Public Records Track: FOIA appeals and disputes (Sponsored by TEGNA Foundation)

  • Event: 2018 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Brad Heath of Reuters; Jason Leopold of BuzzFeed News; Christine Walz of Holland & Knight; Les Zaitz of Malheur Enterprise
  • Date/Time: Thursday, Jun. 14 at 5:00pm
  • Location: Oceans 6-8
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

So you filed a FOIA and didn’t get what you wanted. Now what? We’ll walk you through the options for nudging, shaming, and maybe forcing the government to give you records under FOIA. When should you appeal, when should you go to court and when should you walk away? These panelists have tried it all and will walk you through the techniques that work.

Speaker Bios

  • @bradheath Brad Heath is an investigative reporter for Reuters in Washington. Previously, he was a reporter and editor for USA TODAY. His work includes investigations of wrongdoing by federal prosecutors and air pollution, and helped prompt the U.S. Justice Department to free at least 35 people from federal prison. Before joining USA TODAY, he was a reporter for The Detroit News and The (Binghamton, N.Y.) Press & Sun-Bulletin. He is a member of the Virginia bar.

  • Jason Leopold is an Emmy nominated investigative reporter for BuzzFeed News. He is a member of the team that was named a 2018 Pulitzer finalist in international reporting and a recipient of this year's Tom Renner award from IRE. He was awarded the FOI award from IRE and was inducted into the National Freedom of Information Hall of Fame by the Newseum Institute. Politico has referred to him as “perhaps the most prolific Freedom of Information requester.” 

  • Christine Walz is a media attorney based in New York. She helps clients litigate against federal and state agencies to obtain access to public records. She also provides advice to journalists on legal issues that arise during newsgathering and defends clients in lawsuits involving claims of defamation and invasion of privacy lawsuits.

  • Two-time Pulitzer finalist Les Zaitz is editor and publisher of the Malheur Enterprise of Vale, Oregon. He has been a journalist for more than 45 years, including more than 25 years with The Oregonian, where he was senior investigative reporter before retiring in 2016. Since then, he has built a respected news team at the Enterprise that has won national, regional and state journalism awards. The Enterprise was the first weekly to be awarded IRE’s FOIA Award. @leszaitz

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