Sunshine Week Events 2018

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.

To have your Sunshine Week 2018 event included below, please send details and a link or email contact for more information to: If you’d like to see some of what went on in 2013-17, please visit The Vault.



March 9, 2018 Sunshine Week 2018: Fighting for Transparency and Freedom of Information
Knight TV Studio, Newseum, Washington, D.C.
From 8:30 a.m. to noon, join several of the nation’s leading journalism and freedom of information advocates to preview Sunshine Week 2018. The event is free and open to the public but requires registration. Replay available here.
March 10 – June 7, 2018 Confirmed and Denied: Redacted Documents and the Freedom of Information Act
Main Library, San Francisco Public Library’s Government Information Center (5th floor)
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) of 1966 enshrined the right of access to federal government information from the executive branch. Through FOIA requests, journalists, watchdog groups and members of the public have received entire files pertaining to requested subjects, partial files with redacted documents and nothing. Confirmed and Denied explores redacted documents and unfilled requests through notable exemptions and exclusions set forth in the original and amendments to the act. What information does the government share with the public? What kind of information remains classified, obstructed from view by black ink or computer-generated boxes? An unsolved Alcatraz escape, Cold War espionage, surveillance on a Bay Area political group and other local and national cases are highlighted in the exhibit.
March 12, 2018 Sunshine Week 2018 at the National Archives
William G. McGowan Theater, National Archives Museum, Washington, D.C.
This event will be free and open to the public, both in person and via a live web stream. For those who miss out, a video will be posted after the event (you can find video of the 2017 event here).

Speaking Truth to Power: Writing Political Commentary
Rockingham Free Public Library, Bellows Falls, Vermont
From 6 to 8 p.m. writer Elayne Clift will host a workshop for emerging (ages 17-25) and other adults to strengthen writing skills needed to make a point, share an opinion or reflect on issues and current events that are important to the author without slipping into sentimentality, sounding confrontational or slipping into sloppy arguments.

Dispelling the Gathering Clouds
National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
Join the National Press Club’s nonprofit Journalism Institute for an evening discussion (6:30-8 p.m. EDT) recognizing Sunshine Week. Sunshine Week celebrates the public’s right to know, but this year it is being marked as forces of darkness continue to gather across the globe. From Latin America to Russia, from the Middle East to the Midwest of the United States, government officials are actively challenging the rights of the media to cover what they do. Why is this disturbing trend emerging in so many places simultaneously? What can we do to combat it?

Sunshine Day 2018
The Alumni-Foundation Event Center, Greensboro, NC
Sunshine Day 2018 is the N.C. Open Government Coalition’s annual get together to discuss government transparency issues across the state. This year, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT, the event will open with a learning session on the ins and outs of the N.C. Open Meetings Law. There will be a luncheon and awards program, and discussions on how the new police video law is working and transparency in the legislature.

The Story Behind the Story
Credit Union House of Virginia, Richmond, VA
Join Virginia reporters Patrick Wilson (RTD), Rachel DePompa (WWBT) and Jeff Schwaner (The News Leader) to hear how they used and relied on public records to report some of their most important stories. From 10 a.m. to noon EDT.

The Role of State Government in Combating Illicit Financial Flows
Widener University Delaware Law School, Wilmington, DE
Eryn Schornick, senior policy adviser of the Anti-money-laundering Team at the international advocacy organization Global Witness, will address the problem of hidden company owners and the real-life impact of these anonymously owned companies based on Global Witness’s investigations into corruption, including money laundering. Although policy solutions are being negotiated at the federal level, Schornick’s presentation will highlight “the role of state government in combating illicit financial flows.” A Q&A with the audience will follow the presentation. The event is free and begins at 6:30 p.m. with a social gathering and networking.

Sunshine Week 2018
Warren City Municipal Building, Warren, PA
The League of Women Voters – Warren County – invites you to this year’s Sunshine Week event from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. This is a free event with a tour of the historical building and meeting with five elected officials.

March 13, 2018 Freedom of Information Act 101
Learning Studio, San Francisco Public Library’s Government Information Center
What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and how can you, a member of the public, use it to get access to government information? From 6 to 7:30 p.m., the Electronic Frontier Foundation will present on FOIA basics and how to file a request with federal agencies. 

