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Across America, people are making a difference in their communities by fighting for greater government transparency and by using information now available through public records and open meeting laws in their cities, states and the federal government. To recognize these “Local Heroes,” Sunshine Week is seeking nominations for its annual awards to individuals who have played a significant role in fighting for transparency in government.
New this year is the addition of nominee videos to the selection process.
Sunshine Week 2012, to be celebrated March 11-17, is being co-sponsored for the first time this year by the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The goal is to focus attention and spur dialogue about the importance of protecting and promoting access to government information.
The 2011 Sunshine Week Local Hero was Gloria Howell of Stevenson, Wash., who forced disclosure of public records that revealed corruption in the county auditor’s office, leading to the auditor’s resignation. Read more about Howell and the other Local Hero honorees on the Sunshine Week website at http://sunshineweek.org/LocalHeroes.aspx.
The nomination form is online at http://sunshineweek.org/LocalHeroes/LocalHeroNomination.aspx. All nominations must be received no later than Feb. 20.
The 2012 Local Hero winner will be honored with an expense-paid trip to the ASNE annual convention in Washington, D.C. April 2-4. Second- and third-place winners will receive $500 and $250, respectively.
Spearheaded by ASNE in 2005, participation in Sunshine Week has quickly grown beyond news organizations to include students, teachers, private citizens, librarians, civic leaders, public officials, bloggers and a variety of non-profit groups and associations.
For more in information about Sunshine Week and to access the free materials available to all participants, visit sunshineweek.org.
Sunshine Week is funded primarily by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation of Miami. The Gridiron Club and Foundation of Washington also provides financial support for the program. For additional information, contact Pete Weitzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or Debra Gersh Hernandez at email@example.com.
Founded in 1922 as the professional society for the top editors at the nation’s daily newspapers, ASNE now includes among its members news leaders from a wide range of news organizations, wire services, journalism schools, and journalism research and training organizations. ASNE provides leadership training and networking opportunities for news leaders, and promotes open government and the First Amendment, professional journalism, journalism education, and newsroom diversity. For more information, go to www.asne.org or follow us on Twitter @NewsEditors.
About the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press:
Founded in 1970, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers free legal support to thousands of working journalists and media lawyers each year. It is a leader in the fight against persistent efforts by government officials to impede the release of public information, whether by withholding documents or threatening reporters with jail. In addition to its 24/7 Legal Defense Hotline, the Reporters Committee conducts cutting-edge legal research, publishes handbooks and guides on media law issues, files frequent friend-of-the-court legal briefs and offers challenging fellowships and internships for young lawyers and journalists. For more information, go to www.rcfp.org, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.