Sunshine Week Events 2014

Jan. 23, 2014 Sunshine Week Town Hall, Washington, D.C. is getting a jump start on Sunshine Week 2014 by hosting a town hall in Washington, D.C., for potential participants to discuss their plans and cut down on programming and scheduling overlap. The meeting can be attended in person or remotely. To sign up, go to or contact Amy Bennett at or 202-332-6736
Feb. 25, 2014-ongoing Audit your local government’s website
Watchdog Wire
Watchdog Wire is asking you, citizen watchdogs, to audit your city, county or township website. Can you access budgets on your county website or find contact information for all public officials? Are meeting minutes available? Is there a database of all public spending? It’s easy to audit your city or county website. Click here to get started!.
March 4, 2014 Student Infographic Contest
New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
New Mexico State University is holding an infographic contest for students to mark Sunshine Week, using the state’s Open Meetings Act or Inspection of Public Records Act as inspiration. Deadline for entries is March 4, and winners will be announced at a public ceremony March 20. The contest is sponsored by NMSU alumnus Tim Parker, the NMSU Library and the NMSU Department of Journalism & Mass Communications. More information is online here.
March 11, 2014 Open Government and Freedom of Information: Reinvigorating the Freedom of Information Act for the Digital Age
U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on open government and freedom of information at 10:15 a.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington. For a list of witnesses and to listen to a webcast of the hearing, go to the Judiciary Committee website.
March 12, 2014 Missouri’s Sunshine Law: Shining a Light on Government
Columbia Public Library, Columbia, Mo
Speaker Nathan Nickolaus, a former municipal attorney and author of “The Sunshine Law,” will discuss the specific provisions of the Missouri’s Sunshine Law and how well it works. Co-sponsored by the Columbia Public Library, the Missouri Sunshine Coalition and the League of Women Voters, this forum will cover some recent cases in which the public has benefited from open government and ponder the question of whether closed meetings are ever justified. Nickolaus’ talk will be followed by an open Q/A discussion. For more information, see the library’s website.
March 14, 2014 National Freedom of Information Day
The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, Washington
The 16th annual National Freedom of Information Day will be held March 14 at the Newseum’s Knight Conference Center in Washington, D.C. Hosted by the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, the day will feature panel discussions and speakers, including a look at media leaks past and present co-sponsored by and the Sunshine in Government Initiative. The American Library Association will also present its annual James Madison Award. Register online here.
March 14, 2014 Second Annual FOIA Fest
Chicago Headline Club
The Chicago Headline Club will host its second annual FOIA Fest, a full day of programming including the results of a study of FOIA mediation, hands-on workshops on how to file a FOIA request, and how to work with documents and data. FOIA Fest will be held at Loyola University in Chicago from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information and free registration, click here.
March 15, 2014 Oklahoma Sunshine Conference
FOI Oklahoma, Oklahoma City
FOI Oklahoma will hold its 2014 Sunshine Conference on March 15 at the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library in Oklahoma City. Speakers will include a former FBO agent, state legislators and representatives from the state attorney general’s office. Winners of the Marian Opala First Amendment Award and FOI awards will also be recognized. For more information, see the FOI Oklahoma website.
March 17, 2014 Sunshine Week 2014 Celebration
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington
The Justice Department will mark Sunshine Week 2014 with a program at its Washington headquarters noting the advances federal agencies have made in FOIA administration, as well as marking the fifth anniversary of the attorney general’s FOIA Guidelines issued during Sunshine Week 2009. The event from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the DOJ Robert F. Kennedy Building is free and open to the public and agency personnel. Photo ID is required for admission to the building. For more information and to register, see the DOJ announcement online.
March 17, 2014 Panel Discussion: Public Records and Data
Georgetown University Master’s in Journalism program and the Georgetown chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists
The Georgetown Master’s in Journalism program and the Georgetown chapter of SPJ are hosting a Sunshine Week panel discussion with reporters and faculty about public records and data at Georgetown Downtown in Washington, beginning at 6 p.m. Use this link to RSVP before 5 p.m. March 16. Light refreshments will be served.
