The Freedom of Information Act is a powerful tool for citizens to keep the government accountable. But while we may know the basic contours of how the FOIA process works in theory — file a request to a government agency, wait a while, and hope for results — we know much less about how FOIA works in practice. What types of requests are most successful? Which exemptions do federal agencies rely upon most often? The unknowns are virtually infinite.
Want to help tackle these questions? Join the BuzzFeed Open Lab for Journalism, Technology, and the Arts and BuzzFeed News for a FOIA Data Hackathon on April 23, 2016 in New York City.
Beyond the focus on FOIA, the hackathon will be open-ended. Though many attendees will focus on data analysis, any FOIA-related project is fair game. Come with a project in mind, or come up with one on the spot. Work solo, or collaborate with a team. You can use any dataset you desire, but we’ll also provide easy access to data from the following sources:
FOIA enthusiasts of all stripes — journalists, programmers, designers, academics, you name it — are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Header image via justice.gov.