It's that time again. It’s time to celebrate Sunshine Week.
Every March the American Society of News Editors puts on Sunshine Week with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It’s a week to engage in public discourse on the importance of open government. Various forms of media are used, like public seminars and infographics, to illustrate and educate on how government functions are best done in the open. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public's right to know.
The last time we wrote about Sunshine Week was in 2018. At the time it felt like the threats to a more open government were coming in waves.
Now, two years later we’ve seen encouraging signs of forward movement in transparency in government. Several legislative bills have passed to open up police files. Entities are being held responsible for delivering information from government. And most importantly, governments are increasingly adopting technologies to help deliver information more efficiently.
So why do we celebrate Sunshine Week? While we’re not a news organization or a civic group we do play a role and we celebrate that. We’re a team of civic-minded employees who don’t just sell software for software’s sake. We see our FOIA software as a conduit to make open government easier and we’re proud of that.
Making government more transparent seems like an overwhelming feat. What can governments share? What shouldn’t they? And most difficult of all how can governments do what they need to? Events like Sunshine Week help to illuminate what works, what doesn’t, and how do we make things better. We’re proud to be included in this conversation.
Get involved. Share stories. 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’s a plethora of resources available for a transparency initiative. The Sunlight Foundation, MuckRock, and the many partners of Sunshine Week are all excellent places to start.
Learn more about Sunshine Week here or keep up with the conversation @sunshineweek.