Update: USAID approves news media fee waiver

H/t to Sylvia Lankford, the FOIA team leader at the U.S. Agency for International Development. In a Nov. 3 letter, Lankford said my FOIA requests will be processed under the news media category. That means I will avoid being charged hundreds or thousands of dollars for search fees, which would have complicated – though not derailed – my efforts to obtain documents related to U.S. government programs in Cuba.
As a journalist, I will not have to pay USAID fees for search and review, Lankford’s letter explained. I will have to pay duplication costs: 20 cents per page after the first 100 pages.
Lankford’s letter shows she is reasonable. And get this: She also has musical talent.
She sang the national anthem during a May 17, 2005, ceremony at USAID headquarters in Washington, D.C., to recognize the sacrifice of 69 USAID employees who had died in the line of duty during the past 50 years.
Lankford sang while “the families of the fallen as well as dozens of USAID employees packed the lobby as a military color guard stood to attention,” a USAID newsletter said.

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Tracey Eaton was the Dallas Morning News bureau chief in Cuba from 2000 to early 2005. Before that, he headed the paper’s Mexico City bureau. Eaton, a former Fulbright scholar, has been a journalist and photographer since 1983. He travels to Havana regularly. In 2010 and again in 2011, Eaton received a Pulitzer Center grant to support his reporting in Cuba. He has been investigating U.S.-financed pro-democracy programs in Cuba.

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