Sunshine Week, March 13-19: Acceptable advocacy for journalists

For several years, I’ve loved Sunshine Week — a campaign by the American Society of News Editors to call for more government transparency.  It’s one of the few times that journalists and news orgs are willing to engage in direct activism, which makes for a lot of amusing verbal gymnastics.

Today at the Knight Digital Media Center, I wrote about new advocacy/awareness tool from Sunshine Week: a model proclamation that news orgs and other activists/advocates can customize, publish, and challenge specific government officials and agencies to adopt. It gets into specifics, at least to some extent.

See: Sunshine Week shows how to call for open government

It’s a good start, but here’s what else I’d love to see from Sunshine Week…

I’d really love it if they called for no more pdf-format publishing of government documents with arcane meaningless titles and no useful metadata. (City of Oakland, are you listening? Nah, I didn’t think so….)

…OK, personally I’m skeptical of the value of proclamations, even ones that call for specific actions. What I’d really love to see from Sunshine Week is an online interactive database where people and groups could file public incident reports about specific examples of government opacity or obstructionism, so we can track this issue better.

One thought on “Sunshine Week, March 13-19: Acceptable advocacy for journalists

  1. Amy, thanks for your kind words and support on Sunshine Week.

    Sunshine Week is a campaign to promote dialogue about transparency and open government. The proclamation should be viewed in light of that broader mission.

    ASNE and many of the other organizations that participate in Sunshine Week also advocate for open government more directly, especially on the federal level. If you haven’t done so already, check out the Sunshine in Government Initiative, where much of that effort coalesces:

    http://www.sunshineingovernment.org/

    Richard Karpel
    Executive Director
    American Society of News Editors
    11690B Sunrise Valley Drive
    Reston, VA 20191
    Phone: 703/453-1120
    Fax: 703/453-1133
    http://www.asne.org
    Twitter: @rkarpel

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