FOIFT Collaborates with Texas Tribune on Light of Day Project

The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas joining forces with award-winning online news site The Texas Tribune to conduct a statewide project for journalism students.

The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that educates and advocates for open government and First Amendment issues, announced today that they have partnered with the Texas Tribune to implement the Light of Day Project. Founded six years ago, the Light of Day Project is a statewide collaboration of university-level journalism schools that trains students in the proper execution of open records requests, and offers valuable experience on a collaborative investigative project.

Participating universities select a topic, make open records requests of governmental agencies, then compile, share, analyze, and publish the data. Light of Day stories have been published in university and commercial publications across the state and the partnership with The Texas Tribune will help to increase the impact of the project. The Texas Tribune is a non-profit, non-partisan public media organization whose content appears regularly in the New York Times and in most major newspapers across the state.

“We believe that having a strong statewide publishing partner like The Texas Tribune will greatly enhance the Light of Day experience for students,” explains FOIFT Executive Director Keith Elkins. “They’ll gain real-world experience in data collection and analysis. They’ll see their work published in a statewide forum. And they’ll have the chance to take part in a serious data-driven project. This collaboration is good for them and good for the future of journalism in Texas.”

“Collaboration and outreach to Texas universities has been part of our mission and our plan from the very beginning,” says Tribune CEO Evan Smith. “The Light of Day project is an excellent way to train tomorrow’s talent pool.”

Previous Light of Day topics have included campus crime, taser use rates on campus, and Title IX‘s effect on science and math faculty in Texas’ universities. Student reporting on the issue of campus crime led the Department of Education to assess a $137,500 fine against Tarleton State University for violating the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. Stories from this year’s project will be published in the Tribune and university newspapers this spring.

The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the public’s right to know about their government and other public entities. Since 1978, the Foundation’s goal has been to educate media and legal professionals, educators, students, public and business officials, and individual citizens about their rights and responsibilities as citizens in our democracy.

About The Texas Tribune
The Texas Tribune is a non-profit, nonpartisan public media organization whose mission is to promote civic engagement and discourse on the public policy, politics, government, and other matters of statewide interest. Based in the Texas capital, the Tribune won two national Edward R. Murrow awards and a General Excellence award from the Online News Association in its first year.