Sunshine Week Events 2013

Feb. 4-8 and
Feb. 11-15
Nationwide Campus Safety Audits
Student Press Law Center
The Student Press Law Center is coordinating a nationwide student audit of campus security records to track compliance with the Clery Act. Auditing will take place in February, and students are asked to publish the results during Sunshine Week. For more information on how to participate, go to the SPLC website.
Feb. 12-March 18 News Challenge on Open Government
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation accepts applications for its Knight News Challenge on open government. Winners will share $5 million to support innovative ideas. For more information, go to the Knight blog.
Thurs., Feb. 21 Deadline for First Amendment, FOI Awards Nominations
FOI Oklahoma
Nominations are being accepted for four First Amendment and freedom of information awards presented annually by FOI Oklahoma. The awards recognize both private and government individuals and organizations who have promoted — and thwarted — open government. Winners will be celebrated at FOI Oklahoma’s Sunshine Week conference March 9. For more information, go to the FOI Oklahoma website.
Mon., Feb. 25 Deadline for Sunshine Week Essay Contest Entries
New Mexico State University Library and Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Las Cruces
Any student enrolled at New Mexico State University is invited to submit an essay about how the state’s open meetings or open records act affects the public. First- and second-prize winners will receive $200 and $100 Barnes and Noble gift certificates, respectivley, and be honored at a March 13 Sunshine Week reception. For more information, go to the NMSU library website.
Fri., March 8 Deadline to Nominate Tenn. Sunshine Heroes
Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, Nashville
The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government is taking nominations for Tennessee Sunshine Heroes, people active in promoting open government in their community. Deadline for entries is COB March 8, and winners will be announced March 15, during Sunshine Week. For more information, see the TCOG Facebook post, or send a note.
Sat., March 9 Oklahoma Sunshine 2013: Fighting for an Open Government
FOI Oklahoma Inc.
From 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., FOI Oklahoma Inc. will hold its 2013 Sunshine Week conference at Oklahoma University’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication in Norman. Speakers include the chairman of Iowa’s Public Information Board and Maine’s first Public Access Ombudsman; newspaper attorneys recounting their battles for public information; journalists talking about use of smartphones and other technology to get records; award presentations; and a Q&A on the state’s open meetings and records laws. For more information and to register, visit FOI Oklahoma Inc.’s website.
Sat., March 9 Washington State Open Government Conference
Washington Coalition for Open Government, Seattle
From 9 a.m.-3 p.m. the Washington Coalition for Open Government will host an open government conference at the Mercer Island Community Center featuring a keynote address from state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Panel discussions will look at investigative reporting, best practices for filing effective records requests, open courts, and a legislative update. Discounted registration is available before March 1, and CLE credits are available. For more information and to register, visit the Coalition’s website.
Mon.-Wed., March 11-13 FOIA Fest
Chicago Headline Club
The Chicago Headline Club kicks off its first annual 3-day FOIA Fest on Monday, March 11 with a reception from 6-8 p.m. at Columbia College’s journalism school featuring Andy Shaw of the Better Government Association. On Tuesday, March 12, the Columbia College j-school will host a discussion from 6:45-8 p.m. on efforts to influence policy and legislation and how technology can improve access to public records with Terry Pastika from the Citizen Advocacy Center, Joe Germuska of Northwestern University’s Knight Lab, and Dan O’Neil from Smart Chicago Collaborative. FOIA Fest concludes on Wednesday, March 13, with leading Chicago journalists and representatives from the state attorney general’s office talking about strategies for getting public records from 6-8 pm. at WBEZ. For more information, go to the Headline Club website.
Mon., March 11 Discussion and Viewing of the Freedom of Information Act
Office of Government Information Services
National Archives, Washington, DC

The National Archives and the Freedom of Information Act Ombudsman celebrate Sunshine Week at the Archives with a display of the original FOIA documents and remarks at 1 p.m. by Archivist of the United States David Ferriero and Office of Information Services Director Miriam Nisbet, immediately followed by a demonstration of FOIAonline, the recently launched multi-agency FOIA portal. The event is free, but registration is recommended. RSVP to More information is on the FOIA Ombudsman blog.
