Sunshine Week Events 2017

Across the country, Sunshine Week is marked by panel discussions, workshops and other events about using and understanding the latest developments in freedom of information resources.

If you’d like to see some of what went on in 2013-2016, please visit The Vault.

March 9, 2017 The Presidency and the Press: Will Free Speech Survive?
New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
The NMSU Library will host a panel discussion, “The Presidency and the Press: Will Free Speech Survive?” at 5:30 p.m., March 9. The program will honor Sunshine Week, an annual event that focuses on open government and access to public information. Participating panelists will discuss the modern media environment, the propagation of “fake news,” and legal threats faced by journalists, among other topics. Please join us as our panelists discuss the dangers posed to free speech.
Sunshine Week
(March 12-18, 2017)
The 3rd Annual Foilies Awards
Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco, CA
Government transparency shouldn’t be a battle, but too often when the public wants to see what their officials are up to they’re met with resistance, hostility, obfuscation, and even retaliation.
For the third year in a row, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is soliciting submissions for “The Foilies,” our tongue-in-cheek awards for government officials who stand in the way of your right to review what they’re up to.

Minnesota Newspaper Association and Public Information Policies
Minnesota Newspaper Association, Minneapolis, MN
According to Washington D.C. freelance reporter Kathryn Foxhall, who blogged about the topic on the national SPJ website, there’s been a surge in government offices prohibiting staff from speaking with journalists unless they go through a public information officer. This year, the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, in collaboration with the Minnesota Newspaper Association, is reaching out to newsrooms and student journalists across the state to look at policies and practices dealing with public information officers.

USA Today Network and E-Democracy
USA Today Network, New York, NY
What’s a reasonable expectation for accessing important information through your local town website? Answering that question is the objective of a USA Today Network project for Sunshine Week 2017, an annual open government initiative. This year, we want to highlight access to information that ideally should be made public through the websites of New York’s counties, cities and towns without special request. All of USA Today’s New York properties and the Albany bureau will be working on the project, with the assistance of our readers.

USA Today Network and Public Officials
USA Today Network, Appleton, WI
They’re entrusted with important responsibilities to keep people safe, educate kids, maintain roads and enforce rules fairly. Taxpayers fund their salaries. But just how public are public officials? As part of Sunshine Week, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin is looking for people in central Wisconsin to share their experiences with accessing government information.

March 12, 2017 Live Podcast for Sunshine Week
City on the Edge & Society of Professional Journalists – Rio Grande, Albuquerque, NM
City on the Edge and SPJ-Rio Grande are teaming up for a live podcast about open government, public records, access and journalism. Come hang out with reporters and editors as we talk about our commitment to getting good stories—no matter what. It’s Sunshine Week all around the country, and it’s always sunny in the desert.

Sunshine Week Kickoff: FOIA and Journalism Workshop
MuckRock and The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, Somerville, MA
Come celebrate Sunshine Week — a national event that promotes government transparency — with local organizations dedicated to the cause. Join MuckRock and the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism as they share skills aimed at making the Freedom of Information Act and journalism accessible to policy makers. Find out how to get government information out of locked cabinets, and your story ideas in front of reporters who share a commitment to social justice.

March 13, 2017 The Right to Know in New Hampshire, in Theory and Practice
Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications and the New England First Amendment Coalition, Manchester, NH
In recognition of Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote open government, the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications and the New England First Amendment Coalition will present a discussion concerning the key to open government in New Hampshire — the state’s Right to Know Law.

Sunshine Day 2017 at Elon University
North Carolina Open Government Coalition, Elon, NC
The Sunshine Center of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition is hosting Sunshine Day 2017 on Elon University’s campus. Attorney General Josh Stein is expected to deliver the keynote address at Sunshine Day 2017. The program includes an instructional session on obtaining police video in the morning, presentation of our annual Sunshine Awards at lunch, and afternoon discussions of timeliness in fulfilling requests and handling requests for social media records.

Sunshine Week 2017 Celebration and FOIA IT Working Group Meeting
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
The Justice Department will present agency professionals with Sunshine Week FOIA Awards and host a special meeting of the FOIA IT Working Group from 10 a.m. to noon at the Robert F. Kennedy Building in D.C. This event will also feature a keynote presentation from the department.

Sunshine Week 2017 at the National Archives
Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
OGIS will host a celebration of sunshine and open government in the William G. McGowan Theater. This event is free and open to the public, both in person and via a live web stream, and for those who miss out, a video will be posted after the event.

