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ProPublica, New America NYC Panel Explores FOIA at 50 & Getting Government Secrets

This upcoming Independence Day also marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a federal law that opens government data and documents. Yet even as large unofficial data releases have become a major part of the journalism landscape – from the Edward Snowden leaks, to the Panama Papers – when it comes to getting information from government agencies, reporters increasingly face denied requests, long delays, heavily redacted documents and other FOIA frustrations.

ProPublica and New America NYC will cohost a panel discussion on June 27 on the state of FOIA at 50, bringing together journalists who pry loose government documents, an attorney who uses FOIA to bring accountability, and a former public servant who knows how the law works from the inside. Entitled Access Granted: How to Get Government Secrets, the event will explore FOIA’s successes and failures, the ways in which it can shine needed sunlight on the powerful, as well as roadblocks in its way. Panelists will also share the surprising details that get FOIA administrators to pay close attention, what steps people can take to maximize successful records requests, and – with Congress having recently passed the first major overhaul of FOIA in nearly a decade – what the next 50 years of government information might look like.

WHAT: Access Granted: How to Get Government Secrets

WHEN: Monday, June 27, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

WHERE: Civic Hall, 156 5th Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10010


  • Stephen Engelberg, Editor-in-Chief, ProPublica
  • Rebecca Williams, Senior Implementation Advisor, Johns Hopkins Center for Government Excellence
  • Sarah Cohen, Reporter and Editor, The New York Times
  • Brett Max Kaufman, Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union
  • Talia Buford, Reporter, Center for Public Integrity

Register to Attend

ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. In 2010, it was the first online news organization to win a Pulitzer Prize. In 2011, ProPublica won its second Pulitzer, the first ever awarded to a body of work that did not appear in print, and in 2016 the newsroom won a third. ProPublica is supported primarily by philanthropy and offers its articles for republication, both through its website and directly to leading news organizations selected for maximum impact.

New America NYC brings together big ideas, policy innovation, and lively public conversations in the unique setting of New York City. It works to curate, connect, catalyze and communicate the new America that is emerging beyond the Beltway to connect government to ideas, ideas to action, and citizens to government.

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