March 17, 2014 Open Government and Civic Technology Meetup
Open Austin, Texas
Open Austin will host a meetup from 6:45-8:45 p.m. at the Terrazas Branch Library in Austin, Texas, to discuss “Public Information in the Age of Open Data.” Sherri Greenberg, director of the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas has been invited to speak. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, go to the Open Austin website or email
March 17, 2014 Celebrate Sunshine Week
Society of Professional Journalists Virginia Pro Chapter, Richmond
To mark Sunshine Week, SPJVA will host Repoters Committee Legal Fellow Emily Grannis in a demonstration of the iFOIA system for electronically filing and tracking information requests. The group also will get a legislative update from SPJ Secretary-Treasurer Paul Fletcher. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. in Richmond. See the SPJVA website for details and RSVP.
March 18, 2014 Seventh Annual FOI Day Celebration
Collaboration on Government Secrecy, Washington College of Law, American University, Washington
The Collaboration on Government Secrecy will hold its annual Freedom of Information Day Celebration with panel discussions and presentation of the Robert Vaughn FOIA Legend Award to former NBC News legal reporter and former Department of Justice Director of Public Affairs Carl Stern, who also will give the keynote address. View a PDF of the agenda, and find more details on the CGS website.
March 18, 2014 Lifting the Veil on the FISA Court
The Constitution Project and the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia
The Constitution Project and the National Constitution Center will host a panel discussion from 12-1:30 p.m. in Philadelphia that examines the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and how to balance national security with privacy. For details, go to The Constitution Project website.
March 18, 2014 “Data Transparency in Financial Regulation”
Data Transparency Coalition, Washington, D.C.
Commissioners from the SEC and CFTC will headline a breakfast on the adoption of data standards and transparency in financial regulation. A panel will also convene representatives from the U.S. Treasury Department, the FDIC, and FINRA. Registration for the breakfast, which runs from 7:30-9 a.m. at the 1776 tech incubator, is available at The breakfast is being hosted by the Data Transparency Coalition with support from PwC.
March 18, 2014 Unlocking Government Data
National Press Club Freedom of Information Committee, Sunlight Foundation, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington,, ProPublica and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Washington
Open-government groups are hosting a panel discussion from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington titled “Partly Cloudy: Why ‘Public Information’ Doesn’t Always = Accessible Information” that will look at tools for accessing government data. Admission is free, but registration is required. Find more event and registration information on the Press Club website.
March 18, 2014 Open Meetings, Public Records
New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, Santa Fe
NMFOG Executive Director Susan Boe and board members Ray Rivera, editor of the Santa Fe New Mexican, and Daniel Yohalem, a Santa Fe attorney, will discuss open meetings and public records issues at 6 p.m. at Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe. The event is free and open to the public. More information about NMFOG can be found on its website.
March 19, 2014 The Future of FOIA
Advisory Committee on Transparency and the Sunlight Foundation, Washington
A panel discussion assessing efforts to ensure that the Freedom of Information Act remains an effective tool for government transparency in the future will be hosted by the Advisory Committee on Transparency and the Sunlight Foundation from 2-3:30 p.m. in room 2203 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington. Details and RSVP are online here.
March 19, 2014 Mining Emails: Unearthing Scandals at the Statehouse
Ball State University, Departments of Journalism and Telecommunications, Muncie
Ball State University’s Departments of Journalism and Telecommunications will host a professionals-in-residence program with AP Correspondent Tom LoBiano and Indiana Public Access Counselor Luke Britt, who will discuss how stories developed from access to email of the former superintendent of public instruction led to his downfall. The program runs from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in room AJ175. See the promotional poster for more details.
March 19, 2014 D.C. Open Government Summit
D.C. Open Government Coalition, Washington
The D.C. Open Government Coalition will hold its third annual D.C. Open Government Summit focusing on open government in neighborhoods and communities. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the National Press Club and is cosponsored by the National Press Club’s Freedom of the Press Committee, the D.C. Professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the American University School of Communication. For more details and registration information as it becomes available, check the D.C. Open Government coalition website.
