IU/SPJ/ICOG offer free daylong workshop on open data, government

The Media School: Press Release
Anne Kibbler
Director of Communications
and Media Relations
The Media School
Anthony Fargo
Associate Professor
The Media School
Gerry Lanosga
Assistant Professor
The Media School

For immediate release:
Feb. 12, 2018
BLOOMINGTON, Indiana — The Center for International Media Law and Policy Studies at Indiana University will hold a free daylong workshop in Indianapolis on March 17 on access to information.

Associate professor Anthony L. Fargo (Maggie Richards, senior | The Media School)

Associate professor Anthony L. Fargo (Maggie Richards | The Media School)

“Letting the Sunshine IN: An Open Data and Open Government Workshop,” is open to anyone interested in open government and open data, including journalists, civic activists and neighborhood association members, said Anthony Fargo, director of CIMLAPS and a co-organizer of the event.

The workshop will be in the ballroom of University Tower, 911 W. North St., on the IUPUI campus.
“The strength of our open government laws is that they apply to everyone, not just journalists or public officials,” said Fargo, an associate professor in The Media School at Indiana University. “Anyone at any time may need to gain access to records held by a government agency or attend a meeting of a public body, so all of us have a stake in learning how effective our access laws are.”

Lanosga at The Media School

Assistant professor Gerry Lanosga (Maggie Richards |The Media School)

The workshop will be held during Sunshine Week, an annual national observance that highlights the importance of open government. Co-sponsors include the IndyPro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Indiana Coalition for Open Government. Fargo and co-organizer Gerry Lanosga, an assistant professor in The Media School, are ICOG board members.

Confirmed speakers at the conference include state, regional and national journalists and open government advocates, who will participate in informational sessions about state and national access laws.

The workshop will close with a hands-on session on how to request data and metadata from public agencies. Experts will guide attendees in submitting actual requests to state agencies for information about their data sets. Participants should bring a laptop computer or other WiFi-capable device.

Lanosga said the goal is to launch an open online catalog of state data sets.
“We know that one of the key barriers to opening public data is lack of knowledge about the range of data that state agencies maintain,” he said. “This effort will go a long way to eliminating the unknowns about state data sets and make it easier for journalists and others in the public to request them.”

The program includes:

8 a.m. — Registration and breakfast

9:15 a.m. — Overview of Indiana access laws

  • Luke Britt, Indiana public access counselor
  • Steve Key, executive director of the Hoosier State Press Association
  • Moderator: Anthony Fargo

10:30 a.m. — “Contemporary Problems with Access”

  • William Groth, partner, Fillenwarth Dennerline Groth & Towe LLP, Indianapolis
  • Kara Kenney, investigative reporter, WRTV-Indianapolis
  • Mark Nichols, computer-assisted reporting coordinator, Indianapolis Star
  • John Russell, staff reporter, Indianapolis Business Journal
  • Moderator: Anthony Fargo

Noon — Lunch and panel discussion, “What’s Wrong with Access Laws, and How Do We Fix Them?”

  • David Cuillier, director, School of Journalism, University of Arizona
  • Sandhya Kambhampati, data reporter, ProPublica Illinois
  • Jason Leopold, senior investigative reporter, BuzzFeed News, Los Angeles
  • Moderator: Anthony Fargo

1:45 p.m. — “Challenges of Open Data”

  • Zachary Baiel, president, Indiana Coalition for Open Government
  • Brant Houston, Knight Chair for Investigative Reporting, University of Illinois
  • Kimbriell Kelly, data journalist, Washington Post
  • Moderator: Gerry Lanosga

3:15 p.m. — Strategy Session and Hands-On Work

  • Moderator: Gerry Lanosga

The workshop is made possible by a gift to CIMLAPS from IU journalism alumna Barbara Restle. It is free to pre-registered participants and includes breakfast, lunch and parking. Visitor parking is available in the North Street and Vermont Street parking garages and the Hine Hall Tower Garage.
Although there is no charge to attend the workshop, attendance is limited and advance registration is required. To pre-register, go to mediaschool.indiana.edu/letting-the-sunshine-in-registration-form/. The registration deadline is 5 p.m. EDT March 12.