The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press today at the Online News Association conference in Atlanta launches iFOIA, a free online system for creating, sending, and tracking federal and state freedom of information requests.
The iFOIA resource, which is online at www.ifoia.org, is an extension of the Reporters Committee’s popular FOIA Letter Generator, which has been a feature of the organization’s website since 1996. iFOIA can be used on a desktop or mobile device, and allows users to choose whether to keep their correspondence chains with government agencies confidential or share them with designated colleagues, such as editors and lawyers. It also includes a FOIA Wiki for feedback and discussions. Because it automatically organizes all of a reporter’s files, it is designed to help with lawsuits and agency appeals when government stonewalling presents no other option.
After beta testing in several newsrooms, the Reporters Committee will be introducing iFOIA at the ONA conference during a Thursday presentation and at a table on the convention hall Midway throughout the event.
“In the coming months, we’ll be visiting newsrooms around the country for training, and I hope more news leaders, including non-profit startups and freelance bloggers, who need help filing and pursuing FOIA requests, will reach out to us,” said Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce D. Brown. “Because iFOIA is created by the lawyers at RCFP, it is supported by people with legal expertise who can take you through every step of the FOIA process.”
Funded by a generous grant from the Stanton Foundation, iFOIA joins a growing library of free digital resources available from the Reporters Committee, including the Reporters Committee FirstAid mobile application, which was also funded by the Stanton Foundation.
The Stanton Foundation was created by Frank Stanton, a pioneer of the television industry, who built CBS into a broadcasting powerhouse during his 25 years as its president. Among Frank Stanton’s myriad contributions to CBS and broadcasting were ensuring that television was used as an instrument of civic education and committing the industry to defending free speech and the First Amendment.
About the Reporters Committee
Founded in 1970, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers free legal support to thousands of working journalists and media lawyers each year. It is a leader in the fight against persistent efforts by government officials to impede the release of public information, whether by withholding documents or threatening reporters with jail. In addition to its 24/7 Legal Defense Hotline, the Reporters Committee conducts cutting-edge legal research, publishes handbooks and guides on media law issues, files frequent friend-of-the-court legal briefs and offers challenging fellowships and internships for young lawyers and journalists. For more information, go to www.rcfp.org, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.
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