March 14, 2017 DC Open Government Summit
DC Open Government Coalition, Washington, D.C.
The DC Open Government Coalition will be partnering with the National Press Club and other local organizations on its 6th annual Open Government Summit. The summit will be held at the National Press Club on the evening of Tuesday, March and promises a lively discussion about the state of transparency in the District of Columbia. The event is free but registration is required.

Hacking FOIA: Learn how to Open Government with Public Records
MuckRock & Hacks/Hackers Boston, Boston, MA
Ever wish exclusive stories would just come to you? Or wish that you could tap into government databases yourself and see if you could come up with a better solution? Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act and public records laws in every state, you can. Join us this Sunshine Week to learn more about how to use public records, meet other FOIA filers, and get your questions asked about how to make the most of these important laws.

Keeping the Door Open – Fighting for Public Transparency
Greencastle League of Women Voters & Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media, Greencastle, IN
To highlight government transparency and in honor of Sunshine Week, the Greencastle League of Women Voters and the Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media are sponsoring the panel discussion. It is essential in a democracy for all people to have the right to attend governmental meetings, and have swift access to documents generated by elected and appointed officials.

Media Law for Journalists One-Day Workshop and Roundtable
Media Law Resource Center, Doral, FL
A workshop for freelancers, bloggers, reporters, editors in print, digital or video spaces, podcasters – any media worker without the benefit of a legal department. Top media lawyers will give practical advice to stay clear of costly libel and privacy suits; navigate the reporter source relationship; avoid copyright traps; and learn about digital media law. In addition, at the journalists roundtable, editors and writers will share tips and strategies on career paths and story pitches.

The RTDNF First Amendment Awards
Radio Television Digital News Association, Washington, D.C.
The RTDNF First Amendment Awards honor individuals and organizations for their work on behalf of First Amendment freedom. RTDNF is a charitable and educational group which supports protecting our First Amendment freedoms and our rights to free and unfettered media. It is also a training and educational organization, which provides thousands of dollars in scholarships each year to the journalists of the future and provides training to both entry-level and experienced media professionals.

Annual Sunshine Luncheon & Awards Reception
First Amendment Foundation, Tallahassee, FL
The First Amendment Foundation is pleased to announce it has awarded The Honorable Scott Ellis, Clerk of Court for Brevard County, the 2016 Pete Weitzel/Friend of the First Amendment Award. The winner of the 2016 James C. Adkins/Sunshine Litigation Award is Mr. Curtis Lee of Jacksonville. The awards will be presented at the Foundation’s annual Sunshine Recognition luncheon during Florida’s annual Sunshine Week celebrations.

Sunshine Week Kickoff Event
Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C.
The Department of Commerce’s Office of Privacy and Open Government and the Census Bureau’s Open Government Office will host a National Sunshine Week Kickoff event “Strengthening Transparency through Open Data and Access to Information” from 9 a.m. to noon at the Department of Commerce Research Library. Agenda and additional details will be posted later at the event’s site.

Sunshine Week Panel Discussion & Luncheon
Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association
The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation are pleased to present a panel discussion and free luncheon in honor of Sunshine Week. The panel will feature discussion on the state of open government in Pennsylvania.

March 15, 2017 Accessing Information in the Age of Trump: Advice for Journalists and Watchdog
Project on Government Oversight, Washington, D.C.
Every new administration brings new challenges for journalists, advocates, and others who rely on access to government data for informing the public and holding the government accountable. As part of Sunshine Week, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and the Newseum Institute invite you to a conversation about tools, tips, and troubles to look out for when trying to access government information. The event will be streamed live from Newseum.

ALA 2017 James Madison Award Ceremony
American Library Association Washington, Washington, D.C.
Named for President James Madison, this ALA award is presented annually near the anniversary his birth to honor individuals or groups who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know at the national level. The 2017 James Madison Award will be presented by ALA Past President Sari Feldman at the Knight Studio at the Newseum.

Getting to the Truth in an Age of Alternative Facts
Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, Denver, CO
Join the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, 9NEWS and the Colorado Society of Professional Journalists for a Sunshine Week panel discussion on Facebook Live. 9NEWS anchor Kyle Clark will moderate a discussion of media literacy and new challenges facing news organizations. The discussion will live be on KUSA’s Facebook page and available for viewing on CFOIC’s Facebook page.