Mon., March 11 Fourth Annual Department of Justice Sunshine Week Celebration
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington
The Justice Department will celebrate Sunshine Week with a program from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. with Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West, DOJ’s chief FOIA officer, who will lead a discussion of federal agencies’ improvements in FOIA administration since Attorney General Eric Holder’s guidelines were issued during Sunshine Week 2009. The event is open to agency personnel and the public, and picture ID will be required to enter the building. Register via email to with the subject line “Sunshine Week.” For more information, see the DOJ website.
Mon., March 11 Sunshine Day
Sunshine Center of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition
and N.C. State University Student Media, Raleigh

The Sunshine Center of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition (housed at Elon University) and the N.C. State University Student Media will host Sunshine Day from noon to 4 p.m. at the McKimmon Center on the N.C. State University campus in Raleigh. Speakers include journalists and government officials from North Carolina, and experts and advocates for open government. For more information and registration, see the event announcement online.
Mon., March 11 Sunshine Week Happy Hour & Madison’s Birthday Celebration
Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington,, Project on Government Oversight, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Sunlight Foundation
Washington-area open-government groups and friends of transparency will partake of a Sunshine Week happy hour and celebration of James Madison’s birthday on Monday night from 6-8 p.m. There is no need to RSVP and there is no cover charge, but there will be a cash bar and maybe some birthday cake. The event will be at Cause, the Philanthropub, in the Treehouse room. For more information, see the Facebook invite.
Tues., March 12 Open Government in the Second Term
Center for Effective Government and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Washington, DC
The Center for Effective Government (formerly OMB Watch) and EPIC will host two panel discussions from 1-3 p.m. examining transparency and national security issues in the Obama administration’s second term. The first panel will be moderated by Katherine McFate, president and CEO, Center for Effective Government; and panelists will include Corinna Zarek, Office of Government Information Services; Krista Boyd, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee; and Lisa Ellman, Office of Science and Technology Policy (invited). The second panel, moderated by Ginger McCall, director of EPIC’s Open Government Project, will include Tom Blanton, National Security Archive; Steve Aftergood, Federation of American Scientists; Scott Rosenthal, Sen. Jeff Merkley’s Office; Jim Harper, CATO Institute (invited). The event is free and open to the public and will be webcast at For more information and to RSVP to attend in person or watch the webcast, go to the Center’s online form.
Tues., March 12 FOIA: Today’s Challenges and Tomorrow’s Opportunities
Congressional Transparency Caucus, Washington, DC
The Congressional Transparency Caucus will hold a 3 p.m. discussion in the House Rayburn Office Building on FOIA reform and what needs to be done to improve access to government records. Moderated by Sunlight Foundation Policy Counsel Daniel Schuman, the panel will include Office of Government Information Services Director Miriam Nisbet; Sunshine in Government Initiative Coordinator Rick Blum; Center for Effective Polciy Open Government Policy Analyst Gavin Baker; and Washington Examiner Investigative Reporter Rickard Pollock. The event is open to anyone, including Hill staff and interns. To RSVP, email Robyn Russell in the office of Co-chair Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), or Ali Ahmad who works with Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). For more information, see the event invitation (PDF).
Tues., March 12 Anti-terrorism Laws and Press Freedom
National Press Club, Washington, DC
The National Press Club’s Freedom of the Press Committee will hold a panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. about the effect of laws enacted globally after Sept. 11, 2001 on press freedom. The panel will be moderated by NPC Press Freedom Committee Vice Chair Rachel Oswald, and panelists will include: Mohamed Keita, Africa advocacy coordinator for the Committee to Project Journalists; Frank Jannuzi, deputy executive director of advocacy, policy and research for Amnesty International USA; and Mark Feldstein, professor of broadcast journalism at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. The event is free and open to the public, although registration is requested. For more information and to register, go to the Press Club website.
