Sunshine Week 2013 launches with new website, renewed partnerships for open government
February 1, 2013
The National Newspaper Association has signed on to participate in Sunshine Week, which is set for March 10-16. There are already 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 Chair Tony Mauro, U.S. Supreme Court correspondent for The National Law Journal.
“The importance of open government cannot be understated,” said Deb McCaslin, chair of NNA’s Government Relations Committee. “Community newspapers are on the front lines in their towns—covering their chambers of commerce and school board meetings and keeping their readers informed about what is going on at the local level. These publications make a very real difference in the lives of the people in their communities. Without these newspapers keeping their local governments accountable, democracy would falter.”
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 the co-sponsors, those planning to participate in Sunshine Week 2013 along with NNA include: American Library Association; American University Washington College of Law’s Collaboration on Government Secrecy; The Associated Press; 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 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; Sunshine in Government Initiative; and Union of Concerned Scientists’ Center for Science and Democracy.