Newsmaker Luncheon and The Open Government Traveling Show
The Milwaukee Press Club, Milwaukee, WI
The Milwaukee Press Club will host the Open Government Traveling Show as part of the national celebration of open government known as “Sunshine Week.” The Open Government Traveling Show is presented by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council and the Madison chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. It features a brief tutorial on the state’s open meetings and records laws and examples of how the media, the public and advocates use the law.

The Pennsylvania Sunshine Act: Don’t Get Caught In The Dark
The Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia, PA
Ensuring access to open meetings is a key function of government. As part of PBI’s Making Good Government Better series, our program on the PA Sunshine Act offers an in-depth look at the requirements of the law, how those requirements have been interpreted by the courts, and what the best practices are for agencies subject
to the Act’s mandate. Whether you are a solicitor to an agency, or an official responsible for implementing an agency’s public meetings, this is a program you will not want to miss. Lunch is included w/registration.

Sunshine Week at Galvin Library: Improving Government Information Preservation and Access
Paul V. Galvin Library, Chicago, IL
On campus for spring break? Come hang with us at Paul V. Galvin Library for a presentation about improving government information preservation and access to celebrate Sunshine Week. We’ll bring you up to speed on Data Rescue events happening across the country including Chicago, where hacker types and others are archiving vulnerable environmental data sets; the End of Term Publication metadata project where volunteers are describing the material gathered from the Obama Administration, and the Smithsonian Institution transcription effort where Digital Volunteers are helping to make historical documents and biodiversity data more available.

March 16, 2017 Celebrate Sunshine Week at Madison’s Newest Newsroom
Society of Professional Journalists -Madison & NBC15, Madison, Wisconsin
The Madison SPJ chapter and NBC15 invite journalists and journalism students to drop by to celebrate Sunshine Week. There will be a light reception and the opportunity to observe some of the latest electronic news-gathering and reporting technology.

Cops & Cameras: privacy, transparency and limitations
Society of Professional Journalists, Washington, D.C.
Last year during Sunshine Week, SPJ National released two reports under the heading “Mediated Access.” One was a survey of law enforcement agency public information officers, the other a survey of crime reporters. Despite many groundbreaking findings in these reports, body-worn camera policies were mostly too new for the PIOs and reporters surveyed to comment on. Join the Society of Professional Journalists D.C. Pro Chapter to learn how to improve accuracy and understanding as you report on policing.

Finnegan FOI Award
Minnesota Coalition of Government Information, Minneapolis, MN
Established in 1989, the John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information award is given to those individuals and groups who demonstrate through expression and action commitment to the idea that a popular and democratic government can never realize the aspirations of the founding fathers without the participation of an informed electorate. An informed electorate cannot exist without access to information. Each year, the Minnesota Coalition of Government Information (MnCOGI) presents the John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award to honor a Minnesotan or Minnesota institution whose work demonstrates leadership and commitment to the power of information to effect change.

JFK at 100: State of the Records
Citizens Against Political Assassinations, Washington, D.C.
Federal Judge John Tunheim, former chair of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), will discuss the accomplishments and challenges of the JFK Assassination Records Act at a unique Sunshine Week news conference. Tunheim, now Minnesota’s chief federal judge, will discuss the law as a milestone in open government legislation. Its provisions mandate the release of some 3,600 still-secret JFK documents later this year on the 25th anniversary of the law’s passage.

Let The Sun Shine In On Public Records in NH and The Telegraph, Nashua, NH
Let’s celebrate Sunshine Week together to help you find out how to obtain public records from your government. Join us for a public event in Nashua where experts on the state’s public records law will detail how to get them using the state’s right-to-know law, RSA 91a, and the state Constitution. We expect a robust Q. and A. session and plan to have light refreshments available. High school and college students are encouraged to attend this highly informative evening.

The Past, Present, and Future of Open Government in the USA
The Sunlight Foundation, Washington, D.C.
Please join the Sunlight Foundation in our new offices at WeWork White House for a frank and open discussion about where transparency and accountability stand around the country in March 2017, followed by our annual Sunshine Happy Hour. Bring questions, ideas and comments on where we’ve been and where the nation needs to go next. Sunlight’s team will share rays of hope from the state and local level, along with a reminder of how far the arc of openness has bent over the past decade.

