Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Report catalogues groups interested in open government, suggests ways to better access public information

A new report catalogues more than 300 U.S. groups that have an interest in government transparency and provides advice on ways such organizations can further work together to improve access to government information.

The report, released on Monday at the beginning of Sunshine Week, is the second part of a study commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to identify barriers for journalists and citizens in accessing government information and suggest solutions. The first part of the report, released in March 2017, focused on the barriers. This second part focuses on solutions, and gathered data by analyzing the groups and interviewing 53 executive directors.

The report creates a rough taxonomy of transparency groups, dividing them into 12 loose "galaxies" such as journalists, civil societies, state Freedom of Information coalitions, philanthropists, and more, each with their own strengths and wheelhouses. Some of the 300+ groups already work with groups from other galaxies to harness these differing strengths; more such coordination is the key to improving access to government information, the report says.

Click here for a searchable spreadsheet of the groups.

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