Archive for the ‘FOIA’ Category

Celebrate Open Records Victories with SPJ Oregon

This t-shirt features the text of the First Amendment on the back. This item and many others are up for auction to support SPJ Oregon’s ongoing open records reform efforts.  

The Oregon Territory chapter has done some excellent work this year towards reforming Oregon’s open records laws. To celebrate, the chapter is throwing a Victory Party on Tuesday, September 26 at Kell’s Irish Pub in Portland. The event will also serve as a fundraiser to help support the chapter’s ongoing efforts in open records legislative reform.

You can bid on some sweet items, including Portland Timbers tickets, wine, gift baskets, and more at SPJ Oregon’s Facebook page through Monday, September 26, but final bids take place at the event.

If you want to help but can’t make the event, the chapter is always accepting donations. SPJ Oregon has raised more than $1,700 for this cause. Let’s see if we can get them to their $10,000 goal. Donate here.

To read a recap of why the chapter is celebrating (seriously, its members have had won some big battles in open government reforms), read this SPJ Oregon blog post.


Let’s welcome Ian Marquand!

After serving as regional director for three years, and as a chapter leader in the W. Washington Pro chapter since 2006, I stepped down from my role as RD last month to accept the position of national SPJ Secretary/Treasurer. I resigned mid-term and recommended Montana Pro Chapter President Ian Marquand to the national board to take my place. He was voted into that role unanimously on Sept. 23, 2012 and will serve Region X as RD until the August 2013 convention in Anaheim. At that time, Ian can run for re-election if he chooses.

I’ve enjoyed working closely with the chapters in our region and learning from each of you. It is hard to “leave” my RD role because I’ve loved it so much, but it is time for me to let someone else serve you and to see how else I can contribute to SPJ. Ian, who has held virtually every role in SPJ but serving on the national board, stands eager and ready to support you in whatever way possible including managing the 2012 SPJ NW Excellence in Journalism Contest, honoring work produced or published in 2012.

If you haven’t met Ian already, you’ll find him to be a great resource and very personable and easy to work with. While he has a full-time gig outside the industry now, he remains a part-time freelance journalist, stays in touch with journalists throughout the region, and is a long-time supporter and member of SPJ’s FOI committee. His most recent SPJ role was assisting with the Access Across America training series held this summer across the nation. He is also a winner of the Wells Key, the society’s highest honor.

Please join me in welcoming Ian to his new role as RD. We will do a face-to-face intro video chat in the near future.

As for me, well, I’ll still be here. My role has changed, but I haven’t. I am always here to help.

Thanks for all you do!

Dana Neuts
SPJ Secretary/Treasurer


FOI workshop comes to Bellingham (Wash.) June 29

FREE Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) workshop open to the public, journalists, students, professors — everyone, this Friday, June 29 at Western Washington University.

SPJ member David Cuillier leads this FOIA workshop at WWU, Academic West Building, Room 204, from 12:30p-5p. This is Cuillier’s Access Across America workshop where he provides guidelines and strategies on conducting FOI records requests and writing meaningful stories based on this information. Great tools and practical advice for journalists and anyone interested in what their government is up to and wants to keep officials accountable.

Cuillier, an associate professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona, also happens to be a Bellingham native and WWU grad (class of 1990)!

More info here:

Contact SPJ member Frank Garred for more information or to register. Please spread the word to SPJ members and non-members.

The event is sponsored by the SPJ, Society of Professional Journalists.

Snake River Pro Chapter Supports “Right to Know” in Death Penalty Cases

The death penalty is the most extreme action a state may undertake. All of the steps required in carrying out that penalty are subject to legal review and have been, in fact, at the heart of legal battles over the penalty’s Constitutionality in state after state. The press serves as a monitor – a watchdog – on government’s actions on behalf of Idaho’s citizens who have an undeniable right to know that the death penalty is being administered properly, in conformance to law and Constitutional requirements. Idaho’s press does not seek access for its own ends, but rather to serve the interests of citizens.

– Snake River Pro Chapter, SPJ

William O. Douglas: It’s Your Right to Know!

