Brechner News

Frank LoMonte Participates in Panel on Difficulties Accessing Data During COVID-19

Posted: March 3, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, was a panelist on “Reporting on the Pandemic: Access to Data that Counts” for the State Bar of Georgia on Feb. 25. LoMonte joined a panel of lawyers and journalists addressing the difficulty they have experienced getting reliable information about COVID-19 resulting from misinterpretations of federal privacy laws.

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Frank LoMonte Comments on Controversial Tweet About Rush Limbaugh

Posted: February 24, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, “Legal Experts: Sarah Parcak’s Tweet About Rush Limbaugh Protected by the First Amendment” published on Alabama Media Group’s al.com on Feb. 23. The story focuses on an alleged derogatory tweet by University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Professor Sarah Parcak about the late Rush Limbaugh. The tweet is covered by the First Amendment which protects political speech from scrutiny by government agencies. “College faculty are supposed to be breaking the boundaries of ideas. They’re supposed to be experimenting at the fringes of social and…

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Frank LoMonte to Present at Virtual Law School Symposium on Workers’ Rights After the Pandemic

Posted: February 10, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, will be a presenter at a virtual law school symposium, Workers’ Rights in the Wake of a Global Pandemic, presented by the Seattle Journal for Social Justice on March 5. LoMonte will present a soon-to-be-published research paper about free speech rights in the workplace entitled “When a Leak Becomes a Lifeline: Reinvigorating Federal Labor Law to Protect Media Whistleblowing About Workplace Safety.” This goal of the symposium is to create space for a conversation among academics, practitioners, and community advocates to analyze the ways…

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Brechner Center Research Cited in SPJ Letter to President Biden

Posted: January 22, 2021

The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information was featured in a letter from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) to President Biden on Jan. 19. In the letter, SPJ President Matthew T. Hall asked for the U.S. government to end restrictions on federal office and agency employees that prohibit them from speaking to the press without notification or oversight by authorities. He suggests that these rules were exacerbated under the Trump administration and created extreme censorship and damaged understanding of the government. According to Hall, “An extensive analysis from the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information says that the controls…

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Sara Gamin Authors Opinion Column on Student Apartment Fire Hazards

Posted: January 14, 2021

Sara Ganim, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information Hearst Journalism Fellow, is the author of “Too Many Student Apartments Are Overcrowded Fire Hazards Unfit for 21st Century Life,” an opinion column published on pennlive.com on Jan. 9. Ganim, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and producer of the Brechner Center podcast “Why Don’t We Know,” reports on huge disparities in the way college towns enforce fire-safety requirements and how easy or hard it would be for a renter to find out whether an apartment is safe. According to Ganim, “Along with my team, we…

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Frank LoMonte Authors Essay on Accessibility of Police Disciplinary Records

Posted: January 14, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, is the author of the essay “Release Police Disciplinary Records in a Timely Manner” published in the Rochester, New York newspaper Democrat & Chronicle on Dec. 30. LoMonte focuses on New York police departments that are failing to abide by their legal obligation to provide the public with access to files about officer misconduct. According to LoMonte, “The principle is simple: The public pays for government agencies to create documents and data, and (with sensible privacy exceptions) that information should be free to…

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Frank LoMonte Comments on Capitol Police’s FOIA Exemption

Posted: January 12, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, is quoted in “The Capitol Police Are Not Subject to Freedom of Information Laws. Jan. 6 Could Change That” published on huffpost.com on Jan. 12. The article focuses on the Capitol Police and their exemption from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The almost 2,000-member police force does not have to comply with the transparency law and does not have to provide access to official records. “There’s no reason to give the Capitol Police a blanket, categorical free pass on FOIA,” said LoMonte.…

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Civic Information Journal Shares Insights on Information Accessibility During the Pandemic

Posted: January 8, 2021

The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information today released a special edition of The Journal of Civic Information focused on critical issues of information accessibility raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. The papers were submitted as part of a September 2020 competition organized by the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC). Both the Brechner Center and NFOIC are headquartered at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. The special edition of the journal, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of practical scholarship published quarterly, includes four articles addressing issues from transparency in health and death records to public engagement during the…

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Frank LoMonte Comments on the Rights of Health Care Workers Who Speak to the Media During the Pandemic

Posted: January 8, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, is quoted in “COVID Amplifies Appeal Over Speech Rights of Health Care Workers” published on courthousenews.com on Jan. 6. The article focuses on the plight of health care workers who have been terminated for speaking to the media about inadequate protection during the pandemic. According to LoMonte, “As hospitals across the U.S. struggle to cope with the pandemic, health care institutions are getting more aggressive about trying to gag their employees from speaking to the news media. Even Amazon has gotten into trouble for trying…

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Frank LoMonte Comments on the High Cost of a COVID-19 Records Request

Posted: January 6, 2021

Frank LoMonte, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information director, is quoted in “Florida Wants $17,000 to Release Documents About COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout” published on vice.com on Jan. 5. The article focuses on the Florida Department of Health’s large monetary request to turn over the state’s coronavirus vaccine prioritization and distribution plan. The high cost has become a barrier to finding out why the process is a bureaucratic headache. According to LoMonte, “There’s a very good policy question about whether requesters should be paying tens of thousands of dollars for information that the…

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