Apply here: 2021 FOIAFest Boot Camp

"Chicago" by Nick Moulds is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Chicago Headline Club is excited to launch the 2021 FOIAFest Boot Camp, a brand new two-week training program that will be integrated into the annual FOIAFest conference.  

The Boot Camp is intended to support the work of early career investigative journalists in Chicago and will partner reporters who have less than five years of experience with seasoned journalists who can offer concrete advice on how to use public records and structure an investigative project.
In addition to hands-on training and support, the Boot Camp includes free admission to FOIAFest, the Headline Club’s conference on everything FOIA, which for the first time this year is expanding to three days and will be held virtually Feb. 19- 21.

Boot Camp participants will virtually meet with mentors four times as part of the program — once before the conference, twice during the conference and a final time after the conference. The boot camp includes a $200 stipend to help cover reporting costs, and the Headline Club will pay for two working lunches.


  • The program is open to Chicago-based journalists with less than five years of professional experience. Journalists of color are especially encouraged to apply.
  • This Boot Camp is not open for students


  • Participants must have a feasible project idea they plan to work on. This does not have to be a fully developed idea, but mentees should at least have a sense of a topic they’d like to (and reasonably be able to) pursue
  • Participants must have intentions to publish their project in 2021 and should let us know at which outlet
  • Participants must commit to attending FOIAFest and four meetings with their mentors. The first will be Feb. 15, followed by two meetings during FOIAFest and a final one according to participants’ availability the week of Feb. 22.

By participating in this program, mentors and mentees agree to abide by the SPJ Code of Ethics and the program’s Code of Conduct.

Apply here.

Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 29.

This program is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.