A Day of Sunshine
Miller Free Enterprise Center, Sandy, Utah
The Utah Division of Archives and Records Service is excited to announce “A Day of Sunshine.” Come and learn why transparency matters and how to work together for a better open government. Topics range from discussion on the importance of transparency to providing advice on how to adopt “Sunshine” standards and forming lasting partnerships and trust between the government and the public. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As a Matter of Open Government (kick-off event)
Department of Commerce Research Library, 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 Kick-off event from 9 a.m. to noon. Keynote speaker, Charles Lewis, is a professor and the executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University School of Communication. There will be guest speakers from federal agencies and nongovernmental agencies.

DC Open Government Summit
American Bar Association, Washington, D.C.
The DC Open Government Coalition will be partnering with the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the American University School of Communication and other local organizations on its 7th annual Open Government Summit. The summit will be held at the American Bar Association (note that this is a new location for the event) on the evening of Tuesday, March 13th and promises a lively discussion about the state of transparency in the District of Columbia. The event is free, but registration is required.

Public Records Law: Balancing Transparency and Compliance
Online webinar by Laserfiche
Watch this webinar at 2 p.m. EDT and learn how the City of Sebastian in Florida was able to leverage technology to strike the right balance between information transparency and regulatory compliance.

Transparency and access bills at the 2018 General Assembly
Online webinar
From 10 to 11 a.m. EDT, Virginia Coalition for Open Government’s Megan Rhyne will review the bills VCOG followed during the 2018 General Assembly session. What passed, what failed, what should have passed/failed? Also, learn about improved transparency during the legislative process: what is good, and what could be improved? The event is free. Participants who register will receive a link to the webinar the day before.

The State of Environmental Transparency
WeWork White House, Washington, D.C.
Join the Sunlight Foundation, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Project on Government Oversight for a Sunshine Week forum about the state of environmental transparency in the federal government. From 6 to 8 p.m. EDT, the discussions will offer a deep dive into what’s happening across the worlds of environment, good governance and the role of evidence in public policy and decision-making.

Let’s Get Creative: Streamlining the Response to Public Records Requests
Online webinar by Laserfiche
Watch this webinar at 4 p.m. EDT and hear from the La Plata County in Colorado about the reasons for automating the public records request process and how it fits into the “Innovate La Plata” county-wide initiative on civic innovation.

Improve Your Public Records Process
Online webinar
Complying with FOIA and state public record laws is becoming increasingly time-consuming and litigious. Join Eugene Park, Deputy Port Attorney for the Port of Oakland, and Tamara Manik-Perlman, founder and CEO of NextRequest, in a lively discussion on how recent trends in FOIA and other public record laws are affecting how agencies manage and deliver information. The webinar begins at noon PDT.

Sunshine Week luncheon
612 Grove St., Boise, Idaho
The Idaho Press Club and Idahoans for Openness in Government will have a Sunshine Week luncheon featuring leaders of the Idaho House and Senate.

March 14, 2018 Sunshine Week in PHX 
Event Room, Visitors Center at Steele Indian School Park, Phoenix
SPJ Phoenix will celebrate Sunshine Week with an all-star lineup of FOI advocates from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 14. Speakers include: Former SPJ national President David Cuillier and Valley journalists Morgan Loew (CBS5), Jeremy Duda (Arizona Capitol Times), Evan Wyloge (Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting), Brenna Goth (Bloomberg News). Registration required.

Truth Be Told: Whistleblowers, Journalism & Democracy
How reporters rely on whistleblowers, who risk everything, to learn the truth
Room 518, University of the District of Columbia David A. Clark School of Law
In celebration of Sunshine Week, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Freedom of Information Committee and SPJ’s Washington, D.C., chapter have teamed up with the Government Accountability Project to tell the stories of two whistleblowers who stood up for transparency in the face of reprisal and two journalists who have worked with brave sources to report the truth. From 7 to 9 p.m., government employees who reported serious abuses at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will share their experiences blowing the whistle, and seasoned journalists who have covered whistleblower issues and worked with whistleblowers will share how they worked with to verify and report their sources’ information while minimizing their risk of retaliation. This event will be live-streamed.

FOIA Can Opener
#606, Hooker-Dunham Building, Brattleboro, Vermont
A working guide to transparency in government and open-meeting law, with Allison Teague, Commons reporter emerita and Media Mentoring coordinator. This workshop is at noon.

