Sunshine Week — open government awareness

The annual nationwide Sunshine Week is celebrated this year from March 15 – 21. USA newspapers publish stories about public records and the difficulty in obtaining some of them. “Public records” are generally defined as records regardless of their physical form (so email would be included) made or received in connection with the transaction of official business by any government agency.

This week, newspapers judge government agencies on their compliance with public records laws. They will publish their findings from experiments they have done, such as submitting the identical request for records to various agencies and evaluating the response from each.

Public records have an impact on a reporter’s paycheck because they form the backbone of many stories that newspapers sell. If you peruse any newspaper article, at least part of the article will probably be from a public record. Therefore, public records are very important to reporters. That’s the reason reporters cozy up to the PIOs (public information officers) at government agencies. Continue>>>