Celebrate open government March 13-19 with Sunshine Week 2016

Press Release | February 11, 2016

The American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press are pleased to announce the 11th annual Sunshine Week initiative, March 13-19. Special projects and events are already planned around the nation to mark this year's open-government awareness, which will be even more meaningful as the federal Freedom of Information Act approaches its 50th year in July.

ASNE and the Reporters Committee are working with major news organizations once again on making an ambitious reporting project available free to all participants. The Associated Press, The McClatchy Company, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Sacramento Bee, Tribune News Service and others will put together a package of robust enterprise stories, sidebars, an analysis piece, photos, videos and informational graphics, which will be available via ASNE, Reporters Committee, AP and the Sunshine Week website.

Hosted by ASNE and the Reporters Committee, sunshineweek.org provides participants with myriad resources in the Toolkit section, including the newly created list of open-government questions that journalists can ask federal candidates. Op-eds, editorial cartoons and Sunshine Week logos are also part of the toolkit.

The website also features FOI story ideas and Sunshine Week past work, as well as a list of participants and a calendar of events. To have your organization or event listed, please send links and other information to sunshineweek@asne.org.

"We hope to offer stories that will be highly relevant to our readers during this election year, from transparency among the candidates, to state-by-state efforts to reduce citizen access to their government's records," said ASNE First Amendment Committee Chair George Stanley, editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"The importance of Sunshine Week grows every year, perhaps even more so this year as we get ready to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the federal Freedom of Information Act," said Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce D. Brown. "Sunshine Week reminds us that everyone has a right to know what government is doing and to push back when officials try to stand in the way."

Sunshine Week events will be hosted around the country by news organizations, libraries, universities, civic groups, nonprofits and others. The 2016 national Freedom of Information Day, which will include a panel discussing the Sunshine Week reporting project, will be held March 11 at the Newseum. Other events with links for more information and registration are posted and continually updated on the Sunshine Week website.

Sunshine Week 2016 is made possible by an endowment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and by generous donations from Bloomberg and the Gridiron Club and Foundation.

ASNE launched Sunshine Week in 2005 as a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants have included print, broadcast and digital media outlets; government officials at all levels; schools and universities; nonprofit and civic organizations; libraries and archivists; and individuals interested in the public's right to know. Since 2012, ASNE has partnered with the Reporters Committee to oversee the national coordination of resources and provide support for participants.

For more information about Sunshine Week, visit sunshineweek.org. Follow Sunshine Week on Twitter and Facebook, and use the hashtag #SunshineWeek.

About the American Society of News Editors

The American Society of News Editors focuses on leadership development and journalism-related issues. Founded in 1922 as a nonprofit professional organization, ASNE promotes fair, principled journalism; defends and protects First Amendment rights; and fights for freedom of information and open government. Leadership, innovation, diversity and inclusion in coverage and the journalism workforce, youth journalism, news literacy and the sharing of ideas are also key ASNE initiatives. Learn more at asne.org, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @NewsEditors.

About the Reporters Committee

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was founded by leading journalists and media lawyers in 1970, at a time when the nation’s news media faced a wave of government subpoenas asking reporters to name confidential sources. Today it provides a range of legal resources to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists. Funded by corporate, foundation and individual contributions, the Reporters Committee serves the nation’s leading news organizations, thousands of reporters, editors, media lawyers and many more who use our online and mobile resources. For more information, go to www.rcfp.org, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.