The National Freedom of Information Coalition held its annual summit in Nashville in October 2017. It was hosted by its local affiliate member Tennessee Coalition for Open Government.
The NFOIC annual summit included panels and discussions on:
- Trends in FOI litigation
- Transparency in government when a private entity is involved
- State-level research
- Tech solutions for tech problems
- Knight Forecasting Freedom of Information Report – Why it faces problems- and how experts say they could be solved
- Building a sustainable organization
- Keynote lunch speaker Jameel Jaffer on access to information at the federal level.
TCOG Board president Lucian Pera moderated the panel on FOI litigation, which included Katie Townsend, Director of Litigation, Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, and Frank LoMonte, Executive Director, Brechner Center for Freedom of Information.
TCOG Board Member John Williams was on the panel on transparency in government when a private entity is involved, and talked about Tennessee’s functional equivalent doctrine. Others on that panel were Kelley Shannon, executive director, Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas; and Miranda Spivack, Journalist and Visiting Professor in Journalism at DePauw University.
TCOG’s executive director Deborah Fisher moderated a panel on research that has been completed by NFOIC members, including a look at the Ohio News Media Association judicial scorecard that tracked public records and open meetings opinions by appellate justices; and a nationwide survey on access to texting messages on government devices by Jim McLaughlin, Deputy General Counsel of the Washington Post and a member of the D.C Open Government Coalition.
Keynote speaker Jameel Jaffer:
The lunch program included keynote speaker, Jameel Jaffer, Director, Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
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. Moderated by 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
State-level research into public records issues
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
- Michael Reitz, Executive Vice President, Mackinac Center for Public Policy
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. Moderated by 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