March 19, 2014 Panel: Do government press offices interfere with reporting?
Education Writers Association, National Press Club and Society of Professional Journalists
The National Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists will host a 1:30 p.m. panel discussion on the results of an SPJ-sponsored survey of state and federal reporters’ perceptions of government press office interference with reporting. The panel also will examine a survey of education writers, co-sponsored by SPJ and the Education Writers Association. More information and registration is on the Press Club website.
March 19, 2014 Panel: DC Transparency Crisis: Big Government and Big Secrecy
Judicial Watch
Panelists include Mark Tapscott, Executive Editor of the Washington Examiner; Christopher C. Horner, Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute; and Daniel Epstein, Executive Director at Cause of Action. The panel will be from 2-3:30 p.m. at Judicial Watch’s Washington office. Click here for more information.
March 19, 2014 Wanted: Open Government, By Order of The Citizens (CANCELED)
Shreve Memorial Library, Shreveport, La.
The Shreve Memorial Library will host a panel discussion at Cohab in Shreveport from 7-8:30 p.m. Panelists will talk about government transparency and open government in Louisiana, as well as their own experiences with public records. For more information, see the promotional poster (PDF) or contact the library.
March 19, 2014 Transparency Tweet-up
WatchdogWire and the Center for Responsive Politics
@WatchdogWire and @OpenSecretsDC will host a Tweet-up at 12 p.m. (Eastern). Participants who want to talk transparency on Twitter should use the hashtag #WDWTU.
March 19, 2014 Panel: How to Get Your Hands on Public Records
Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition
Joel Dyer, Boulder Weekly; David Migoya, The Denver Post; Keli Rabon, 7NEWS; and Steve Zansberg, Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, will share stories and practical tips for successfully obtaining the public records you want. The event is free and open to the public, but space and handouts are limited. From 6:30 to 8 p.m. at KUSA-TV (Studio B). More information here.
March 20, 2014 Threats to Transparency: Problems with Money in Politics
Center for Responsive Politics
Lobbying disclosure, campaign finance disclosure and dark money will be discussed by panelists at the Center for Responsive Politics’ event at the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C. The program will be held from 2-5 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Registration information is available here.
March 20, 2014 Sunshine Week Seminar
Lee County Clerk of Court, Florida
Lee County Clerk of Court Linda Doggett is hosting a free two-hour seminar on “The Value of Searching Public Records and Online Services” to teach people how to find information on the clerk’s website. For more information and to register, go to the Clerk of Court website.
March 20, 2014 Civil Liberties Dead Zone: Do First and Fourth Amendment Rights Not Apply at the Border?
National Press Club Freedom of the Press Committee
A 6:30 p.m. panel discussion hosted by the National Press Club Freedom of the Press Committee will examine known cases of media workers and journalists who have been interrogated at the U.S. border by Homeland Security Department officials, who have demanded access to laptops, thumb drives and other digital devices. The event is free to NPC members and $5 for the public. More information and registration information is on the Press Club website.
March 20, 2014 Open Government Forum
New Mexico Foundation for Open Government
NMFOG Executive Director Susan Boe will talk about open government at a 7 p.m. forum at Bookworks bookstore in Albuquerque. The event is free and open to the public. For more information about NMFOG, visit its website.
March 20, 2014 James Madison Freedom of Information Awards
Northern California Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists
The Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will present its 2014 James Madison Freedom of Information Awards to student and professional journalists who have fought for transparency in the past year. Also honored will be former San Francisco Chronicle Editor Peter Sussman, who will receive the Norwin S. Yoffie Award for Career Achievement. For more information, see the SPJ-NorCal website.
March 20, 2014 Pre-release screening: “The Unknown Known”
Sunlight Foundation and Project on Government Oversight
To celebrate Sunshine Week, the Sunlight Foundation and the Project on Government Oversight are hosting a pre-release screening in Washington of the film “The Unknown Known,” by Academy Award-winning director Errol Morris. A panel discussion will follow. Doors for the free event open at 6:30 p.m., and the film begins promptly at 7 p.m. Seating is on a first-come basis, and registration, available online here, does not guarantee entry. The screening is courtesy of Participant Media and RADiUS-TWC.
