Public Records Track: Mastering the law to overcome roadblocks to access (Sponsored by TEGNA Foundation)

  • Event: 2018 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Frank LoMonte of Brechner Center for Freedom of Information; Carol Marbin Miller of Miami Herald; Miranda Spivack of independent journalist
  • Date/Time: Saturday, Jun. 16 at 10:15am
  • Location: Crystal E
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

Journalists persistently report certain recurring access barriers (secretive police withholding documents, quasi-public nonprofits claiming to be "private" for FOI purposes, government employees gagged from giving interviews, databases hidden behind proprietary trade-secret software or made prohibitively expensive to duplicate, "student privacy" as a blanket excuse for campus opacity), and there are legal responses and strategies to overcome each of these. Mastering the law of access will help journalists tell their best stories and minimize delay and expense in getting the data and documents that make investigations come alive.

Speaker Bios

  • Attorney Frank LoMonte teaches media law at the University of Florida, where he runs the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, a think-tank focused on developing innovative solutions to make civically essential information more accessible and actionable. LoMonte spent nearly a decade as national director of the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C., and is a former investigative reporter and political columnist. @franklomonte

  • Carol Marbin Miller is a senior investigative reporter for the Miami Herald, where she has written for almost 20 years about child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health, disabilities and elders. Marbin Miller graduated from Florida State and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has been awarded the Goldsmith Prize, Selden Ring Award, Worth Bingham Prize, Heywood Broun Award, Pulliam First Amendment Award and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. 

  • Miranda Spivack is advising editor for, 2019 Fulbright Scholar in North Macedonia, independent journalist, New York Times. Former DePauw U Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Journalism Professor.  2017 SPJ Sunshine Award for “State Secrets,” on state and local government secrecy. Former editor ,reporter for Washington Post. In 2013, named best local government reporter by the Md, Del.,DC Press Association. @mirandareporter

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