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FOIA Fellows Program

FOIA Fellows 2019
The FOIA Fellows program provides intensive hands-on training and mentoring for early-career journalists in the Chicagoland area and surrounding states who work at small news organizations, with a special focus on journalists from underrepresented backgrounds.

The fellows come to Chicago for two days to hear from leading Freedom of Information and investigative reporting voices. They’re also paired with mentors to receive personalized feedback on their current projects and FOIA records requests.

2022 FOIA Fellows 

The March 2022 FOIA Fellows program hosted the following twelve journalists:

  • Eric Bellinger, WBND-TV ABC57-TV, South Bend, IN  
  • Carli Luca, WNDU-TV, South Bend, IN
  • Gabriella Rusk, WMTV NBC15, Madison, WI  
  • Sierra Henry, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, IL 
  • Maya Hilty, Sheboygan Press, Sheboygan, WI 
  • Cleo Krejci, Iowa City Press-Citizen, Iowa City, IA  
  • Ariel Parrella-Aureli, Block Club Chicago  
  • Rachel Perry WTVO TV FOX 39, Rockford, IL 
  • Atavia Reed, Block Club Chicago
  • Ethan Simmons, The News Gazette, Champaign, IL
  • Tim Spears, WBND-TV ABC57, South Bend, IN 
  • Elizabeth Wadas, WMTV NBC15, Madison, WI​

2022 FOIA Fellows Program Mentors

The center engages a wide range of professionals to serve as FOIA Fellows program mentors. 2022 program mentors included: 

  • Leah Bartelt, Assistant Attorney General, Illinois Attorney General's Office 
  • Kelly Bauer, Senior Editor, Block Club Chicago
  • Ben Bradley, Investigative Reporter and Co-Anchor, WGN Evening News at 4 p.m., WGN-TV Chicago
  • Don Craven, President and CEO, Illinois Press Association
  • Lourdes Duarte, Investigative Reporter and Co-Anchor, WGN Evening News at 4 p.m., WGN-TV Chicago
  • Mick Dumke, Reporter, ProPublica
  • Sgt. Peter Edwards, Chicago Police Department FOIA Officer
  • Rachel Hinton, Enterprise Reporter, Better Government Association; 2022 CJIE Fellow
  • Barb Markoff, Investigative Producer, ABC7 Chicago
  • Dave McKinney, State Politics Reporter, WBEZ Chicago
  • Lisa Parker, Investigative Reporter, NBC5 Chicago
  • Greg Pratt, Reporter, Chicago Tribune  
  • Tom Skelton, FOIA Officer, Office of the Mayor, City of Chicago
  • Ben Welsh, Data and Graphics Editor, Los Angeles Times; 2022 CJIE Fellow​

Image by Jesus J. Montero