March 20, 2014 Examining the Road Forward after Five Years of Work
FOIA IT Working Group, Office of Information Policy, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington
The Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy will host a meeting of the FOIA IT Working group to discuss how digital tools can help agencies better administer FOIA requests and to highlight some best practices. The meeting from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. is open to all agency FOIA professionals, interested agency technology specialists, and members of the public. For more information, see OIP’s online announcement.
March 20, 2014 Managing Public Records Requests
Code for America’s Peer Network, San Francisco
This free webinar will take a deep dive into the public records request process to examine the ins and outs of effectively tracking, routing and responding to citizen requests for public information. John Kaehny will be talking about the work of Reinvent Albany, and Karen Boyd will share a case study of how the City of Oakland has evolved their approach to open public records; why open data can save your organization time and money when responding to records request; and how technology can be used to help streamline the process for citizens and city employees alike. More information here.
March 20, 2014 Sunshine and JFK: The Latest on Secrecy and Assassination-Related Records
JFK Facts, Committee for an Open Archive, Assassination Archive and Research Center and the Mary Ferrell Foundation
A panel of experts will talk about the secrecy that surrounds records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Topics include the 1992 JFK Records Act, an audio analysis of audio recording from Air Force One, assassination-related records that have never been seen by the public, and new and ongoing litigation against the CIA and Defense Department related to JFK’s death. The briefing will take place at the Mott House in Washington from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. For more information, see the JFK Facts website.
March 21, 2014 Supreme Sunshine: Shining a Light on the High Court
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Washington
A panel of legal experts, moderated by Slate Supreme Court reporter Dahlia Lithwick, will examine transparency, or lack thereof, in the U.S. Supreme Court at this breakfast panel discussion beginning at 9:30 a.m. at NYU Washington. The event is free and open to the public, and those attending will have the opportunity to participate in “The SCOTUS Booth of Truth” where they can record a short video with their thoughts on transparency at the Court. To register, or to watch the event live online, go to the NYU Washington website.
March 21, 2014 Screening: “JFK: A President Betrayed”
JFK Vigil, Washington, D.C.
JFK Vigil will host a video screening of “JFK: A President Betrayed” at the Goethe-Institut in Washington, D.C. The film will be followed by a discussion of how “constitutional activism” can help expedite release of assassination-related records still classified. Suggested donation for the event is $10. Click here for more information and to register.
March 22, 2014 Community Journalism: Investigative Reporting
Access Humboldt
Presented by KMUD Radio News Director Terri Klemetson, this workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. covers ethics, story composition and recording techniques, as well as the Public Records Act and FOIA requests. Participants are challenged to use social media for modern investigations. For more information, go to this page.
March 22, 2014 Sunshine Week Potluck Mixer
Access Humboldt
Come celebrate Sunshine Week with a potluck mixer from 1 to 3 p.m. and talk about community media, open government and your right for information! Don’t forget to bring your home made dish or store bought treat. More information here.
March 22, 2014 Community Journalism: Emergency and Disaster Reporting
Access Humboldt
Presented by KMUD Radio News Director Terri Klemetson, this workshop from 3 to 6 p.m. exposes reporters to all disaster scenarios and reporting techniques used during emergency situations. It will discuss disaster reporting, agency interaction, mapping & technology tools and team building for success. For more information, go to this page.
March 23, 2014 2014 Sunshine Week Seminar
New Jersey Foundation for Open Government
NJFOG will host two panels during its annual Sunshine Week seminar at the Clementon Community Center from 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Cost is $10 online and $15 at the door, which covers lunch and refreshments. Students with a valid ID can attend for $3. For more information and to sign up, go to the NJFOG website.
March 26, 2014 Sunshine Law Events
Hofstra University and the Press Club of Long Island
Hofstra University and the Press Club of Long Island, a chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, will host a discussion about the importance of understanding and preserving open government. The event from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Hofstra is free and open to the public, but registration is required. For more information and registration, see the online notice.
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