The Centre for Investigative Journalism
The Centre for Investigative Journalism

Using the Freedom Of Information Act Effectively

One of the most important skills for journalists today is knowing how to use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Most journalists have come across FOIA and many will have submitted a request or two.

However, few reporters use it as effectively as they could, or realise its full journalistic potential.

It can be difficult to know what to do or how to take the next steps when you’re hit with an exemption, but our expert trainers can help. With years of experience (and many FOI battles) behind them, they’ll teach you how to carefully craft your requests to give yourself the best chance of avoiding common FOI obstacles, as well as arm you to argue your case in the public interest when you need to.

Other aspects covered will be how to plan and execute a full FOI project which seeks to get information from public bodies across the country, tips and tricks to save you time, and how to argue against FOI exemptions. We’ll look at making requests under the lesser-known Environmental Information Regulations and cover the possibilities for sending freedom of information requests around the world. We will also look at another powerful journalistic tool – Subject Access Requests – where the Data Protection Act enshrines our right to access our personal information from public bodies and private companies.

There’ll be time towards the end of the day to get expert guidance and troubleshooting on your previous requests or FOI projects you’re planning, in which we’ll also demonstrate the functions of WhatDoTheyKnowPro, a journalism-focused version of the popular FOI request platform which allows you to keep your requests private until you’re ready to publish and has specific tools to make batch requests to many authorities much simpler.

Technical Requirements

Bring your own laptop.

6 December 2019 – Using Freedom Of Information Act More Effectively

Using Freedom Of Information Act More Effectively

Jenna Corderoy

Jenna Corderoy is a reporter for openDemocracy’s investigations team. She specialises in obtaining documents under the Freedom of Information Act, and has brought several (and successful) FOIA challenges at tribunal.
  • 6 December 2019 10.00–17.00
Location: Goldsmiths, University of London