 1:30 pm – Hall of Fame Luncheon sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute
State Open Government Hall of Fame Induction: Michael Giudicessi, Partner, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP (IA)
2017 FOI Summit Keynote Speaker – Jameel Jaffer, Director, Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University

1:45 pm – 3:00 pm – Trends in State FOI Litigation
A discussion of the trends in state-level public records litigation, including access to email, “reverse” public records cases involving third parties, and fee-shifting.
Moderator: Lucian Pera, President, Tennessee Coalition for Open Government; Attorney, Adams & Reese LLP
Katie Townsend, Director of Litigation, Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press
Frank LoMonte, Executive Director, Brechner Center for Freedom of Information

3:15 pm – 4:30 pm – Transparency in government when a private entity is involved
Increased government involvement with private contractors, and the intersection with the state’s public records laws.
Moderator: Jeff Roberts, executive director, Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition
Kelley Shannon, executive director, Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas
John Williams, Attorney, TCOG board member
Miranda Spivack, Journalist and Visiting Professor in Journalism at DePauw University

What do you think?