Your essential weekly guide to the latest on FOIA, transparency and accountability battles, threats and wins. Powered by the reporters at MuckRock.

Transparency-focused sessions and opportunities for networking with MuckRock this week at ONA

Today through Saturday, hundreds of journalists are gathering in Los Angeles, California for the Online News Association’s annual conference. As one of journalism's biggest conferences, ONA offers a wide variety of sessions, workshops, and networking opportunities. This year's programming includes both in-person and remote options.

MuckRock's Collaborations Editor André Natta will be in attendance—you might see him volunteering at the registration table or meeting with MuckRock's partners. If you're interested in meeting up with André, reach out to him at

Here are a few of the panels and workshops about public records, technology, and government transparency that caught our attention. Please note all times are Pacific:

Image via ONA's website.
Check out the full ONA schedule
Missouri Independent and MuckRock's Documenting COVID-19 project recognized at state journalism awards
An extensive collaboration between the Documenting COVID-19 project, itself a collaboration between the Brown Institute for Media Innovation and MuckRock, and the Missouri Independent was recognized at the Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest this week, winning first place for "best COVID-19 coverage."

One of the stories in this series—which honed in on Missouri's failure to mitigate the early stages of the summer 2021 Delta surge—won first place for "best health story." This story was co-written by the Independent's Tessa Weinberg and MuckRock's Betsy Ladyzhets.

The Missouri Independent won 14 awards from this statewide news association. The nonprofit news organization was also recently named a "Sunshine Hero" by the Missouri Sunshine Coalition, for its work using public records to hold state government accountable.

Congratulations to our reporters and partners at the Independent!
Read more about the awards
The update 

Nearly 200 stories produced for Democracy Day: Last week, news organizations across the country shed light on the looming crisis in U.S. democracy as part of Democracy Day, an event organized by Montclair State University's Center for Cooperative Media. In total, almost 200 stories were published, ranging from explainers on public officials' jobs to a history of voting in the U.S. Check out the full list of stories here, and see MuckRock's suggestions for public records requests you can file to continue reporting on democracy.

Objectivity in health reporting: MuckRock reporter Betsy Ladyzhets spoke to The Objective about her newsletter and blog project, the COVID-19 Data Dispatch, and the relationship between objectivity and writing about science and health issues. The interview also included a plug for taking a vacation before you get burned out, not waiting until the situation gets dire.

FOIA finds  & top docs 

For The Record was written by Betsy Ladyzhets and edited by André Natta.

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