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Communications Journalism Media

The Public Has a Right to Know: How Experts Use FOIA Requests to Tell the Inside Story

March 16, 2021 at 1:00pm2:00pm EDT

Virtual (See event details)

This event has already occurred. The information may no longer be valid.

In observation of Sunshine Week, join us for a panel discussion about the free press, government transparency and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The event, sponsored by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) and the Newhouse School, will feature three top FOIA experts: Kimbriell Kelly from the Los Angeles Times, Jason Leopold from BuzzFeed and David McCraw from The New York Times. Austin Kocher, research associate professor with TRAC, will host the event.

Kimbriell Kelly is Washington Bureau chief at the Los Angeles Times. She was previously a reporter in the investigative unit at The Washington Post and was part of the team that won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for documenting the number of fatal police-involved shootings. Her 2016 series on housing disparities in Prince George’s County won a Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists. Before she joined The Post, her reporting on mortgage lending sparked a lawsuit that resulted in an $8.7 billion settlement with Countrywide Financial and led to a $335 million discriminatory housing settlement between Countrywide and the U.S. Justice Department, the nation’s largest fair-lending settlement.

Jason Leopold is an Emmy Award-nominated investigative reporter on the BuzzFeed News investigations team and a member of the reporting team that was named a 2018 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting. Leopold was one of the lead reporters on BuzzFeed News’ groundbreaking FinCEN Files investigation. His FOIA work has been profiled by dozens of radio, television and print outlets, including a 2015 front-page story in The New York Times. Politico referred to Leopold as “perhaps the most prolific Freedom of Information requester.” In 2016, he was awarded the FOI award from Investigative Reporters & Editors and was inducted into the National Freedom of Information Hall of Fame by the Newseum Institute.

David McCraw is senior vice president and deputy general counsel for The New York Times. He is author of “Truth in Our Times: Inside the Fight for Press Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts” (St. Martin’s 2019), a first-person account of the legal battles that helped shape The Times’s coverage of Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, national security and the rise of political partisanship in America. In addition to advising the newsroom on libel and other legal issues, McCraw is one of the nation’s most prolific litigators of Freedom of Information cases and oversees international security for Times journalists working in high-risk areas.

For more information or to submit questions in advance of the event, contact Kocher at

This event was published on March 4, 2021.

Event Details