More than 120 people attended FOIA Fest

More than 120 journalists, freelancers, activists, writers and media professionals gathered on March 14 for the second annual FOIA Fest: a daylong conference that recognized Sunshine Week.

At the conference, SouthtownStar columnist Phil Kadner discussed the state law and how it has evolved in recent years. College lecturer and scholar Jeff Kelly Lowenstein gave tips on how to mine data sets that have already been published online for story ideas.

The Chicago Tribune’s Jason Grotto led a conversation on how he manages to collect information using FOIA and the Chicago Reader’s Mick Dumke reminded the audience that public information officers are working people who deserve respect – even if they delay sharing important data.

Joe Germuska, the chief nerd of the Knight Lab at Northwestern University and Paul Wright, who among other things, manages EveryBlock for Comcast/NBCUniversal revealed ways technology can make public data sets usable.

There were break-out sessions conducted by Fernando Diaz of Hoy Chicago and hands-on, intensive workshops hosted by the Chicago Reporter’s Angela Caputo and the Chicago Tribune’s Andy Boyle. There were appearances by ABC7’s senior investigative reporter Chuck Goudie and Ann Spillane of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office.

FOIA Fest is part of ongoing FREE professional training offered by the Chicago Headline Club in order to help members sharpen their skills and become more effective and efficient reporters and writers.

The conference was sponsored, in part, by the McCormick Foundation.

Thank you for participating! Stay tuned for more!