Events

Across the country, Sunshine Week 2015 will be marked by panel discussions, workshops and other events about using and understanding the latest developments in freedom of information resources.

To have your Sunshine Week 2015 event included, please send details and a link or email contact for more information to: sunshineweek@asne.org.

If you’d like to see some of what went on in 2013 and 2014, visit The Vault.

DATE
EVENT
Jan. 22, 2015 Sunshine Week Town Hall
OpenTheGovernment.org, Washington, D.C.
OpenTheGovernment.org is getting a jump start on Sunshine Week by hosting a meeting for participants to discuss ideas and event scheduling.
Feb. 15, 2015 John R. Finnegan FOI Award
Minnesota Coalition on Government Information
The deadline for submitting nominations for the MNCOGI’s John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award is Feb. 15. The award, given to those who’s commitment to open government helps promote an informed electorate, will be presented on Monday, March 16 at a ceremony at the Minneapolis Central Library. For more information on nominations and the event, visit the MNCOGI website.
Feb. 20, 2015 “FOILIES 2015″
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
Feb. 20 is the deadline for entries to the EFF’s FOILIES 2015, the most outrageous, egregious and outright ridiculous experiences with Freedom of Information Act requests in calendar year 2014. Anyone can enter. Winners will be announced during Sunshine Week. Details are on the EFF website.
Feb. 25, 2015 Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus Launches
Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden
In advance of Sunshine Week, Sens. Grassley and Wyden will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. in the Senate Judiciary Hearing Room to announce the formation of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus to help Senate offices deal with and protect whistleblowers. For more details, see the Government Accountability Project website.
Feb. 25, 2015 Sunshine Week Program
Colorado Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists
The Colorado Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will present a Sunshine Week panel discussion at the Denver Press Club on Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. Panelists will include 7News investigative reporter Keli Raybon, Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition Executive Director Jeff Roberts, and Steve Zansberg, a First Amendment attorney at Levine Sullivan Koch and Schulz. For more information, visit the Denver Press Club website.
March 12, 2015 James Madison Freedom of Information Awards
Northern California Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of Information Committee
Winners of the SPJ NorCal James Madison Freedom of Information Awards will be honored at a dinner ceremony March 12 at the San Francisco City Club. To learn more about the winners and register for the event, visit the SPJ NorCal website.
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. The ALA will present its annual Madison Award for open government excellence. More details and registration information are online here. The event will be webcast live. Follow #FOIDay15 on Twitter.
March 14, 2015 2015 Sunshine Conference
FOI Oklahoma
FOI Oklahoma will hold its annual Sunshine Week conference from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Norick Downtown Library in Oklahoma City. The group is also seeking nominations for its First Amendment and FOI awards that recognize individuals and organizations promoting the free flow of information. For more information, see the FOI Oklahoma website.
March 14, 2015 FOIAFest 2015
Chicago Headline Club
The annual FOIAFest, hosted by the Chicago Headline Club, will kick off its daylong open government workshop at 8:30 a.m. at Loyola University’s School of Communications. Attendees can get tips on how to obtain and use public records. Workshop leaders are slated to include Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; Brant Huston, professor and Knight Chair of Investigative Reporting, Journalism Department, College of Media, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; and leading Chicago area journalists. Visit the online registration page for more information and to sign up.
March 15-21, 2015 #SunshineMN
Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Minnesota Newspaper Association
Newsrooms and student journalists across Minnesota are encouraged to participate in a statewide audit of public work being done by private contractors and to produce at least one story that can “shed a light on transparency and accountability issues that may arise as a result of these public-private partnerships.” The project is being coordinated by the Minnesota Chapter of SPJ and the Minnesota Newspaper Association. Audit resources and how to participate are on the MNSPJ website.
March 15-21, 2015 Sunshine Week Series
The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.
