The Indiana Coalition for Open Government is pleased to join with the Indiana Professional Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists to host a symposium devoted to the issues surrounding open government data.

The March 24 panel discussion draws from the ranks of policymakers, academics and journalists to explore “Digital Transparency in Government: What We Have and What We Need.” Among other topics, it will address the Indiana Transparency Portal, data requests from the public and data transparency at the local government level.

Panelists include Indiana State Auditor Suzanne Crouch, Indiana Public Access Counselor Luke Britt, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs Prof. Beth Cate, and WCPO-TV data specialist Mark Nichols. Detailed biographical information for the speakers can be found below.

Journalists, policymakers and the public are invited to attend the symposium, which will take place at the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis. The event is free, and boxed lunches will be provided to registered attendees. To register, please send an email by March 19 to

The panel discussion is held in association with Sunshine Week, an annual national observance that promotes discussion about open government and freedom of information. Sunshine Week this year formally runs March 15-21.


Date/Time:                Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location:                    Hine Hall, Room 132
850 W. Michigan St.


Luke Britt was appointed by Governor Mike Pence to serve as Indiana’s Public Access Counselor in August of 2013. He previously served as an attorney and operations manager for the Indiana State Department of Health and as an attorney for the Department of Child Services. Britt received his undergraduate degree in Journalism from Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana and his law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in Detroit, Michigan. He will also receive a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Indianapolis in May 2015.  As the public access counselor, Britt will provide advice, assistance and education concerning Indiana’s public access laws to members of the public and government entities. The Office also publishes advisory opinions regarding access to public records and Indiana’s Open Door law.

Beth Cate is Associate Professor of Law and Public Affairs at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She joined the faculty full-time in Fall 2011; prior to that time, she taught courses for SPEA while serving as Associate General Counsel to Indiana University, practicing in a variety of areas with emphases on intellectual property law and the law and ethics concerning research and the use of information technologies (which are now her areas of scholarly focus). Her research interests include data governance, the use of technology to facilitate civic engagement and enhance civic literacy, intellectual property and the public domain, and the role of religion in public life. Before joining the University in 1998, Beth served as in-house counsel for Eli Lilly and Company, practicing in a variety of areas; clerked for the Hon. S. Jay Plager of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; and practiced with the law firm of McKenna & Cuneo (now McKenna Long & Aldridge) in Washington D.C., focusing on civil litigation and international trade. Beth holds a B.A. in Economics from The George Washington University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, both with honors.

Suzanne Crouch was appointed as Indiana’s 56th State Auditor in January of 2014 and elected to that position in November 2014. Before becoming Auditor, Crouch served as the State Representative for House District 78 which encompasses parts of Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties. She was elected to the seat in 2005, and served as the Vice Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and on the Public Health Committee. Crouch received the 2012 Public Policy Award from the Arc of Indiana for her work with people with disabilities and was named Legislator of the Year in 2011 by the Indiana Association of Rehabilitation Facilities. Prior to serving in the House of Representatives, Crouch spent eight years as Auditor of Vanderburgh County, holding office from 1995-2002. During that time, her office received its first clean bill of health in decades from the State Board of Accounts. Crouch then went on to serve as a Vanderburgh County Commissioner until joining the House. She presided as president of that body during her third year in office. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in political science from Purdue University.

Mark Nichols is the data specialist for WCPO-TV / in Cincinnati, producing investigative stories and special projects for the station’s broadcast and website teams. He’s worked at WCPO the past one and a half years after a 36-year career at The Indianapolis Star, where he retired as computer-assisted reporting coordinator. A graduate of Northwest High School and Butler University, he has been an Indianapolis resident most of his life and still lives in the city while commuting to work in Cincinnati. Nichols also is owner and president of Data Scrutiny Inc., an Indianapolis-based business that does data and demographic analysis for community groups and individual clients.

Sunshine Week 2015 Flyer