Tues., March 12 Open Government 101
WHYY, Philadelphia
Sunlight Foundation editorial director Bill Allison will be the guest on “Open Records 101” at 7 p.m. on WHYY, Philadelphia. Topics will include how to file a FOIA request and what to do with the information once you get it. Program details and registration to attend now online.
Tues. March 12 Guns, Money & Secrets: A Sunshine Week Conversation About How Journalists Can Best Use Public Documents and Data
Georgetown University Master’s in Journalism Program
Georgetown students are invited to attend a 6:30 p.m. discussion at the Clarendon campus with Gregory Korte of USA Today and Derek Willis of The New York Times about public documents and data in recognition of Sunshine Week 2013. RSVP online here.
Wed., March 13 Addressing Transparency in the Federal Bureaucracy: Moving Toward A More Open Government
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight & Government Reform
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing on open government issues beginning at 10 a.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building. Witnesses will be announced soon. For more information see, the Committee’s website.
Wed., March 13 We the People: Fulfilling the Promise of Open Government Five Years After The OPEN Government Act
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, DC
At 10:30 a.m. in the Dirksen building, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing looking at the OPEN Government Act and freedom of information issues. Government witnesses will include Melanie Pustay, director of the Office of Information Policy, Department of Justice; and Miriam Nisbet, director of the Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration. Additional witnesses are expected to be announced. Watch the Judiciary Committee’s website for more information.
Wed., March 13 OLC Memoranda: Does U.S. Secret Law Threaten Our Democracy?
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and
The George Washington University Law School, Washington, DC

From 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the GWU Law School in Washington, legal, media, academic and government experts on two panels will discuss the government’s use of secret opinions by the Office of Legal Counsel in the war on terrorism and whether such secrecy is justified. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) will present the opening remarks. See the event flier PDF for more information.
Wed., March 13 DC Open Government Summit
DC Open Govt Coalition and the National Press Club, Washington
The DC Open Government Coalition and the National Press Club will co-host a discussion at the Press Club from 6-8:30 p.m. The event is free, but registration is required. For more information, go to the DCOGC website.
Thurs., March 14 Secrecy and Security: The Future of Classification Reform
The Brennan Center for Justice, Washington, DC
The Brennan Center will host a panel discussion March 14 from 12-1:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. Panelists will include Nancy Soderberg, chair of the Public Interest Declassification Board; Robert S. Litt, general counsel, Office of the Director of National Intelligence; former Director of the Information Security Oversight Office, J. William Leonard; Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy, Federation of American Scientists; and Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program. More details will be available soon on the Brennan Center website.
Thurs., March 14
Fri., March 15
Cato XML
The Cato Institute, Washington, DC
The Cato is hosting a Sunshine Week workshop looking at legislative data and Wikipedia. The first session, Thursday from 2:30-5:30 p.m., is designed for people of all technical skill levels and will cover Wikipedia editing, policies and culture. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop. Immediately following at 5:30 p.m., Cato will host a Sunshine Week reception. Friday’s daylong workshop for qualified Wikipedians and legislative data practitioners will be led by Pete Forsyth of Wiki Strategies, and is about making Wikipedia more informative about legislation and public policy. Participants can select one or all of the sessions and reception to attend. More information and registration information is on the Cato website.
Thurs., March 14 Freedom of Information Day Awards
Minnesota Coalition on Government Information
The Minnesota Coalition on Government Information will present its John R. Finnegan Award to a Minnesotan who has worked to increase access to government information at its Sunshine Week event March 14 at the Hennepin County Library. Program details will be posted soon on the MNCOGI website.
Thurs., March 14 How to Use the Freedom of Information Act
National Press Club, Washington, DC
As part of its Sunshine Week observances, the National Press Club will offer a panel discussion on using FOIA, moderated by Rick Dunham of the Houston Chronicle. Panelists will include Charles Babcock of Bloomberg News, Randy Rabinowitz from the Center for Effective Government, and Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation. The event is free to club members, $10 for non-members, and it is open to the public. For more information, see the NPC announcement.
