Today we present an interview with A. Jay Wagner, Assistant Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Marquette University and a member of the 2020-2022 FOIA Advisory Committee. This is part of a series of posts on the Committee, whose members are FOIA experts from inside and outside of government and who are appointed by the Archivist of the United States.
Why did you seek to serve on the FOIA Advisory Committee?
I am interested in exploring the challenges that face FOIA and doing so with an informed and diverse committee. I have had little opportunity to work directly with federal FOIA offices and am interested in learning more about their perspectives.
What do you hope to accomplish?
I hope to in some small way to improve FOIA.
What is FOIA’s biggest challenge?
Building trust between requesters and FOIA offices.
Tell us about your favorite FOIA moment.
This isn’t explicitly FOIA, but while digging up information for my dissertation, I worked closely with two excellent National Archives and Records Administration archivists in locating records. While in Washington, D.C., at the National Archives, I was given a tour of the records repositories, which was strangely exhilarating.