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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

2016 Online Journalism Awards finalists announced

“Finalists for the 2016 Online Journalism Awards, representing a wide range of nonprofit, public, academic, major media and emerging technology organizations from around the globe, were announced today by the Online News Association. Twelve of the awards now come with $53,500 in prize money, courtesy of Knight Foundation, the Gannett Foundation and the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. These awards honor data journalism, visual digital storytelling, investigative journalism, public service, technical innovation, student journalism and general excellence. This year’s awards reflect a deeper consideration of how newsrooms engage their audiences, focusing on the emerging prevalence of new digital tools, distribution channels and content platforms. The second James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting will again honor one of the many journalists reporting under the most challenging conditions; a special committee will select the recipient. “The range of this year’s finalists is truly remarkable,” said David Smydra, ONA Board member and Online Journalism Awards Committee Chair. “In so many respects — newsroom size, geography, subject matter, platform, technology, storytelling techniques and more — judges were extremely impressed by the full scope and achievements of digital journalists across the industry.” A group of 76 industry-leading journalists and new media professionals teamed up to screen 1,029 entries and select semi-finalists. Twenty judges representing a diverse cross-section of the industry then conferred to determine finalists and winners. The winners will be announced at the 2016 ONA Conference and Online Journalism Awards Banquet on Saturday, Sept. 17, in Denver….”

McKinsey – Policy in the data age

Policy in the data age: Data enablement for the common good By Karim Tadjeddine and Martin Lundqvist “The tremendous impact that digital services have had on governments and society has been the subject of extensive research that has documented the rapid, extensive adoption of public-sector digital services around the globe. We believe that the coming… Continue Reading

Over 1,000 pages of declassified docs on Argentina posted online

Argentina Declassification Project, August 8, 2016. “During his landmark visit to Argentina in March, President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. government would declassify records relating to human rights abuses under Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship. At a ceremony commemorating the victims of these human rights abuses, held on the 40th anniversary of the 1976 coup d’état,… Continue Reading

Declassified document offers view into drone strike approval process

Karen DeYoung – Newly declassified document sheds light on how Obama approves drone strikes – “The guidelines emphasize the importance of “verifying” the identity of high-value targets, even as they outline the criteria and legality of striking unidentified others when “necessary to achieve U.S. policy objectives.” Continue Reading

New Freedom of Information Act Request Documents Released by ODNI

August 3, 2016 – Read the full “Proactive Disclosure” press release at DOJ.gov. “The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is one of seven federal agencies participating in a pilot program to make records requested via the Freedom of Information Act more readily available to the public, as reflected in the recently released Third… Continue Reading

The Federal FOIA Ombudsman

“The National Archives and Records Administration established the Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advisory Committee in 2014 to foster dialog between the Administration and the requester community, solicit public comments, and develop consensus recommendations for improving FOIA administration and proactive disclosures. The Federal FOIA Advisory Committee reports to the Archivist of the United States.… Continue Reading

BBC – Syria’s secret library

Mike Thomson, BBC News: “When a place has been besieged for years and hunger stalks the streets, you might have thought people would have little interest in books. But enthusiasts have stocked an underground library in Syria with volumes rescued from bombed buildings – and users dodge shells and bullets to reach it…As it is,… Continue Reading

Information Security Oversight Office Report for FY 2015

2015 Report to the President, Information Security Oversight Office, transmitted by ISOO Acting Director William A. Cira, July 15, 2016 (via FAS – “53,425 new secrets (“original classification decisions”) created by executive branch agencies in FY 2015) – “This report provides statistics and analysis of the system of classification and declassification based on ISOO’s review of… Continue Reading

Reporters Committee – Pentagon revises war manual to emphasize protections for journalists

Sophie Murguia, July 28, 2016 – “The Pentagon has updated its Law of War manual to clarify that journalists are generally protected as civilians under international law. The changes, announced last week, came after media groups expressed concern that some language in the original version could put reporters at risk of being considered spies or… Continue Reading

DOJ – New Requirements for FOIA Response Letters

New Requirements for FOIA Response Letters, Including Affording Ninety Days to file an Administrative Appeal, and New Notification Requirement for Notices Extending FOIA’s Time Limits Due to Unusual Circumstances “On June 30, 2016, President Obama signed into law the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, Pub. L. No. 114-185, 130 Stat. 538, which contains several substantive… Continue Reading

House Intelligence Committee Publishes Recently Declassified Redacted Version of “28 Pages”

News release: “Today, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), under the direction of Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA), approved publication of a newly declassified section of the 2002 Joint Congressional Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.   Following a declassification… Continue Reading

MuckRock launching a national database of FOIA exemptions

Michael Morisy – We’re building an open guide to every state’s public records law – Help track down and fight every public records exemption across the country. “With agencies increasingly using an array of exemptions to deny access to information, we want to help requesters fight back. We’re launching a project to track every public… Continue Reading