NPC Sunshine Week Panel to Examine How Public Information Officers Limit Media Access
National Press Club, Washington D.C.
The National Press Club’s Press Freedom Committee will host an evening panel discussion on March 14 to examine how the Trump administration uses public information officers to limit and shape reporters’ access to government information. The event will take place in the Zenger room and go from 6:30 to 8 p.m. EDT. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are necessary.

The basics of requesting records under FOIA
Online webinar
From 10 to 11 a.m. EDT, Virginia Coalition for Open Government’s Megan Rhyne will review the basics of requesting records under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act. What is a public record? How many days does it take? Can I be charged? And what about text messages? The event is free. Participants who register will receive a link to the webinar the day before.

State of the Records: Access to Justice Made Easy for You
Orange County Courthouse Jury Assembly Room, Orlando, FL
Join the Orange County Clerk of Courts at 6:30 p.m. for this special Legal Matters forum, which focuses on enhancements to customer service through technology and the expansion of the Self Help Center. There will also be a question and answer panel with Judge Alice Blackwell. Registration is required.

March 14-15, 2018 As a Matter of Open Government (speaker sessions)
U.S. Census Bureau, Suitland-Silver Hill, Maryland
From 9 a.m. to noon on March 14 and 15, the Census Bureau Open Government Office will host exciting and informative sessions that will show you how the bureau meets the principles (transparency, participation, collaboration and accountability) of open government. Registration is required.
March 15, 2018 The State of Open Government 
Sunlight Foundation, Washington, D.C.
Join the Sunlight Foundation at our offices in Washington for frank and open discussion about where transparency and accountability stand in D.C. and around the country in 2018, followed by the annual Sunshine Happy Hour. Bring questions, ideas and comments on where we’ve been and where the nation needs to go next. We’ll collect and share them, as in past years. You can expect Sunlight’s team to 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. Following our discussion, we’ll be mixing and mingle over pizza, wine and beer during our annual Sunshine Happy Hour. If the weather cooperates, we might even be able to invite you out on the balcony for some White House “oversight.”

The Transparency Effect: Strategies for Managing and Demystifying Public Records
Online webinar by Laserfiche
Watch this webinar at 2 p.m. EST and learn how Collin County in Texas implemented an organization-wide Electronic Records Management System (ERMS) and ultimately became a more open government through the process.

The basics of FOIA’s open meeting laws
Online webinar
From 10 to 11 a.m. EDT, Virginia Coalition for Open Government’s Megan Rhyne will review the basics of the open meetings provisions of Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act. How many can meet before FOIA is triggered? What kind of notice is required? When are meeting minutes available? And what about email? The event is free. Participants who register will receive a link to the webinar the day before.

Working with Whistleblowers: A Sunshine Week Training for Public Interest Advocates
OpenGov Hub, Washington, D.C.
From 11 a.m. to noon EDT, this training offers key insights and practice tips for working effectively with whistleblowers and information disclosed by whistleblowers, in order to turn their information into power while ensuring the employee truth-teller is not harmed in the course of advocacy.

March 16, 2018 Sunshine in Your Pocket
Denver Consistory, Denver, Colorado
From 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition will host sunshine laws workshops on the Colorado Open Records Act, Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act, Colorado Open Meetings Law and court access. The workshops will be followed by a luncheon featuring Eli Stokols, MSNBC political analyst, as well as the winners of CFOIC’s Sue O’Brien Award for Public Service and the Ruth Anna Citizen Champion Award.
March 17, 2018 Letting the Sunshine IN: An Open Data and Open Government Workshop
University Tower Ballroom, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Center for International Media Law and Policy Studies at Indiana University Bloomington is hosting a free workshop in Indianapolis on access to information. Confirmed speakers at the conference include state, regional and national journalists and open government advocates, who will participate in informational sessions about state and national access laws. It’s open to anyone interested in open government and open data, including journalists, civic activists and neighborhood association members. Registration is required.

FOIA Can Opener
#606, Hooker-Dunham Building, Brattleboro, Vermont
A working guide to transparency in government and open-meeting law, with Allison Teague, Commons reporter emerita and Media Mentoring coordinator. This workshop is from 1 to 3 p.m.

Posted in The Vault