Apply here: 2022 FOIAFest Boot Camp

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

The Chicago Headline Club is now accepting applications for its 2022 FOIAFest Boot Camp, the two-week training program launched last year and integrated into the annual FOIAFest conference.

The Boot Camp is intended to support the work of early career journalists of color in Chicago and will partner reporters who have less than five years of industry 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 three-day virtual conference on everything FOIA from Feb. 24 to 26. 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 program also includes a $200 stipend to help cover reporting costs, plus an optional meet-and-greet with meals provided, and a one-year SPJ and Headline Club membership.


  • While the Boot Camp is intended to support journalists of color, the program is open to all Chicago-based journalists with less than five years of professional industry experience
  • This Boot Camp is not open to 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 2022 and should let us know at which outlet
  • Participants must commit to attending FOIAFest and four meetings with their mentors. The first will be the week of Feb. 21, followed by two meetings during FOIAFest and a final one according to participants’ availability the week of Feb. 28

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. 14.

This program was created in 2021 by Chicago Headline Club board members Maria Zamudio and Alejandra Cancino. This year’s Boot Camp is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Chicago Headline Club Foundation.