The annual Sunshine Week initiative focusing on the importance of open government is scheduled for March 16-22, with events already planned around the nation.
As national co-sponsors of Sunshine Week, the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press are hosting the main website for information about freedom of information, free materials for participants to use, a calendar of events and a list of participants.
"We are very pleased to again be partnering with the Reporters Committee to provide the core resources for anyone who wants to participate in Sunshine Week," ASNE's First Amendment Programs and Partnerships Committee Co-Chairs Lucy Dalglish and Steve Engelberg said in a statement. "Anyone — not just media organizations — can utilize the resources, have their events listed or be included as participants. We're always pleased to see the broad reach of this initiative — to educators, government officials, civic groups, libraries and others. It shows us in a real way that government transparency isn't just the concern of journalists; it's for everyone."
"We are excited to continue our work with ASNE as co-sponsors of the Sunshine Week initiative," said Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce D. Brown. "Together, we can ensure that Sunshine Week brings the best materials to the widest audience and that its legacy as one of the most effective annual open-government awareness projects endures."
Among the events and activities already planned for Sunshine Week 2014 are:
- The Newseum Institute's First Amendment Center, in partnership with OpenTheGovernment.org, and separately the Collaboration on Government Secrecy at American University's Washington College of Law, will each hold a celebration of Freedom of Information Day with a series of panel discussions and awards presentations.
- The Reporters Committee will host a panel discussion with prominent journalists and legal experts discussing transparency and the U.S. Supreme Court. Open government events are also planned during the week by the D.C. Open Government Coalition, FOI Oklahoma and the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
- New Mexico State University is holding an infographic contest for students, utilizing the state's Open Meetings Act or Inspection of Public Records Act as the work's focus. The winners will be announced at a public ceremony during Sunshine Week. The contest is sponsored by NMSU alumnus Tim Parker, the NMSU Library and the NMSU Department of Journalism & Mass Communications.
- In Florida, Lee County Clerk Linda Doggett will hold a free public training seminar on how to find public information posted on the clerk's office website. Training brochures and reference materials will be provided to attendees.
A roster of Sunshine Week participants and events listings are posted on the Sunshine Week website. To have your organization or event listed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This email also can be used for submissions for the Toolkit, a free online resource of materials available to any participant during Sunshine Week.
For the first time, the Sunshine Week website has added a feature called "The Vault," which showcases some of the Toolkit materials created for 2013. Although these resources cannot be used in 2014 without the creator's permission, they are being posted to spur ideas and inspiration.
Sunshine Week was launched by ASNE in 2005 and quickly grew to a nationwide event celebrated by national and local news media on all publishing platforms; federal, state and local governments; grade schools and universities; libraries; archivists; scientists; nonprofit and civic organizations; and individual citizens. Reporters Committee, which has been a participant since the launch, officially joined ASNE as a leading partner in 2012.
Sunshine Week 2014 is made possible by an endowment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and by donations from the Gridiron Club and Foundation.
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 and the sharing of ideas are also key ASNE initiatives. Learn more at 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.
Jiyoung Won Communications Coordinator American Society of News Editors email@example.com; 573-882-2430
Debra Gersh Hernandez Communications Director Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press firstname.lastname@example.org; 703-807-2104