Skip to main content

Freedom of Information and Your Right to Know

About This Course

Freedom of information is instrumental to journalism and essential for democracy. This course teaches you how to use the Freedom of Information Act, Public Records Laws and Open Meetings Laws to uphold your right to know the government's actions. Learn not only the details of FOI laws in your state, but howt o use FOI to write better stories today. This course will teahc you how to determine if something is a public document and how to access it if it is.

What Will I Learn

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Use the federal Freedom of Information Act to request information.
  • Obtain public records and attend meetings under state-level Sunshine Laws.
  • Use documents to drive your newsroom.
  • See how others have used FOI to write better stories.
  • Use the Web to find more information about FOI laws in your state.

Who Should Take This Course

This course is for anyone who is interested in the First Amendment or Freedom of Information, or who has ever needed — or anticipates needing — access to a public document.

Training Partner

Society of Professional Journalists

The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation's most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice o journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior.


This course was created by Charles Davis and Joel Campbell, co-chairs of the Soceity of Professional Journalists' Freedom of Information Committee for use in the SPJ/Bloomberg Journalism Training Program, generously funded by Bloomberg News.

Frequently Asked Questions

What web browser should I use?

The Open edX platform works best with current versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.