Shine a spotlight on transparency as our Whitmore FOIA Fellow

Shine a spotlight on transparency as our Whitmore FOIA Fellow

The selected staffer will spend six months working across our team to understand, cover and help improve access for all

Written by
Edited by Derek Kravitz

Over the past decade, MuckRock has helped requesters file, track and share more than 120,000 public records requests, digging into everything from massive federal programs that failed to meet the mark to the air quality near you to hijinx within the CIA. Each year, more than a million requesters turn to our templates, FOIA guides and other resources to help make the most of state, local and federal requests.

Building on that work, MuckRock is looking for a FOIA Fellow to make transparency their beat. The selected candidate will cover key developments in public records, helping respond to thorny question challenges while assisting our newsrooms around the country with our collaborative reporting efforts.

In addition to assisting a wide range of internal and external transparency initiatives, the six-month position will help make the fellow a transparency pro, learning the ins and outs of state and federal laws as well as the tactics that help pry records free from the most reluctant agencies.

The fellow will get a unique chance to both dive deep on open-records requests as well as understand broader trends in the transparency landscape, both by accessing MuckRock’s unique data as well as building connections with the wide range of organizations and individuals we collaborate with.

The position is made possible through the generous support of Sam Whitmore and the Sam Whitmore Media Survey, which is celebrating its own 25th anniversary. Whitmore previously sponsored our first ever FOIA Fellow, Jessie Gomez, whose work helped build out many of the FOIA resources still in use today while delving into the highs and lows of local access and the ongoing fights in the legislatures to preserve your right to know.

We’ll work with the new fellow on developing their own bylined reporting — both enterprise and daily — as well as producing a capstone editorial project. Our team will also offer assistance and coaching in finding the fellow’s next steps to put their newly honed FOIA skills to work.

Some of the week-to-week for the fellow might include:

  • Helping file and follow up on projects for an enterprise investigative project.

  • Leading a community workshop to help excite and educate the public.

  • Researching, answering and writing up guides to tricky request questions.

  • Collaborating to develop better ways to visualize our FOIA data.

Some prior public records experience is a plus, but we encourage a wide range of applicants, including early career journalists as well as those with backgrounds outside of journalism entirely. We are looking for strong writing skills, ability to plan and execute on deadline, and a clear understanding of why you feel now is the perfect time for you to dive deep into the world of public records.

The fellowship is full time and includes benefits for its six-month duration, with a salary of $4,000 per month.

We are no longer accepting applications for this position.

Image by RestrictedData via Flickr and is licensed under CC BY 2.0