Municipalities, county governments and school districts work hard to be smart with taxpayers’ money, keep streets clean and clear and educate the next generation.

But it’s important for the public to be aware of what’s going on to ensure those in the know are doing what’s right.

Find out about how to get access to public records, understand what should be discussed in public meetings, and get answers to other questions about the state’s  Public Records Act and Open Public Meetings Act.

A free forum is from 7-8:30 p.m. March 15 in the Gallery Room at the Richland Public Library, 955 Northgate Drive.

Tim Ford, open government ombudsman for the state Attorney General’s Office, will be part of a three-member panel discussion.

Joining him are Galt Pettett, general counsel for the Richland School District, and Rebecca Francik, Pasco City Council’s mayor pro tem.

The panelists will talk about their experiences — both the good and bad — answer questions about what works and what could work better, and discuss how to balance public interest and access to government with dwindling government resources.

The program is organized by the William O. Douglas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists as part of Sunshine Week.

It is sponsored by the Tri-City Herald and the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

For more information, contact Paula Horton, Tri-City Herald reporter and president of the William O. Douglas SPJ chapter, at 582-1556 or

The Northern Light Hosts Open Access Workshop in Anchorage on June 24

David Cuillier, the Freedom of Information Committee chairman for the Society of Professional Journalists, will give an open access workshop at the invitation of The Northern Light, a student media organization at the University of Alaska Anchorage, at noon Friday, June 24 in Room 201A in the Professional Studies Building on the UAA main campus, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, Alaska. All working members of the media are invited to attend.

Cuillier has been an SPJ newsroom trainer since 2005. He researches and teaches classes in accessing public records at the University of Arizona School of Journalism in Tucson. He is the co-author of “The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records.”

The Northern Light publishes a newspaper weekly during the school year and twice a month during the summer session in addition to a website year-round. It has won accolades on the state and national level.

For more information or to register for the workshop, contact Paola Banchero at the Dept. of Journalism and Public Communications at the University of Alaska Anchorage at 907-786-4194 or via email.

2010 European Union – Northwest Journalist Fellowship

Entry deadline:  Friday, May 14

The European Union Center of Excellence is pleased to announce an opportunity for Pacific Northwest journalists eager to learn about and report on current developments in the European Union.

Launched in 2009, the EU-Northwest Journalist Fellowship provides the selected print or broadcast journalist the opportunity to spend a week in Brussels, the European Union’s dynamic capital, learning about the EU and pressing issues affecting European integration and transatlantic relations. The program also affords journalists the chance for research and interviews for later print or broadcast.

Professional journalists from the US Pacific Northwest and Northern California are eligible to apply. Applicants should have at least three years’ experience in media, and must demonstrate how their reporting would benefit from exposure to the European Union. In addition to the above criteria, the selection committee will give preference to applicants who propose projects which highlight links between Europe and the Pacific Northwest, and who can demonstrate a greater likelihood of having their resulting reporting published or broadcast.

Applicants for the fellowship should submit a CV and cover letter/project proposal to the EU Center of Excellence no later than May 14, 2010.

Applicants should also submit two examples of their work published or broadcast in the last two years. Application materials should be sent to the EU Center of Excellence at:

EU Center of Excellence
Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195

The journalist for the fellowship will receive round-trip economy class airfare to Brussels, plus a living allowance of $2,000. Travel will be arranged by the EU Center of Excellence and the stay in Brussels must be completed by December 31. The staff of the EU Center will provide the award recipient with travel and logistical advice for Brussels, while the EU Delegation in Washington can help arrange meetings with EU officials as requested.

Upon their return, awardees will be invited to give an informal talk to students at the University of Washington about their time in Brussels, what they learned, and how the experience has influenced their perspective on Europe and European integration.

The EU Center of Excellence plans to offer the EU-Northwest Journalist Award again in 20101 as part of its current grant from the European Commission Delegation to the United States! Questions regarding the program can be directed to Phil Shekleton or Eva Dunn at

This lecture is free and open to the public, no registration required.

The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, actives, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at least ten days in advance at: 206-543-6450/V, 206-543-6452/TTY, 206-685-7264/Fax, or


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