ProPublica and NJ Spark Host VICE News’s Jason Leopold

ProPublica and NJ Spark Host VICE News’s Jason Leopold

NJ Spark is proud to announce our first event held in partnership with ProPublica and sponsored by our partner, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. The idea to bring VICE News investigative reporter Jason Leopold, often referred to as a “Freedom of Information Act terrorist”, to New Jersey was born from an event held by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation titled Imagine Great Things. As a grantee of the Foundation, we are happy to not only imagine great things, but make them happen. NJ Spark hopes that this will be the first of many examples as to how we can make great things happen in the state of New Jersey. Below is the press release for the event and links with which to RSVP. It was originally published on

NEW YORK – November 18, 2015 – Author and VICE News investigative reporter Jason Leopold is surprisingly effective at getting the government to spill its secrets. His aggressive use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), demanding documents from every imaginable government agency, prompted one annoyed federal official to label him a “FOIA terrorist.”

Yet his endless appeals have pried loose Department of Defense records detailing abuses at Guantanamo Bay, files from BP to the Environmental Protection Agency that lobby for contracts after the 2010 oil spill, and the highly classified Department of Justice white paper authorizing the CIA to kill a U.S. citizen abroad.

On Dec. 7, ProPublica and Rutgers University’s NJ Spark journalism lab will host a conversation with Leopold about his use of FOIA requests in reporting on national security, civil liberties and other issues. The free event, ProPublica Live: In Conversation with Jason Leopold, will be moderated by ProPublica assistant managing editor Eric Umansky and cover tips for how others – journalists, researchers and anyone in search of information – can also creatively use FOIA for maximum results.

  • WHAT: ProPublica Live: In Conversation with Jason Leopold
  • WHEN: Monday, December 7
    Reception: 6 – 7 p.m. | Conversation: 7 – 8:30 p.m.
  • WHERE: Rutgers University – Alexander Library Lecture Hall (4th Floor), 169 College Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

RSVP here. Tickets are free, but limited.

Leopold’s use of FOIA has further included suing the FBI and Defense Department, forcing those agencies to change its policies. “ProPublica Live” will also cover Leopold’s personal story of learning from past mistakes (including erroneously reporting in 2006 that Karl Rove had been indicted in the investigation of the Valerie Plame leak), how journalists can bounce back after controversy, and his most surprising FOIA finds.

CONTACT: Cynthia Gordy, or 202-341-0555.

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ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. In 2010, it was the first online news organization to win a Pulitzer Prize. In 2011, ProPublica won its second Pulitzer, the first ever awarded to a body of work that did not appear in print. In 2014, ProPublica won a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Leadership. ProPublica is supported primarily by philanthropy and offers its articles for republication, both through its website and directly to leading news organizations selected for maximum impact. For more information, visit

NJ Spark is a social justice journalism lab at Rutgers University. We bring students together with media makers and journalists to create media for and with underserved communities. We tell the stories of the working class, immigrants, and impoverished. We shine a light on the organizations that support those groups. We point to the inequality and injustice plaguing our society. At our core, we believe that when people come together to re-imagine their communities, it can spark real change. For more information, visit

This article was originally published on and was written by Cynthia Gordy, ProPublica’s marketing director.