Sunshine Week Events 2015

Below are some of the Sunshine Week events that were held in 2015.

Jan. 22, 2015 Sunshine Week Town Hall, Washington, D.C. 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 3-27, 2015 Art Exhibit: “REDACTED: Transparency, Democracy and Nuclear Power”
Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility
The Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility has developed an art exhibit utilizing redacted pages from its documents request for information regarding the Fukushima nuclear reactor. Sharing space at the Steynberg Gallery in San Luis Obispo is the work of New Times editorial cartoonist Russell Hodin. More information about the exhibit and images from the exhibit are on the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility website.
March 5, 2015 The Role of the Press in Transparent Governing
League of Women Voters Pasadena Area
News media and public officials will join a panel hosted by the League of Women Voters Pasadena (Calif.) Area to discuss the public’s right to know what it’s government is doing, and why. For more information and to register, visit the League’s website.
March 11, 2015 Sunshine Week Proclamation
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad
Iowa Gov. Branstad is slated to sign a Sunshine Week proclamation at 11 a.m. at the State Capitol, Governor’s Formal Office, in Des Moines. The announcement is on the governor’s 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,, American Library Association
The Newseum Institute, 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 14, 2015 Let the Sunshine In: Statewide Open Government Conference
Washington Coalition for Open Government
EWCOG will host a daylong conference starting at 9 a.m. at the Allenmore Event Center in Tacoma covering various open government issues, including using the public records act, public officials’ use of electronic devices and police body cams. More information and registration details are on the WCOG website.
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 15-21, 2015 #ShareYourSunshine Photo Contest
New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, the Albuquerque Journal
Having some fun with “sunshine” while raising awareness about open government, the NMFOG and Albuquerque Journal are hosting a Sunshine Week photo contest with cash prizes that is asking people to submit their favorite photos of New Mexico sunshine. Photos can be posted to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with #ShareYourSunshine. For more information, visit the NMFOG website.
March 15, 2015 Sunshine Week Story Package
Florida Society of News Editors
FSNE will launch a package of Sunshine Week stories — including local and state audits, access to electronic court records, threats to open government in Florida, the state of “gotcha” requests and legislation, local FOI heroes, and more. For more information, visit the FSNE website.
March 15, 2015 Sunshine Week Rally
The Tennessean, Nashville
The Tennessean will celebrate Sunshine Week with a rally for open government at Legislative Plaza on Sunday, March 15 from 2-4 p.m. Details about the event, which will bring the public together to “listen to speeches and music, and celebrate the spirit of openness” are on The Tennessean website.
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 16, 2015 Delving into the FOIA
Association for Women in Communications, D.C. Chapter
Panelists at the AWC-DC Sunshine Week event will discuss how anyone can use the Freedom of Information Act to access public documents. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library, Meeting Room in Washington from 6:30-8 p.m. For more information and to register, see AWC-DC’s online invitation.
March 16, 2015 Open House
Town of Carolina Shores, N.C.
To celebrate Sunshine Week and open government, the town of Carolina Shores is hosting an Open House at Town Hall from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., during which the public can tour government offices and learn more about access and freedom of information. More information is posted online.
March 16, 2015 Sunshine Day 2015
North Carolina Coalition for Open Government
The North Carolina Coalition for Open Government will celebrate open government on Sunshine Day with a public records training program, discussions about transparency in the justice system. During the day’s luncheon program, the group will present its first awards and hear a keynote address by the state’s attorney general. More information can be found on the North Carolina Coalition for Open Government website.
March 16, 2015 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.
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, D.C. Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, National Press Club Freedom of the Press Committee
At 6 p.m. the National Press Club Freedom of the Press Committee, DCOGC and D.C. Pro Chapter of SPJ will host a discussion at the NPC about transparency priorities for the new mayor’s administration with government officials and open government advocates. The event is free and open to the public, although registration is requested via the NPC website.
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 17, 2015 The Best and Worst of WNC’s Open Government
Carolina Public Press
As part of its Newsmaker series, Carolina Public Press will hold a free, public forum with journalists and open government experts, which will include a discussion of an investigative report on how often and why county commissions adjourn into closed meetings. The event will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Jackson County Public Library. For more information, visit the Carolina Public Press website.
March 17, 2015 Why do we need sun? What happens when it doesn’t shine?
New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, League of Women Voters of Santa Fe County
NMFOG and the League of Women Voters of Santa Fe County will host a discussion of the Interstate Stream Commission and its decisions regarding the Gila River. The case study discussion will be held from 5-7 p.m. at CHRISTUS St. Vincent Southwest Conference Room. For more information and registration, see the NMGOG website.
