FOIA 101: Tips and Tricks to Make You a Transparency Master

Whether it's your first request or your first request *today,* it never hurts to go over the basics. MuckRock's compiled a lot of FOIA advice over the years, and with this project, it's all in one place.

Basics / Intermediate/Advanced / Exemptions / Agency-Specific Advice / Topic-Specific Tips / Presidential Records / Student Resources / State Maps / Ongoing Series

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Basics

Five tips for beginners

Fee categories

Leaks and FOIA FAQ

What’s considered a public record?

Intermediate/Advanced

Dealing with excessive redactions

FOIA inspiration from #IRE2017

How to get a faster FOIA response

Tips for better FOIA appeals

Searching for specific sections of records

What to do about “Still Interested” letters

What the 2016 FOIA reforms mean for requesters

Exemptions

Federal FOIA exemptions overview

The Glomar “neither confirm nor deny” exemption

Agency-Specific Advice

CIA

The ultimate guide to searching CIA’s declassified archives

Using exemption codes to find documents hidden in CREST

FBI

A FOIA beginner’s guide to requesting a FBI file

The #AppleVSFBI FOIA Primer

Getting your own FBI file

Telling the FBI where to search

NSA

A beginner’s guide to FOIA-ing the NSA

Topic Specific Tips

Autopsy reports

Environmental reports

The JFK assassination records

Immigration records

#NODAPL / pipeline records

Protest records

Private prison records

Presidential Records

Presidential records primer

Trump Administration records

White House’s FOIA exemption

White House visitor logs

Student Resources

College journalist’s FOIA guide

College sports records guide

FOIA 4 Kidz lesson plan

High school journalist’s FOIA guide

State Maps

Response deadline map

State by State records gude

Ongoing Series

#FOIAFriday Round-up

FOIA Slack Chats

Requester’s Voice interviews

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Image via the National Archives Flickr

98 Articles

This week’s FOIA round-up: CIA secrecy around torture suspect’s body, journalists create a police use of force database in New Jersey, and the University of Arizona spends $1.4 million on legal fees

This week’s FOIA round-up: CIA secrecy around torture suspect’s body, journalists create a police use of force database in New Jersey, and the University of Arizona spends $1.4 million on legal fees

For this week’s FOIA round-up, the Central Intelligence Agency won’t tell the family of a tortured suspect where his body is, journalists file over 500 public records request to track police use of force in New Jersey, and the University of Arizona spends big money on NCAA corruption investigations.

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Join our free FOIA workshop in Cambridge December 3rd

Join our free FOIA workshop in Cambridge December 3rd

Next Monday, we’ll be co-hosting a free public records workshop with Emerson College and the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism at the Democracy Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Join us for the free event, whether you’re interested in learning government transparency basics or hoping to find new tactics for freeing documents.

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This week’s FOIA round-up: Florida midterm recounts spark lawsuits, insanity pleas and recidivism in Oregon, and the CIA considered "truth serum" as a substitute for torture

This week’s FOIA round-up: Florida midterm recounts spark lawsuits, insanity pleas and recidivism in Oregon, and the CIA considered “truth serum” as a substitute for torture

In this week’s FOIA round-up, lawsuits mount across the Sunshine State amid recounts of three statewide races, and records reveal the Central Intelligence Agency considered subbing torture for “truth serum” interrogations after 9/11. What’s more, Oregon’s Psychiatric Security Review Board claims low recidivism among those acquitted of crimes based on insanity claims, despite internal emails about a study that reveals the opposite.

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