Sunshine Week 2019
This week is Sunshine Week - the annual event designated to raise awareness of freedom of information and transparency (or lack thereof) in government at all levels.
Sunshine Week was originally created by the American Society of News Editors in 2005, and the world was very different back then. There were no smartphones. Facebook had just launched and Twitter did not yet exist. The United States was still very actively embroiled in wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. But then, just as now, the issues of government transparency and free access to public information were recognized to be vitally important to our democracy.
This year, FOI Oklahoma members and colleagues throughout the state are working diligently to push awareness of Sunshine Week to the masses. You may have seen our Point of View piece in The Oklahoman on Sunday, or one of these letters to the editor that were published during the past couple of weeks:
“Oklahoma Joe: Agency director proposal – an issue to watch closely” by Joe Hight, current board president of FOI Oklahoma (Journal Record)
“Next week is Sunshine Week” by Anne Cougar & Carol Preston of the Stillwater League of Women Voters (Stillwater NewsPress)
“Open Records erosion, evasion ought to concern everyone” by David Riggs of Sand Springs (Tulsa World)
Additionally, the on Wednesday the OSU student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) is hosting a free training on the Open Records Act and Open Meeting Act. Speakers will include Fox23 News investigative reporter Janna Clark and OSU associate professor Dr. Joey Senat. Full details available on the Facebook event page.
And last but certainly not least, we are excited that this week we’ll be launching a new blog series entitled “No News is NOT Good News,” authored by John Wylie, former publisher of the Oologah Lake Leader. This ongoing series will highlight the importance of freedom of information to journalists and non-journalists alike, citing specific examples from everyday life.
For more ideas how to get involved in Sunshine Week, check out SunshineWeek.org.