Officials' Conflicts of Interest Difficult To Explore

Forms neither accessible nor revealing

Trouble on the Board

School board members fight for community and transparency

No Sunshine in the Forest

Citizens fight to shed light on inner workings of the DuPage County Forest Preserve

An Exercise in Futility?

Despite reform efforts, problems still plague Illinois Freedom of Information Act

About this Project

Few things matter as much to a working democracy as transparency. Citizens have to be able to find out as much as they can about what their government is doing, and why, if government "by the people" means anything.

That logic fueled us at Medill Watchdog, where we are dedicated to exploring and exposing issues that can help democracy work better.

Last year, we began studying all the ways that democracy around Chicagoland suffers from opaqueness. And we redoubled our efforts to do something about it.

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This project, examining the limits of open government in Illinois, was produced over several quarters by interns at Medill Watchdog at Northwestern University in collaboration with the Knight Lab. The list of contributors: Alexandra Arkin, Ashley Balcerzak, Erin Berger, Sarah Bowman, Alex Chachkevitch, Cathaleen Chen, Karen Chen, Rose Conry, Nolan Feeney, Emily Ferber, Jessica Floum, Sarah Freishtat, Maryam Jameel, Alice Li, Michael Mallazzo, Roshan Nebhrajani, Mark Olalde, Katie Park, Minjae Park, Elena Schneider, Kevin Short, James Walsh, Alan Yu and Jia You.

The data tool and the web page were created by Knight lab undergraduate fellow Rebecca K.K. Lai, with special help in preparing the Medill Watchdog page by Medill Watchdog intern Julie Kliegman.

Significant help in gathering the data from DuPage was provided by: Annie Chang, Lily Oberman, Lauren Manning, Jia You, Mark Olalde, Erin Kron, Eunice Ro, Megan Barstead, and Sherry Jiao.

Videos were taken by Alex Chachkevitch, Maryam Jameel, and Sarah Bowman and edited by Sarah and Alex.

Special thanks to the Knight Foundation for sponsoring this Knight/News21 project, and to additional support from the Robert McCormick Foundation and Mark Ferguson.