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FOIA Fest 2018 Details Complete Schedule Buy Tickets

February 24, 2018

Registration

8:30 a.m.  -  9 a.m.
Kasbeer Hall

Keynote / Welcome to FOIA Fest 2018

9 a.m.  -  10 a.m.
Kasbeer Hall

Kimbriell Kelly is a reporter on the Investigative Unit at The Washington Post and was part of the newspaper’s team that won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for National reporting for documenting the number of fatal police officer-involved shootings starts FOIAFest … Continue reading

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The Future of FOIA: Attorney General candidates forum

10:15 a.m.  -  11:15 a.m.
Kasbeer Hall

With the March primaries around the corner, the eight Democratic candidates for Illinois Attorney General will join us for a special candidates forum all about FOIA and access to public information. Confirmed candidates: Scott Drury, Sharon Fairley, Aaron Goldstein, Renato … Continue reading

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FOIA 101

10:15 a.m.  -  11:15 a.m.
Room 521

Looking for a way to navigate the river of FOI  requests?  This session will provide you the basics. Speakers:  John Chase, Josh Burday, David Kidwell, Ben Silver (moderator)

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How to get public information on deadline

10:15 a.m.  -  11:15 a.m.
Room 522

Need to turn around a story, but don’t have time to wait for a FOIA request to come in? Pick up some tips from those in the trenches.   Speakers: Will Lee, Madhu Krishnamurthy, Jessica Fernandez, Nadar Issa, Evan Moore (moderator)

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Federal agencies and the FOIA

11:30 a.m.  -  12:30 p.m.
Room 521

Federal agencies’ records are subject to FOIA, but their compliance is notoriously weak. Documentary filmmaker Assia Boundaoui and attorney Matt Topic discuss their experience getting federal records, and why legal action may be necessary to access them. Moderated by Maya … Continue reading

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Case study: The Cook County tax divide

11:30 a.m.  -  12:30 p.m.
Room 522

ProPublica Illinois reporters will take you behind their investigation published in partnership with the Chicago Tribune. Their work exposed a tax system riddled with errors — punishing taxpayers while enriching politically-connected attorneys.  Speakers: Jason Grotto, Sandhya Kambhampati

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Taking FOI requests to court

11:30 a.m.  -  12:30 p.m.
Room 523

Sometimes an FOI request requires more than input from the Attorney General or a Public Access Counselor.  This session will detail how and when you should go to court to get access to information.  Panelists include Josh Burday, Brendan Healey, … Continue reading

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Lunch

12:30 p.m.  -  1:30 p.m.

Data-crunching for beginners

1:30 p.m.  -  2:30 p.m.
Room 521

Want to give your storytelling some oomph? Learn how to crunch data, starting with Excel. We’ll teach you how to get comfortable with spreadsheets, spreadsheet shortcuts and basic data analysis functions.  Speakers: Denise Linn Riedl, Matt Kiefer

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Filing your first FOIA

1:30 p.m.  -  2:30 p.m.
Room 522

Think using the FOIA is just for the pros?  Think again.  This session will offer tips to student journalists on using the FOIA.  Speakers include Jessica Villagomez (Northwestern University), Andrea Salcedo (Columbia College), Alexis McDaniel (Loyola University)  and Ben Conboy … Continue reading

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FOIA-ing for data

1:30 p.m.  -  2:30 p.m.
Room 523

Accessing government data and databases poses a special set of challenges–often because it’s impossible to know what sorts of data an agency keeps before asking for it. Kimbriell Kelly (WaPo), Tanveer Ali (Chicago Sun-Times), and Joe Mahr (Chicago Tribune) discuss … Continue reading

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How to access emails via FOIA

2:45 p.m.  -  3:45 p.m.
Room 523

So, you filed a public records request for your local mayor’s emails. Request denied. Wait, what? Learn tips from the pro’s on everything from crafting your FOIA to how to overcome rejected requests.  Speakers: Natasha Korecki, Dave McKinney, Chacyln Hunt, … Continue reading

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Intermediate data-crunching

2:45 p.m.  -  3:45 p.m.
Room 521

Now that you’ve mastered the basics, take your data-crunching skills to the next level. In this session, you’ll build on the basics, create pivot tables and learn about local data resources for your research. Speakers: Denise Linn Riedl, Matt Kiefer

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Turning your FOIAs into stories

2:45 p.m.  -  3:45 p.m.
Room 522

BGA reporters filed more than 100 FOIAs on three series published in late 2017 and earlier this year. Learn how reporters negotiated for data, how they dealt with denials and tips they picked up along the way.  Speakers include Madison … Continue reading

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Accessing the non-FOIAable: Getting data and documents from Cook County and federal courts

4:00 p.m.  -  5 p.m.
Room 521

Most court records are public information, but courts are exempt from state and federal FOIA laws. How to go about getting data from state and federal court systems without going bankrupt. Maria Zamudio (The Commercial Appeal), Melissa Sanchez (ProPublica Illinois) … Continue reading

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The other side of FOIA

4 p.m.  -  5 p.m.
Room 522

Sometimes FOIA battles can feel like you’re up against a faceless bureaucracy. But on the other side of every FOIA request is a human being: a FOIA officer. In this panel, FOIA officers Bret Angelos (Illinois Department of Children and … Continue reading

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FOIA — The Next Step

4 p.m.  -  5 p.m.
Room 523

Once you get your information, what happens next?  The session presents case studies the impact of FOI requests. Speakers include Jeff Egbert, John Kraft and Kirk Allen.  Moderated by Stan Zoller  

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