Center FOIA Requests Draw Media Attention

Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the Mackinac Center was covered by, the Lansing State Journal, Detroit Free PressThe Detroit News, The New York Times, Slate, The Michigan View, The Chronicle of Higher EducationSalon, WNEM-TV5 in Saginaw,, The Michigan Daily, The State News, WSJM-AM in St. Joseph and MSNBC talk show personality Rachel Maddow. The requests, sent to Wayne State University, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, ask for narrow, specific emails from professors in the labor studies departments.

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Ken Braun, managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential, told The Times, “As a general policy, we don’t discuss our FOIAs until we write about them.” Media outlets as a rule do not share with other media outlets their ongoing research for upcoming articles.

Jack Shafer, media critic for, points out in a column on a related issue that “There’s no such thing as a bad FOIA request.”

Patrick Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, and Robin Luce Herrmann, general counsel for the Michigan Press Association, last year filed an amicus brief with the Michigan Supreme Court in a defining FOIA case.

Wright has addressed Michigan’s FOIA law on a number of occasions. As he explained recently during Sunshine Week, FOIA laws ensure government transparency and create an environment that “makes the process more fair.”