The Dominion Post will mark Sunshine Week with a weeklong series of articles paring the importance of open government and a free press with stories keyed to the 75th anniversary of the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University. The articles will appear on The Dominion Post website.
March 15, 2015 A Celebration of Open Government and Transparency
The Tennessean, Nashville
The Tennessean will celebrate Sunshine Week with a rally for open government at or near the Capitol on Sunday, March 15 from 2-4 p.m. Details on the event, which will “rally the public through words, performance and music,” were still being finalized. More information is at the end of this Tennessean editorial.
March 16-20, 2015 Radio Days
League of Women Voters of the Midland Area, Mich.
During Sunshine Week, the League of Women Voters of the Midland area sells advertising to local businesses to air on WMPX (1490AM) as public service ads. For more information, see the League website.
March 16-17, 2015 HHS Open DataFest II
Stewards for Change Institute and the California Health and Human Services Agency
The Stewards for Change Institute and the California Health and Human Services Agency, with the support of the California Healthcare Foundation, will host the second annual HHS Open DataFest in Sacramento. The invitation-only event is designed to find innovative ways to increase access to open data from public health, health care and human services records. To learn more, visit the Stewards of Change blog.
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.
March 16, 2015 Sunshine Wheat for Sunshine Week
Madison Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists, and Next Door Brewing
The Madison Chapter of SPJ and Next Door Brewing will celebrate Sunshine Week with Sunshine Wheat — which may well be the first Sunshine Week beer. The event will be held from 6-9 p.m. at Next Door Brewing, and the first 50 attendees will receive a souvenir beer glass. Lead sponsor is the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. Supporting sponsors are WKOW-TV, the Wisconsin State Journal and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. There’s much more information, including how to RSVP, on the SPJ Madison website.
March 16, 2015 FOIA Faster
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.
March 17, 2015 2015 Sunshine Luncheon
First Amendment Foundation, Florida
The annual FAF Sunshine Luncheon and presentation of the Pete Weitzel/Friend of the First Amendment Award to George Gabel of Holland & Knight will be held on March 17 at 2 p.m. at the Governor’s Club in Tallahassee. For more information and reservations, visit the FAF website.
March 17, 2015 D.C. Open Government Summit
D.C. Open Government Coalition
At 6 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, the DCOGC will host a discussion about transparency priorities for the new mayor’s administration with government officials and open government advocates. Watch the DCOGC website for registration information and details coming soon.
March 17, 2015 Webinar: Subsidy Tracker 3.0 Launch
Good Jobs First, Washington
In conjunction with Sunshine Week, Good Jobs First is hosting a webinar on using the latest version of its Subsidy Tracker database, which will include coverage of federal subsidies. Register for the webinar and see the current Subsidy Tracker 2.0 for state/local data online.
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.
March 18, 2015 2015 Summit on Data
CA Fwd, Sacramento
CA Fwd will hold its second Data Summit during Sunshine Week to examine how technology can improve public policies. The group says the 2015 Data Summit will look holistically at state and local agencies, and seek to elevate the use of data across jurisdictions to advance critical policies. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sacramento Grand Ballroom. For more information and to register, visit CA Fwd’s website.
March 18, 2015 Public Records Day
Tracy K. Thom, Grotton Township, Ohio
Local advocate Tracy K. Thom is hoping as many as 200 people join her in flooding the Ottawa County Courthouse with public information requests in protest of a judge’s decision to bar another woman from contact with the municipal court and its employees, effectively restricting her access to court records. More information about the case and the Sunshine Week protest are found in The Sandusky Register.
March 19, 2015 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.
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 Archives’ 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.
March 31, 2015 Searching Public Records Using CollierClerk.com
Collier County, Fla., Clerk’s Office
The Collier County Clerk’s Office will cap its Sunshine Week celebration with a late-March seminar on how to use its website to find public information. The free seminar will be held from 2-4 p.m. at the South Regional Library. For more information and registration, as well as links to additional open government resources, visit the Clerk’s Government in the Sunshine Web page.

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