Sunshine Week 2013 launches with new website, renewed partnerships for open government

Press Release | January 29, 2013

Sunshine Week is set for March 10-16 and already there are plans across the country for events spotlighting open government, for special news reporting and for the release of freedom of information studies.

The American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press have renewed their partnership to oversee the national coordination of resources and provide support for participants. Sunshine Week 2013 is made possible by a continuing endowment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has funded Sunshine Week since its 2005 launch, and by a 2013 donation from Bloomberg LP.

"The Reporters Committee is pleased to again be a co-sponsor of Sunshine Week. Our ongoing mission is to ensure that government at all levels remains transparent for the public and for reporters in all platforms. This is a great opportunity to engage many different partners in open government education and discussions,” said Reporters Committee Chairman Tony Mauro, U.S. Supreme Court correspondent for The National Law Journal.

Since the nationwide Sunshine Week was launched by ASNE, participants have included print, broadcast and digital media outlets; government officials at all levels; schools and universities; non-profit and civic organizations; libraries and archivists; and interested individuals. Everyone is welcome to participate and may use the resources provided on the website to mark their open-government efforts that week. The Reporters Committee has been a national co-sponsor since 2012.

“Of course open government is important to journalists. But even more, open government is really at the heart of democracy by giving citizens the information we all need," said ASNE President Susan Goldberg, executive editor of Bloomberg News in Washington. “ASNE is proud of the work our members have done in creating and launching Sunshine Week over the years. It's among the most important work we do.”

The Sunshine Week website (www.sunshineweek.org) has been revamped to streamline access to the materials participants may need during the weeklong look at the importance of government transparency. The toolkit will be continually updated as Sunshine Week nears, and will include a selection of opinion columns, cartoons, house and public-service ads, and event logos, all of which are offered free to participants.

In addition to co-sponsors ASNE and the Reporters Committee, those planning to participate in Sunshine Week 2013 include: American Library Association; American University Washington College of Law’s Collaboration on Government Secrecy; The Associated Press; Association of Opinion Journalists, Bloomberg News; The Cato Institute; Center for Effective Government (formerly OMB Watch); Center for Responsive Politics; Electronic Frontier Foundation; First Amendment Center; Freedom of the Press Foundation; Free Press; Georgetown University’s Master’s in Journalism Program; Inland Press Association; Media Law Resource Center; Michigan Press Association; National Newspaper Association; National Security Archive; New England First Amendment Coalition; New Mexico State University Library and Department of Journalism & Mass Communications; Newspaper Association of America; New Jersey Press Association; Online News Association; OpenTheGovernment.org; Radio Television Digital News Association; Society of Professional Journalists; Sunlight Foundation; Sunshine in Government Initiative; and Union of Concerned Scientists’ Center for Science and Democracy.

About ASNE:

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 work force, youth journalism and the sharing of ideas are also key ASNE initiatives. For more information, see www.asne.org.

About the Reporters Committee:

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. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

About Bloomberg LP:

Bloomberg, the global business and financial information news leader, gives influential decision makers a critical edge by connecting them to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas. The company’s strength — delivering data, news and analytics through innovative technology, quickly and accurately — is at the core of the Bloomberg Professional service, which provides real time financial information to more than 310,000 subscribers globally. Bloomberg’s enterprise solutions build on the company’s core strength, leveraging technology to allow customers to access, integrate, distribute and manage data and information across organizations more efficiently and effectively. Through Bloomberg Law, Bloomberg Government, Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Bloomberg BNA, the company provides data, news and analytics to decision makers in industries beyond finance. And Bloomberg News, delivered through the Bloomberg Professional service, television, radio, mobile, the Internet and two magazines, Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg Markets, covers the world with more than 2,300 news and multimedia professionals at 146 bureaus in 72 countries. Headquartered in New York, Bloomberg employs more than 15,000 people in 192 locations around the world.

Sunshine Week Contacts:

Debra Gersh Hernandez, Director of Communications, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; 703-807-2104; dghernandez@rcfp.org

Arnie Robbins, Executive Director, American Society of News Editors; 573-882-9854; arobbins@asne.org