The Fight for FOIA: A Conversation About the State of Government Transparency

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

4:00-5:30 pm central, Marquette University Lubar Center for Public Policy
(also available via Microsoft Teams)

The Freedom of Information Act, the federal law recognizing the public’s right to government information, is more than 50 years old but faces challenges old and new. The advent of the internet and digital records has created a new world of opportunities and impediments for laws originally designed for a hard-copy era. The panel, comprised of a leading FOIA scholar and two investigative journalists, will consider the state of freedom of information laws, including enduring problems like delay and access to law enforcement as well as potential solutions.


Margaret Kwoka

Margaret KwokaMargaret Kwoka is the Lawrence Herman Professor of Law at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. A leading scholar of the Freedom of Information Act, her book “Saving the Freedom of Information Act” was published by Cambridge University Press in 2021. Kwoka has authored many notable law review articles on access to government information. From 2016-2018, she served a term on the NARA-sponsored Federal FOIA Advisory Committee.




Mark Walker

Mark WalkerMark Walker is an investigative reporter for The New York Times. Previously, he served as the FOIA coordinator for The New York Times. In 2021, he was part of a team that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. He is currently chairman of the board for Investigative Reporters & Editors, a nonprofit where he worked in the past training journalists. He also serves on the board of the National Press Club.




Nick Penzenstadler

Nick PenzenstadlerNick Penzenstadler is an investigative reporter and FOIA coordinator for USA TODAY. In 2020, he was part of an investigative team that was awarded the Goldsmith Prize for investigative reporting. He was awarded the 2015 Scripps Howard Public Service Journalism and, in 2017, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. He serves on the advisory board of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his alma mater.



About the Nieman Symposium

The Lucius W. Nieman Symposium, named after the founder of The Milwaukee Journal, Lucius W. Nieman, is an annual event sponsored by the J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication. 

The Nieman Symposium and Speaker Series is currently chaired by Dr. A.Jay Wagner, Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies. Past Nieman Chairs include Dr. Ana Garner, Professor of Journalism; Dr. Bonnie Brennen, former Professor of Journalism at Marquette University; Philip Seib, Professor of Journalism at USC Annenberg; Richard H. Leonard of The Milwaukee Journal; Albion Ross of The New York Times; and Scott Klug, former U. S. congressman and CEO of Trails Media Group.