Center for Media at Risk Workshop: FOIA in Higher Education

Speaker(s): Jessica Huseman and Nate Jones

A workshop with Jessica Huseman and Nate Jones, moderated by Muira McCammon.

This event will be held via Zoom beginning at 12:30pm EST. 


The Freedom of Information Act – typically referred to by its acronym FOIA – was enacted into law in 1966 as part of a broader set of efforts to transform government to make it more accountable to the American public. This event brings together two FOIA experts— Jessica Huseman and Nate Jones—to explore how academic researchers and students interested in journalism can leverage FOIA in their reporting and research. Moderated by Muira McCammon, this workshop will pay particular attention to the potential and power of FOIA as a tool to unearth rich data about public universities and the people who run them.

Jessica Huseman was previously the lead elections reporter for ProPublica and helped manage the Electionland project for three federal election cycles, sharing information and tips with hundreds of newsrooms across the United States. She is an award-winning educator and has taught at Columbia Journalism School, New York University and wrote a high school investigative journalism curriculum in use by more than 200 high schools. Jessica is a graduate of Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, where she graduated with honors.

Nate Jones is the FOIA director for The Washington Post, where he works with reporters to target documents to request, appeal and sue for. Helping reporters obtain local, state and federal records and think strategically about public records in all formats, he gives FOIA training sessions and advice on how to write and refine requests, navigate delays and overredactions and overcome other bureaucratic resistance. He also oversees a newsroom-wide system to track open-records requests. He previously was the director of the FOIA Project for the National Security Archive and has served two terms on the Federal FOIA Advisory Committee.

Muira McCammon is an organizational, institutional and socio-legal researcher and Ph.D. candidate (ABD), who studies how government data, information and communication flow through the U.S. administrative state. Her present research draws on archival data, digital ethnography and other qualitative methods to understand, document and reimagine government communication practices. In her dissertation, she leverages Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, semi-structured interviews and content analysis to consider ways in which Twitter alters, complicates and challenges practices of information-sharing by state actors. This qualitative work builds on her recent publications in New Media & Society and Information, Communication & Society.

Event details