2015 Sunshine Week Round Up
Sunshine Week, the national celebration of open government and freedom of information, kicks into full gear Monday, March 16th. Every year, the news media, nonprofits, libraries, schools, and the government debate the best ways to strengthen the public’s right to know and how to achieve a more democratic, transparent government. This Sunshine Week Nate Jones, the Director of the FOIA Program at The National Security Archive, will present a free, open to the public, 2-hour workshop for journalists, historians, and researchers on how to file effective federal FOIA requests. Other suggested activities taking place in the Washington, D.C. area in the coming weeks include:
Friday, March 13, 2015
- FOI Day
The Newseum Institute, OpentheGovernment.org, American Library Association
The Newseum Institute, OpentheGovernment.org and the American Library Association, in partnership with the Sunshine in Government Initiative, American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, will host the annual FOI Day at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The morning event will include a look at 10 years of Sunshine Week and the importance of government transparency. This year’s program features:
- A discussion of “Open Government: Successes, Challenges, Prospects” presented by OpenTheGovernment.org.
- A discussion of the first ten years of the “Sunshine Week” national open records initiative, presented by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the American Society of News Editors, including a preview of a major reporting package from The Associated Press, McClatchy and Gannett/USA Today on a decade of open government activity.
- Remarks by Miriam Nisbet, former director of Office of Government Information Services, National Archives.
- Announcement of this year’s recipient of the James Madison Award, presented annually by the American Library Assocation to individuals or groups that have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know.
- Additional speakers may be announced later.
Attendees should use the C Street entrance to the Newseum, which will open at 7:45 a.m. for this program only. Admission to the FOI Day program does not include admission to the Newseum. Follow #FOIDay15 on Twitter.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Department of Justice Sunshine Week 2015 Celebration
U.S. Department of Justice
The theme of this year’s Department of Justice Sunshine Week event is a celebration of government FOIA professionals. The DOJ is accepting nominations in a variety of categories, and the winners will be recognized for their FOIA service with awards. The event in Washington will be held from 10 a.m. to noon and is open to agency personnel and the public. More information, registration and award nomination instructions are available on the DOJ website.
National Press Club
To mark Sunshine Week, the National Press Club and its Press Freedom Committee will host a workshop for journalists to teach them techniques to help get better results from Freedom of Information Act requests. FOIA Resource Center founder Lisette Garcia will lead the class that costs $5 for NPC members and $10 for non-members. Details and registration information are on the National Press Club website.
- Crafting your FOIA request: How to get the most useful information in the shortest time
Administration for Children & Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The HHS’ Administration for Children & Families will host a Sunshine Week workshop on crafting effective Freedom of Information Act requests. More information about the event, slated for 12-1:30 p.m., will be posted on the ACF website.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Era of Transparency: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Privacy Act, and Open Government
The Bureau of the Census (U.S. Census Bureau)
The U.S. Census Bureau is hosting a Sunshine Week discussion on the importance of open government. Topics are slated to include proactive disclosures, the Privacy Act and data accessibility. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon in Suitland, Md. For more information, see the event notice online.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Let the Sun Shine: FOIA requests for journalists and researchers
National Security Archive and the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, The George Washington University, Washington
Nate Jones, director of the National Security Archive’s FOIA Project, will give a 2-hour workshop on how to file effective federal Freedom of Information Act requests. The event, which begins at 4 p.m. at GWU’s Gelman Library is free and open to the public. More information can be found on the library’s website.
Sunshine Week Happy Hour and FOILIES Awards
Sunlight Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation, MuckRock
The Sunlight Foundation is teaming up with EFF and MuckRock to expand its annual Sunshine Week Happy Hour in D.C. to include a celebration of the FOILIES Awards, presented for the most “extraordinary and egregious” FOIA request responses, as nominated by the public. The event will be held from 5-7 p.m. at Lost & Found in Washington. More details and nomination information can be found on the Sunlight Foundation website.
A full list of nationwide Sunshine Week activities can be found here, and you can follow Sunshine Week on Twitter @SunshineWeek.