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CALENDAR ITEM: MU Conference to Discuss Freedom of Information

March 17th, 2011

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217,

WHAT: In an effort to connect journalists and citizens to the data that government agencies hold, Open Missouri, a Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute project dedicated to making government data easier to find and use, will host a conference at the University of Missouri. Journalists will discuss retrieval of data, what information to look for and how to best use the information once a journalist has obtained it.

During the conference, RJI fellow and Open Missouri coordinator David Herzog will debut his Open Missouri website, which will help journalists and citizens make requests for dozens of offline Missouri government databases.

“It is really difficult for journalists and citizens to figure out exactly what data government agencies collect,” Herzog said. “We are hoping to raise awareness about this wealth of data.”

Open Missouri events include keynote speakers and roundtable discussions on topics ranging from how to use government data to using the Sunshine Law to retrieve data. Speakers will discuss the effects of the Sunshine Law and how to make requests work as well as what the “Government 2.0” data explosion means for journalists.

WHO: Speakers include Herzog; a keynote address by Bill Allison, editorial director of the Sunlight Foundation; and several other experts associated with the freedom of information movement.

WHERE: Fred W. Smith Forum, Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, MU Campus

WHEN: Thursday, March 17.

NOTE: For more information, visit