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The Mechanics
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Technology and Politics Sun Apr 21 2013

The Freedom of Information Act and Chicago Media

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal law, with numerous state-level counterparts, that makes government information more accessible to journalist and citizens. Often, one would fill out a FOIA (commonly pronounced "FOY-uh") request in order to obtain information made available by the act.

The city of Chicago tracks FOIA requests made to its various departments, and posts the information on the Chicago Data Portal. A look at which print media outlets submit the most FOIA's gives an interesting look into the size and focus of various publications.

The information on the data portal is based on reporters who identified their publication on the FOIA request, while some requests did not list an organization.

Focusing on the Sun-Times and the Tribune, departments involving police and crime received the most FOIA requests. The data below combines the Chicago Police Board and the Independent Police Review Authority with the Chicago Police Department, although the vast majority of requests in that category go to the Police Department itself.

To learn more, check out the FOIA request logs on the Chicago Data Portal, or click here for the data behind these charts, including a breakdown of which publications FOIA'ed which departments.

 
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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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