Journalists’ critical work fighting for access to information related to the pandemic, elections and protests in 2020 will be the focus of this year’s Sunshine Week, which takes place virtually March 14-20.
Hosted by the News Leaders Association, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Gridiron Club and Foundation, the 16th annual celebration of open government and access to public information will feature panel discussions, tips and more dedicated to exploring the barriers to government transparency that often frustrated members of the news media last year — and how journalists can overcome them moving forward.
“This year, the theme is 2020, considering how fraught last year was in terms of access to records and public information,” said Rachel Wise, program director at the News Leaders Association. “Between the pandemic, the election and social justice protests, there was no shortage of issues with open meetings and records requests.”
The Reporters Committee is participating in several Sunshine Week events, including a March 15 panel discussion with the National Archives and Records Administration about open government featuring RCFP Legal Director Katie Townsend, as well as a talk about South Dakota police transparency with Gunita Singh, RCFP’s Jack Nelson/Dow Jones Foundation Legal Fellow, on March 17. For more information about where to find our attorneys and resources during Sunshine Week, check out the Reporters Committee’s March newsletter.
Since it began in 2005, Sunshine Week has managed to spotlight some of the best work in investigative reporting and provide journalists from all across the country valuable tips on requesting government records.
NLA, formerly the American Society of News Editors and Associated Press Managing Editors, works with news organizations to provide resources such as Freedom of Information Act story ideas, articles, opinion columns, editorial cartoons and other content as part of its Content Toolkit available on the Sunshine Week website.
The Reporters Committee played a central role in leading and organizing Sunshine Week programming from 2012 to 2016, hosting panel discussions on freedom of information, announcing mobile apps and releasing valuable toolkits for journalists and transparency advocates.