Friday, March 19, 2021


MFIA Clinic to Host its Annual FOIA Bootcamp April 7, 2021

As government becomes more opaque, and the state of our nation evolves through the pandemic, it is ever more important to know how to use effectively the legal tools that exist to make federal, state, and local governments more open and accountable. To that end, the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic (MFIA) and the Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression at Yale Law School are hosting their annual “FOIA Bootcamp” on April 7, 2021.  Attendees at this special event can learn how to make the most out of government transparency laws from experts in the field.

A panel of experts moderated by Mike Linhorst, the Craig Newmark Fellow at MFIA, will discuss how to make the most of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) — how to draft requests, where to send them, what language to use, and how to work with agencies to get information without going to court. Panelists are experienced practitioners in the field of media law, open government, and right of access issues. Attendees will hear from Mark Walker, a seasoned investigative reporter who oversees FOIA requests at The New York Times, and Anne Weismann, who served as the Chief FOIA Counsel at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

The bootcamp will feature brief presentations by the speakers who will share pointers they have learned along the way. The presentations will be followed by ample opportunity for questions. The bootcamp will take place remotely April 7, 2021, from 6-7:30 p.m. through Yale Law School’s Zoom webinar.

Register for the event here.

Mark Walker is the Freedom of Information Act Researcher at The New York Times, where he oversees the outlet’s requests for agency information. He was previously a training director for Investigate Reporters and Editors, traveling across the country to help news outlets optimize their FOIA requests. Mark was also a watchdog reporter at the Argus Leader newspaper and won the South Dakota Newspaper Association’s public service reporting award for a series on mentally ill criminal defendants. Mark is a graduate of Fort Valley State University.

Anne Weismann served as Chief FOIA Counsel at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. She previously served as the Executive Director of Campaign for Accountability and as CREW’s Chief Counsel. She has more than 21 years of experience at the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. Anne received her B.A. from Brown University and her J.D. from George Washington University.

The Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic and the Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression are programs of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.