Archive | May, 2014

Quinn urged to veto bill that would add limits to FOIA

30 May

The Chicago Headline Club today urged Gov. Pat  Quinn to veto HB 3976, which sets new limits on the Freedom of Information Act.

The Headline Club’s statement says:

The Chicago Headline Club is dismayed by the quick action taken by the Illinois legislature on HB 3796, which puts new limitations on the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

In essence, the bill, if signed by Gov. Pat Quinn, “…adds provisions to the Freedom of Information Act to create a category of requests called “Voluminous Requests.” This is in addition to the other provisions in the FOIA that enable public bodies to negotiate FOIA requests, which are the recurrent requester provision and the unduly burdensome provision.

What it does is add another barrier that blocks transparency by public agencies.

The Chicago Headline Club urges Gov. Quinn to veto the measure so that Illinois residents can have open access to public records and proceedings at open meetings.

“This bill does little to enhance and preserve transparency by public agencies,” Fernando Diaz, president of the Chicago Headline Club, said. “It is imperative that Gov. Quinn maintain a posture of open and transparent government by vetoing this bill.”


Center for News Literacy plans Chicago programs

22 May

The Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University is offering educators the chance to be part of a pioneering team of teachers and faculty who guide students to expand their knowledge and civic engagement with critical thinking skills about Latino-oriented news.  The inaugural class of the Latino-Oriented News Literacy project will take place in Chicago July 21-25, 2014, at Roosevelt University’s Wabash Building, conveniently located at 430 S. Wabash Avenue in downtown Chicago.  A general Institute on News Literacy is also being offered.  CNL_white_bg

Underwritten by a grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, this week-long workshop aims to develop and enhance critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports and news sources in media directed at Latino audiences in the United States.

This Project will help prepare the curriculum, audio-visual archive resources, and training workshops for high school teachers and university professors working at communities with large concentrations of Latino students in the greater Chicago area.  Educators working in other Latino and ethnic immigrant communities will also benefit from this program, which builds on and is in partnership with Stony Brook University’s Center for News Literacy.


Lessons learned in addressing Latinos will be applied to development of programs to build News Literacy and citizenship skills of other immigrant and ethnic minority populations.

Application deadline is June 15, 2014

Cost: Nominal $30 registration fee.


Applications are available online, please follow this link:

Online Application Form


For more information, please visit, or contact Liz Farley, 632-632-7637


For additional information about the Latino-Oriented News Literacy (LONLit) project, please contact Dr. Federico Subervi, team leader, at, or 512-965-5267 (mobile) or Stan Zoller, Chicago Project Coordinator at or 847-421-5278 (mobile)

Illinois Supreme Court tell state’s attorneys FOIA laws apply to them too

22 May

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that when it comes to public records laws, state’s attorneys are just like other government officials.

The Associated Press reports that  the unanimous ruling forces county prosecutors to release public records under the Freedom of Information Act.

The law is intended to improve government transparency. The case began when a reporter asked for emails between employees in the Kendall County State’s Attorney’s office. The office denied the request, claiming it was part of the judicial branch of government, which is exempt from the act.

An appellate court found that state’s attorney offices aren’t public bodies subject to the open information law. The state Supreme Court reversed that ruling. State’s attorneys prosecute crime but also act as lawyers for county boards, advising officials on zoning issues, contracts and more.

Deadline for EIU summer workshop extended until May 15

12 May

Deadline Extended: The deadline for applications to the Illinois Press Foundation journalism workshop held here at EIU until Thursday, May 15. This workshop is open to students who are currently sophomores, juniors and seniors.

The workshop is from June 16 – 27 in the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

We are looking to assemble a diverse group of students for this year’s workshop.

Information can be found at and student work can be found at  A downloadable workshop flyer is at the end of the post.

Students are encouraged to email their materials to, although these materials can also be faxed or sent through traditional mail services.