Every March, the American Society of News Editors hosts Sunshine Week to promote open government and celebrate access to public information.
When we celebrated Sunshine Week last year, no one had any idea the major impact the COVID pandemic was about to have on almost every facet of society, including government transparency. Over the last twelve months, countless offices shut down or went remote and governments had great difficulty making sure its citizens had open access to the information they’re entitled to. But in many cases, our elected officials and civil servants prevailed, pushing new legislation forward, or implementing new technologies, regulations, and procedures to effectively operate under the stressful conditions of the pandemic.
So why do we celebrate Sunshine Week at NextRequest? Even though we’re not a news organization or a government entity, we do play a role in government operations. Our team of civic-minded employees take pride in knowing that our FOIA software is a conduit to make open government easier. We love events like Sunshine Week because they help to illuminate what works and what doesn’t, and help everyone share ideas on how to make things better. We’re proud to be included in this conversation.
Get involved. If you’re a concerned citizen, work with local officials to make open government proclamations, then support them on the follow through. If you’re in government, there are tons of resources available for transparency initiatives. Sharing your stories on Twitter @SunshineWeek or using #SunshineWeek, or checking out MuckRock and Sunshine Week programs are all excellent places to start.