SW Opinion 2018

Please note that the columns below represent the viewpoints of the authors and not necessarily Sunshine Week organizers.

“ASNE Sunshine Week 2018: A good time to report on everyday people fighting government secrecy” by Pam Fine, Knight Chair for News, Leadership and Community at the University of Kansas and a past president of ASNE: “If you’re an editor who believes ‘success breeds success,’ then Sunshine Week, March 11-17, is a perfect time to highlight efforts by private citizens to keep state and local government open to the public. Citizens like Alan Cowles of Lawrence, Kansas, and Debbie Miller of Independence, Kansas, whose advocacy has made government more accountable.” (Read more)

“Sunshine always right” by Jim Zachary, the deputy national editor of CNHI, editor of the Valdosta (Georgia) Daily Times: “Open government is not a political platform. It is a basic American right. The political landscape is more polarized than ever and there seems to be little common ground for conservatives and progressives. Transparency — keeping the light on the people’s business — ought to be something everyone can agree on.” (Read more)

“Are truth and freedom getting flushed away?” by Brian Hunhoff, contributing editor at the Yankton County (South Dakota) Observer :”‘Captain Jack” Crawford was one of the original Black Hills Rangers. He survived many Old West adventures and was called “The Poet Scout.” This is the final stanza of Crawford’s 1889 poem, “Truth.'” (Read more)

“Access to information sheds needed light on government secrets” by Sandy Davidson, Ph.D., J.D., who teaches communications law at the University of Missouri School of Journalism: “Sunshine Week this year is March 11-17. The ‘sunshine’ refers to access to government information. Journalists value access, but it’s a right that belongs to everyone — the right to know what your government is doing, or maybe failing to do.” (Read more)

“Openness to records is the chosen policy for Missouri” by Sandy Davidson, Ph.D., J.D., who teaches communications law at the University of Missouri School of Journalism: “In these days of “fake news” and Russian hacking of social media, finding ‘truth’ often seems a daunting task, but that’s what journalists aspire to do. The importance to our democratic society of seeking and publishing truth could not be overestimated.” (Read more)

“Wanted: Civic Courage” by Edwin Bender, executive director of the National Institute on Money in State Politics: “Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas stood alone in his 2010 dissent in the Doe v Reed challenge to Washington state’s law covering disclosure of signatures on ballot petitions. Such disclosure “severely burdens” political speech and association rights and chills citizen participation, he said.” (Read more)

“The Freedom of Information Act is the speedometer on your car; not the cop writing tickets” by the Utah Headliners: “Sunshine Week is here, and we who value government transparency are again celebrating the laws that allow us to know what our local, state and federal governments are doing.” (Read more)

“FOIA: A Colossus Under Assault” by Nate Jones, director of the FOIA Project for the National Security Archive: “Just over a year ago, a Freedom of Information Act release by the National Park Service demonstrably proved that the President of the United States was lying about the size of his inauguration crowd. That he was even elected president was, in part, because his opponent had improperly stored federal records on a personal server as Secretary of State and her agency was systematically and untruthfully stating that ‘no records’ of the Secretary’s emails could be located in response to FOIA requests.” (Read more)

“Secretary of State Jim Condos on Sunshine Week 2018: Open Government is Good Government!” by Jim Condos, secretary of state, State of Vermont: “March 11-17 is Sunshine Week, a national celebration of access to public information and what it means for you and your community.” (Read more)

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