Pop-Up Sunshine Day
Virginia Coalition for Open Government, Richmond, VA
Join those in the know as they share short takes on FOIA, access, transparency and more. We’ll also show the 2006 PBS profile of Virginia FOIA hero Lee Albright then we’ll dim the lights and bring out the snacks to watch last year’s best picture Oscar winner about investigative journalism, “Spotlight.” The event is free, but you must register and a donation to VCOG is strongly encouraged.

Sunshine Week at Galvin Library: NASA Technical Reports Server
Paul V. Galvin Library, Chicago, IL
No time or money for Daytona? We can enlighten you as to why one congressman was able to darken the NASA Technical Reports Server, which has yet to fully recover. The story involves cannibalism, pornography, Al-Jazeera and Breitbart (no, seriously, folks). Come listen to a presentation outlining how decades of research were pulled from the Internet to satisfy one congressman bent on preventing scientific cooperation between the U.S. and China.

Sunshine Week FOIA Event
Society of Professional Journalists – Colorado, Denver, CO
Join SPJ Colorado Pro for a Sunshine Week event focusing on the Freedom of Information Act. Nick Penzenstadler, a reporter with USA TODAY’s investigative team, and Tom Roeder, a military reporter with The Gazette in Colorado Springs, will discuss their experiences with FOIA and offer advice and tips.

“We’re Living In The Matrix” Sunshine Law Webinar
ACLU of Ohio & Ohio Coalition for Open Government, Columbus, OH
To mark Sunshine Week 2017, the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Ohio Coalition for Open Government will offer a free webinar on how best to use Ohio’s laws on open records and open meetings. The webinar is open to anyone, including journalists and the general public, who wants to gain a better understanding of Ohio’s laws to ensure transparency and accountability of government.

March 17, 2017 Luncheon Lectures: Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act
North Central Michigan College, Petoskey, MI
You have the right to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent you. Robin Luce-Hermann, general counsel to the Michigan Press Association, explains how you can use FOIA and the Michigan Open Meetings Act to more fully participate in the democratic process.
March 18, 2017
March 19, 2017 Minnesota Data Practices Training
Our Revolution MN & Our Revolution MNTC, Minneapolis, MN
In honor of Sunshine Week (and beyond), Our Revolution MN and Our Revolution MN TC is hosting a full day training session on the MN Data Practices Act. The goal is to enable individual activists to be able to write request letters, and to build a team of activists who are able to work with issue-oriented groups (such as environment, police, and justice) to get data on costs, emails, studies, orders, and opinions of Minnesota government officials.

Sunshine Week Hackathon
Hacks/Hackers New Orleans & The Advocate, New Orleans
This Sunday will see the convergence of Sunshine Week and New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. And what better way to celebrate government transparency and local entrepreneurism than a little hackathon? Join us for some snacks, hacking and camaraderie.

March 20, 2017 Free Sunshine Week OPRA/OPMA Seminar
New Jersey Foundation for Open Government, Bellmawr, NJ
Join us for a discussion of New Jersey’s Open Public Records and Meetings Acts (OPRA and OPMA), and be sure to bring your questions. Attorney Walter Luers, who specializes in OPRA and OPMA matters, will be speaking. Handouts and light refreshments will be provided. Free and open to all.
March 22, 2017 E-Discovery, Records & Information Management Conference & Expo
Digital Government Institute, Washington, D.C.
As the volume of digital information continues to grow, the scope of electronic records management has expanded exponentially and is an increasingly critical issue for government agencies, particularly as it relates to providing secure storage, access and retrieval of government records. Key government and industry experts will gather at the 14th annual event – which is FREE for government professionals – to discuss current technology solutions/requirements, policy updates/changes and review examples of successful electronic records and e-discovery programs.

2017 James Madison Freedom of Information Awards
Northern California Society of Professional Journalists
The James Madison Awards recognize Northern California organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to advancing freedom of information and/or expression in the spirit of James Madison, the creative force behind the First Amendment. SPJ NorCal presents the awards during National Freedom of Information Week near Madison’s birthday, March 16.

March 23, 2017 Legislative Proposals for Fostering Transparency
The US House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, Washington, D.C.
The committee will hold this hearing as part of Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote the importance of open government. Members will discuss legislation that fosters government openness by subjecting federal entities and federally owned government-sponsored entities to more transparent measures, discussing transparency related to government data, audits, and the Freedom of Information Act and considering legislative proposals that hold governmental entities more accountable to taxpayers.
Posted in The Vault