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 18, 2015 Following the Money
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
The USPIRG’s annual “Following the Money” report will be released during Sunshine Week. The report, which grades all 50 states on how comprehensive and accessible their budget transparency websites are, will be posted to the USPIRG website.
March 18, 2015 The thin blue thick black line: Getting information from criminal justice records
Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition
The CoFOIC is hosting a free panel discussion with journalists and attorneys about accessing criminal justice information. The event, from 7-8:30 p.m. at KUSA-TV in Denver, is co-hosted by KUSA-TV and Colorado Press Women. More information and a registration form are on the CoFOIC website.
March 18, 2015 Defenseless kids, powerless pets and dreadful demons: Investigative reporting that gets noticed
Ball State University Departments of Journalism and Telecommunications
Maria Kwiatkowski and John Russell of The Indianapolis Star will lead a discussion about investigative reporting as part of the Professionals-in-Residence Series at Ball State’s Departments of Journalism and Telecommunications. The on-campus event will be in room AJ 175 from 7:30-8:30. Click here to see the event poster (PDF).
March 18, 2015 Celebrating Sunshine Week 2015: Shining Light on U.S. Extractive Industries & U.S. Foreign Assistance
U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of the Interior, General Services Administration 18F, and General Assembly
From noon-2 p.m. at the General Assembly office in Washington, representatives from the Departments of State and Interior and GSA will provide overviews and demonstrations of two open data websites: the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative’s data portal with information on natural resource revenue, and which has information on foreign assistance funding by amount, country, and sector. Additional information and registration can be found online.
March 18, 2015 Sunshine Week Panel Discussion
Georgetown University Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists
The Georgetown University SPJ chapter will mark Sunshine Week with a discussion about public records and data with Robert Benincasa of NPR. Details and a registration form are online here.
March 18, 2015 Boston Sunshine Week Open Gov Meetup
MuckRock is hosting a meetup at Firebrand Saints from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Come for “great conversation with fellow FOIA fiends” and for live-filing records requests with MuckRock, which will give out free requests to the best ideas. For more information and to RSVP, visit the MuckRock website.
March 18, 2015 Open Doors: Freedom of Information Panel Discussion and Workshop
St. Louis Public Library
The Central Library’s Carnegie Room will be the site of a panel discussion and workshop on access to information and what it means to the public, as well as a viewing of works by a local printmaker. For more information, visit the St. Louis Public Library website.
March 18, 2015 Open Government Open House
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
HUD will hold an open house in its cafeteria from 12-2 p.m. to educate employees about open government. In addition, working with the Government Accountability Project, information about whistleblower rights and remedies will be available. Information is included on this HUD flier (PDF).
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 19, 2015 Open House
Iowa Public Information Board
To celebrate Sunshine Week, the Iowa Public Information Board will hold an Open House from 12-1 p.m. at its offices on the third floor of the Wallace Building on the Capitol Grounds. More information about the event at IPIB is covered by The Informer.
March 19, 2015 Window, Wall and Sunshine Awards
San Diego Society of Professional Journalists
The San Diego Society of Professional Journalists will celebrate the best — and the worst — in open government with its Window, Wall and Sunshine Awards, to be presented March 19 at 6 p.m. at Bamboo Lounge in San Diego. To see the winners and find information about attending, go to the San Diego SPJ website.
March 19, 2015 Open government workshop
Richmond County (N.C.) Daily Journal and N.C. Open Government Coalition
An hour-long workshop to promote understanding of North Carolina’s public records and open meetings laws will be held at Richmond Community College. Workshop leaders will be Jonathan Jones, director of the Sunshine Center of the N.C. Open Government Coalition at Elon University, and Richmond County Daily Journal editor Corey Friedman. More information can be found on the Daily Journal website.
March 20, 2015 Full Dislcosure: Essential Tools in the Pursuit of Public Information
Carolina Public Press
Carolina Public Press will offer a workshops for journalists, students, community organizations, elected officials and residents about understanding public records laws and data. The two training sessions conducted by a journalist and a media lawyer will be held at the Carolina Public Press training room Asheville. For details and ticket information, see the Carolina Public Press website.
March 20, 2015 ACF Grant Applications: How to ask, what is disclosed
Administration for Children & Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
ACF will host its second FOIA requester workshop for Sunshine Week from 12-1:30 p.m. with a look at information from grant applications. More information is coming soon to the ACF website.
March 24, 2015 Digital Transparency in Government: What We Have and What We Need
Indiana Coalition for Open Government and the Indiana Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists
This panel discussion with policymakers, academics and journalists, hosted by ICOG and SPJ, will include an examination of the current state of open government, the Indiana Transparency Portal, public data requests and local government transparency. The free event will be held at the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis. More information and registration details are online here.
March 31, 2015 Searching Public Records Using
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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