FOIA Fest 2014
Friday, March 14, 2014 from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM (PDT)
San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
In light of Sunshine Week, the Chicago Headline Club is rolling out its annual FOIA Fest: a daylong conference at Loyola University’s downtown campus for FREE.
Get tips from the pros on how to wrestle information out of obstinate public agencies, learn how to access public records that are “hidden” in plain sight and how to analyze data for hard-hitting, compelling, stories. We’ll also have lawyers available to help you think through FOIA strategies.
The daylong workshop will feature conversations and workshops with the Chicago Tribune’s Jason Grotto, Chuck Goudie of ABC7’s Investigation Team and the SouthtownStar’s Phil Kadner, among other professional journalists, including Natalie Y. Moore and Linda Lutton of WBEZ.
Morning sessions held at Loyola's Kasbeer Hall - 25 E. Pearson St. Afternoon sessions will be conducted at the School of Communications - 51 E. Pearson St. Drinks afterward at Haymarket Brewery, 737 W Randolph St.
FULL SCHEDULE BELOW
8:30 a.m. Registration: Corboy Law Center Loyola Water Tower Campus, 25 East Pearson, Kasbeer Hall, 15th Floor: Continental breakfast provided
Have a FOIA in need of review or questions for an expert? check-in with the Citizen Advocacy Center to secure an afternoon appointment for one-on-one legal advice on Open Meetings or FOIA requests.
9 a.m. (Kasbeer Hall) Just how much has FOIA reform improved access to public information?: The Citizens Advocacy Center will unveil findings of their McCormick Foundation-funded research about the effectiveness of Illinois’ open record laws.
10 a.m. (Kasbeer Hall) The state of the Public Access Counselor’s office: SouthtownStar columnist Phil Kadner and Ann Spillane, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s chief of staff, will host a conversation about how the PAC is measuring up to laws crafted, in part, by Kadner and Madigan.
11 a.m. (Kasbeer Hall) The State of Open Data: There is more public information available online than ever before and there is an effort toward standardizing certain data sets and make them useful by the public. Chicago Headline Club president Fernando Diaz will moderate a conversation with Derek Eder, co-founder of DataMade and the Open Gov Hack Night , Joe Germuska, chief nerd of the Knight Lab at Northwestern and Paul Wright, Director of Local Media Development for Comcast/NBCUniversal, which includes managing EveryBlock..
12 p.m. (Kasbeer Hall) Join us for lunch: Come mingle with fellow journos and open-records advocates. Lunch is on the Headline Club.
1:30 p.m. - 2:15 pm (Room 105) Finding data “hidden in plain sight”: Journalist and Columbia College professor Jeff Kelly Lowenstein will walk attendees through the city of Chicago’s data portal along with some state and federal data sets to offer tips on making the most out of already available public records. He’ll show you how understanding overlap between government agencies can help pry relevant records if one agency is not complying. Bring your laptop!
1:30 p.m. - 2:15 pm (Room 106) FOIA TechTalk - Gone are the days when you kept a paper log with all of your FOIA requests, contacts and fulfillments. Chicago Headline Club president Fernando Diaz will lead a walkthrough of FOIA Machine, which can help you submit and track your requests and records; DocumentCloud, which can help you organize your documents as well as annotate and embed them alongside your project; and AP Overview, which can help you analyze records for patterns or keywords. Best of all, these tools are all FREE! Bring your laptop!
1:30 p.m. - 2:15 pm (Room 203) How I taught myself to Code using Public Data: Tim Broderick of the Daily Herald will share how he taught himself the skills to create user-friendly interfaces like interactive school report cards.
2:30 p.m. - 3:15 (Room 105) Now you’ve got some public data, what to do with it? Reporter Angela Caputo, of the Chicago Reporter, will lead attendees through a crash course in Excel 101. Bring your laptop!
2:30 p.m. - 3:15 (Room 106) Reporter’s Roundtable: Learn from the FOIA Pros. How they use FOIA to collect and gather information. War stories and tricks for getting cooperation and asking the right questions. Featuring Mick Dumke of the Chicago Reader; Jason Grotto of the Chicago Tribune; Linda Lutton of WBEZ and Chuck Goudie of ABC7.
2:30 p.m. - 3:15 (Room 203) FOIA on Campus Andy Boyle, News Applications Developer at the Chicago Tribune will lead a conversation about digging deeper on the college beat. College campuses offer tremendous opportunities for reporting through public records, tracking research dollars, crime, and contracts. This workshop is intended for students journalists and others who are covering higher education.
3:15- 4 p.m. (Room 105) Now you’ve got some public data, what to do with it, part 2? Reporter Angela Caputo will lead attendees through a crash course in Excel. Bring your laptop!
3:15- 4 p.m. (Room 106) Narrating the story; beyond the documents and data: How to create compelling, engaging stories from data and documents. Featuring: Tracy Swartz of Red Eye; Steven Yaccino of the New York Times; and Natalie Moore of WBEZ. Panel will be moderated by Stacy St. Clair of the Chicago Tribune.
3:15- 4 p.m. (Room 203) Fight for your right to FOIA: Bob Herguth, investigations editor of the Better Government Association and adjunct professor at Loyola, and Matthew Topic, an attorney with Loevy & Loevy who has handled numerous FOIA matters for the BGA, will discuss strategies and outcomes based on the BGA's experience litigating FOIA requests successfully with many local government agencies. They will be encouraging questions from attendees.
5:30 p.m. FOIA Fest Happy Hour / Burger Nite: Kick back with fellow journos at the Haymarket Pub and Brewery, 737 W. Randolph St. First drink is on us!
When & Where
Chicago Headline Club
The Chicago Headline Club provides support and professional development for journalists.
We’re here for every journalist, no matter your contribution to the craft and whether you’re looking for ethics advice, a new job or public records. Our scholarships and grants help fledgling careers and fund new investigative projects. Each year we welcome hundreds of submissions to the annual Peter Lisagor Awards, the leading measure of top quality journalism in the Chicago area.
Our members are from all levels and walks of the profession, from top editors to newbies, from print to broadcast to online.