Thurs., March 14 Sunshine Week Meeting of the FOIA IT Working Group
Office of Information Policy, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington
The OIP will convene a meeting at the Justice Department from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. of the FOIA IT Working Group, comprised of federal agency FOIA and technology professionals. Also invited to participate are technology specialists from civil society organizations and open government groups. Registration is required. More information is available from The FOIA Post.
Fri., March 15 National Freedom of Information Day
First Amendment Center, Newseum, Washington, DC
The daylong 15th annual National Freedom of Information Day conference will be held at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum in Washington. In morning sessions, will present its 8th annual Sunshine Week examination of the state of openness in the federal government, focusing this year on outlook for the president’s second term. Also on the day’s agenda: a keynote discussion with First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams; a discussion of the new documentary, “Whistleblowers”; the American Library Association will present its James Madison Award. There is no charge to attend, but attendees are encouraged to register in advance to guarantee seating. A PDF of the full agenda is on the site. For registration information, see the Freedom of Information Day announcement.
Fri., March 15 Luncheon and Speaker Thomas Drake
National Press Club, Washington, DC
The National Press Club will host former National Security Agency analyst Thomas Drake, a government whistleblower charged under the Espionage Act, at a luncheon beginning at 12:30 p.m., followed by Drake’s remarks and a question-and-answer period. Tickets are $21 for members (limit 2) and $35 for non-members.For more information and to make reservations, visit the Press Club website.
Fri., March 15 Panel: The Right to Photograph and Record in Public
Shoot Off Visual Media Workshop, Arlington, VA
An afternoon panel discussion during workshops for military and civil service photographers will address the First Amendment right to photograph and record events in public. Led by National Press Photographers Association General Counsel Mickey Osterreicher, panelists will include: Washington Metropolitan Police Department Public Information Officer Gwendolyn Crump; Attorney Mary Borja of Wiley Rein LLP in Washington; and White House News Photographers Association President Ron Sachs of Consolidated News. For more information, go to the Shoot Off Visual Media Workshops website.
Sat., March 16 Florida’s Third Annual Sunshine Summit
Florida First Amendment Foundation and St. Petersburg College
The First Amendment Foundation will celebrate Sunshine Week at St. Petersburg College on Saturday, March 16 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Keynote speaker is Florida author and political commentator Diane K. Roberts, and FAF President Barbara Petersen will engage the audience in a discussion about reforming Florida’s open government laws. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees are asked to register in advance.
Sat., March 16 FOI Day Exhibition
Zach S. Henderson Library of Georgia Southern University
The Henderson Library will celebrate FOI Day with an exhibit through the end of March featuring FOIA-related items, such as the White House beer recipes, released to the public after a FOIA request. The Library also is offering a Libguide service for FOI information, which provides “interactive pathfinders” such as photographs, videos, transcripts, general and subject-specific catalog and database search boxes, chat “widgets”, social media, important files, web-links, and much more for use by students, faculty and the community. For more information, visit the Henderson Library’s blog.
Mon., March 18 Freedom of Information Day Celebration
Collaboration on Government Secrecy, American Univ. Washington College of Law, Washington, DC
The Collaboration on Government Secrecy will host its sixth annual FOI Day with panel discussions on transparency issues, the legislative outlook, FOIA litigation and the U.S. Supreme Court’s Milner decision. The keynote will be given by Leonard Schaitman, assistant director of the Appellate Staff of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division since 1973, who also will receive the Robert Vaughn FOIA Legend Award. The event is free and CLE credits are available. For more information, see the CGS website.
Wed., April 3 Freedom of Information Day 2013:
“Freedom of Information in the Drone Age”

Science, Industry and Business Library of
The New York Public Library

To facilitate scheduling and logistics, the SIBL’s annual Freedom of Information Day program will be held April 3 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the SIBL on Madison Ave. and 34th St. in New York City. The featured speaker is Malcolm Byrne, deputy director and director of research at the National Security Archive. For more information, see the SIBL website.
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