Sunshine Week shines: Here’s a journalism win that’s had a lasting impact

I suspect in a lot of newsrooms there’s a good bit of groaning as Sunshine Week nears. We know the message is important — open government is the cornerstone of democracy — but how do you build a captivating news story out of that?

In late 2009, after the umpteenth time I had banged my head against the brick wall known as North Carolina’s Personnel Law, it dawned on me that Sunshine Week could be a vehicle for meaningful reform. As a reporter for The (Raleigh) News & Observer, I would draw a bead on a law that allowed public employee misconduct to remain secret, kept patronage and nepotism in the shadows, and hid undeserved raises and perks. I would show that North Carolina was an outlier in keeping much of this information under wraps. (Read more here…)