Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Sunshine Week includes free conference, debates, discussions, broadcasts, story ideas

A story budget for Sunshine Week has been posted, as well as links to conferences, debates and broadcasts that will be made available via the Internet for those unable to attend. Sunshine Week, an annual event to celebrate open government and freedom of the press, celebrates its 11th year from March 13-19. National Freedom of Information Day is March 16, the birthday of James Madison, father of the First Amendment.

Even before Sunshine Week begins, the 2016 National Freedom Information Day Conference will take place at the Knight Conference Center in Washington D.C. on Friday, March 11,  "Hosted by the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center with OpenTheGovernment.org, the American Society of News Editors, Sunshine Week and the American Library Association, the conference will gather individuals from all areas relating to freedom of information and open records to address transparency in government and freedom of information laws and practices," states the conference website. The conference is free but registration is required. To register click here.

From 7 to 8:30 p.m. CDT on March 15 the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute and the Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs will host a debate, "Is Our Government Too Open?", at the Fred W. Smith Forum at the University of Missouri. Bruce Cain, professor of political science at Stanford University and director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West, and Charles Lewis, American University professor and founder of The Center for Public Integrity, will debate on transparency in the federal government. The event will be streamed live. To register for the event click here.

The Newseum, an interactive museum in Washington D.C. that makes more than 900 newspaper front pages from 90 countries available for viewing every day, will broadcast live from South by Southwest in Austin, Texas from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EDT) from March 12-14. "The three-day broadcast will be anchored by Gene Policinski, COO of the Newseum Institute, and Sonya Gavankar, frequent host of Inside Media and other Newseum programming, and will feature interviews with key thoughts leaders in tech, media and privacy," states Newseum. Also at 10 a.m. (EDT) on March 13, "Newseum CEO Jeffrey Herbst will be joined by Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron for a coffee fireside chat on how the rapid evolution of media technologies has fundamentally changed the news business and will continue to affect an informed citizenry and our democracy," the Newseum says.

The Sunshine Week site will also provide other tools, including opinion columns, editorial cartoons, Sunshine Week logos and icons, a sample proclamation for state and local governments, the Schools and Colleges page for students and educators and a series of open government questions to ask candidates running for federal positions.

Sunshine Week 2016 is made possible by an endowment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and by generous donations from Bloomberg and the Gridiron Club and Foundation. For more information about Sunshine Week, visit sunshineweek.org. Follow Sunshine Week on Twitter and Facebook, and use the hashtag #SunshineWeek.

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