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Society of Professional Journalists
Improving and protecting journalism since 1909


Excellence in Journalism 2015
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Freedom of Information

SPJ's Freedom of Information Committee is the watchdog of press freedoms across the nation. It relies upon a network of volunteers in each state organized under Project Sunshine. These SPJ members are on the front lines for assaults to the First Amendment and when lawmakers attempt to restrict the public's access to documents and the government's business. The committee often is called upon to intervene in instances where the media is restricted.


FOI FYI Blog:

Every year has 52 ‘sunshine’ weeks

Sunshine Week celebrates access to public information and what it means to people and communities each year. Much of the week focused on which public officials and governments with exceptionally good or poor track records of providing access to public information. As journalists and open government advocates, we must remain vigilant against and protest shadows in government and do our best to applaud those who try to get it right. We can often get caught up in the story of the day and forget larger issues at stake when we push for compliance of legal requirements of email archival of federal officials and text messages of local elected leaders. >Continue reading Every year has 52 ‘sunshine’ weeks

More from FOI FYI:
– Every year has 52 ‘sunshine’ weeks
– SPJ FOI Hangout
– Digital public records access blocked from the White House to City Hall
– NorCal SPJ chapter fights for sunshine in San Francisco
– Ask an expert: How to appeal a FOIA rejection

FOI step-by-step guides

If you're unfamiliar with FOIA laws or just need some guidance, we can help.

FOI for students
FOI for pros

Unfamiliar with FOI laws? Need help submitting a records request? Request denied and don’t know what to do now? Just overwhelmed in general and need a place to start?

The Society of Professional Journalists seeks to maintain constant vigilance in protecting the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press and encouraging a climate in which journalism can be practiced freely. If you're unfamiliar with the laws or just need some guidance, these guides — for pros and students — can help.

FOI for students: A step-by-step guide
FOI for pros: A step-by-step guide

Find FOI near you

Get in touch with the Sunshine chair or chairs in your state and find FOI Centers, quotable sources, resources and more.

Get in touch with the Sunshine chair or chairs in your state and find FOI Centers, quotable sources, resources and more.

Related Links:
Project Sunshine
SPJ Local Connection: Find SPJ leaders in your area
FOI Committee Blog
More FOI Resources


Introducing iFOIA

The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation provided funding to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to help update its Open Government Guide. That updated guide led to the development of the RCFP’s new project, iFOIA.

Legal Defense Fund: Request Limit Raised to $5,000

The Society's Legal Defense Fund provides journalists with legal or direct financial assistance. SPJ collects and distributes contributions for aiding journalists in defending the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

The Society's Legal Defense Fund is a unique account that can be tapped for providing journalists with legal or direct financial assistance. Application to the fund is approved by either a small committee or the national board, depending on the level of assistance sought. The committee works throughout the year raising funds for LDF.

The primary role of the Legal Defense Fund is to initiate and support litigation that enforces public access to government records and proceedings, which can be the most expensive way to defend the First Amendment. The fund can also be a source of support for FOI hotlines, coalitions and newsletters, as well as for legislative lobbying activities aimed at enforcing public access to government records and proceedings.

More information
How to request an LDF grant
LDF in action



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