What’s your 2016 #FOIAResolution?

FOIA filers share their goals and aspirations

Written by Michael Morisy
Edited by JPat Brown

The coming of a new year is a great time to start fresh and set ambitious goals for where you want to go and who you want to be. Around here at MuckRock, we tend to get pretty single-minded about getting fresh public records, so we decided to share our 2016 FOIA resolutions, along with those of other requesters.

Have a New Year’s resolution of your own? Share it with us via email, or on Twitter using #FOIAResolution.

From Beryl Lipton, MuckRock reporter:

Be aggressive.

Emily Hopkins, MuckRock contributor and projects coordinator for The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism:

I want to make better relationships with local FOIA officers. We’re teammates, not adversaries! Unless you make me sue you, then I guess we are adversaries.

I want to do more projects, i.e., I want to do more requesting around a certain thing with the goal of presenting a comprehensive scope.

From Jason Leopold, “FOIA Terrorist”-in-residence at VICE:

My resolution would be to see Congress finally reform b5 and that FBI would be held accountable for invoking b7a without first conducting a search for records to determine if it would interfere with ongoing investigations

(Check out our interview with Jason about his FOIA techniques)

JPat Brown, MuckRock’s Editor:

My FOIA resolution is to write one personalized thank you to one FOIA officer who’s gone above and beyond.

From Kel McLanahan of National Security Counselors, who is representing us in our lawsuit with the CIA:

I think it would be really great to crowdsource a FOIA effort through which we could get the FOIA training and reference materials used by every FOIA office. Maybe post them in a central location so people could refer to it for guidance on how to tailor their requests to specific agencies.

Matt Guariglia, MuckRock contributor and PhD student at University of Connecticut:

In 2016, I’d like to take the time to appeal more rejections and redactions. Also, to finally get a significant release of documents from the NYPD.

Rick Blum, director of the Sunshine in Government Initiative:

FOIA reform signed by the President

Patrice McDermott, executive director of Open the Government concurs with an addendum:

Meaningful FOIA reform signed by the President

Shawn Musgrave, former MuckRock Projects Editor and reporter with the New England Center for Investigative Reporting:

No matter what your FOIA resolution is, may 2016 bring you full releases and speedy responses. Cheers!


Header image via New York Public Library.