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Sunshine Week

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NEWS
March 13, 2006
This week, media across the country are jointly shining light on open government issues in what has become known as Sunshine Week. The Herald-Mail participated Sunday and is taking part again today. Members of the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association - including The Herald-Mail - have agreed to share their open government stories with each other this week, to reach as many people as possible. To learn how to file a Freedom of Information Act request, go to www.herald-mail.
NEWS
by BOB MAGINNIS | March 13, 2005
When Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich barred all state employees from talking to two writers for The (Baltimore) Sun last fall, many citizens assumed that this was a fight between the press and the government. It's much more than that. It's an effort by an elected official to control who covers his administration. And the message is clear: Those who ask the tough questions or take him to task will be excluded. If Ehrlich's order were an isolated incident, that would be one thing.
NEWS
March 12, 2006
Starting today, media across the country are jointly shining light on open government issues in what has become known as Sunshine Week. The Herald-Mail is participating today and Monday. Members of the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association, including The Herald-Mail, have agreed to share their open government stories with each other this week, to reach as many people as possible. To learn how to file a Freedom of Information Act request, go to www.herald-mail.com . To read more about the nationwide project, go to www.sunshineweek.
NEWS
March 11, 2007
What it is? Sunshine Week is a national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include print, broadcast and online news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public's right to know. The Florida Society of Newspaper Editors (FSNE) launched Sunshine Sunday in 2002 in response to efforts by some Florida legislators to create scores of new exemptions to the state's public records law. FSNE estimates that some 300 exemptions to open government laws were defeated in the legislative sessions that followed its three Sunshine Sundays because of the increased public and legislative awareness that resulted from the Sunshine Sunday reports and commentary.
NEWS
March 13, 2005
Tom Curley, The Associated Press' president and chief executive officer, discusses the Sunshine Week initiative involving media groups, universities and the American Library Association. More questions and answers appeared in Sunday's Herald-Mail. Q: Does the enactment of privacy laws in the U.S. hinder FOI access by news organizations? A: Absolutely. HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) and related efforts have affected far more than media.
NEWS
By Bob Maginnis | March 12, 2006
If you strive to be a good journalist, you try to see things from the point of view of the people you're interviewing. And so, yes, I understand that in many cases, government officials would rather not tell citizens - and the press - everything that they're doing. For example, if you're a county official who wants to dismiss a department head, but you don't have a really good reason to do so, you might not want to the public to know how much you're paying him or her to just go away quietly.
NEWS
by JIM LEE / Carroll County Times | March 11, 2007
January's audit of Maryland emergency management offices marks the third time in seven years that government agencies have performed poorly when it comes to responding to requests for public information. In 2000, auditors organized by the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association were denied 50 percent of the time when they asked county offices for several common records, including nursing home inspection reports, the school superintendent's contract and routine police logs. In 2003, the press association sent out auditors to 15 state agencies.
NEWS
by ANDREW SCHOTZ | March 14, 2005
Editor's note: Across the country, newspapers and other media outlets and organizations are participating in Sunshine Week, a celebration and examination of freedom of information. The special week began Sunday. This is part two in a two-part series. andrews@herald-mail.com WASHINGTON COUNTY - The media aren't the only watchdogs and information seekers. In fact, the bulk of the public information requests to the City of Hagerstown, Washington County government and Washington County Board of Education in 2004 were from private citizens, businesses, other government departments and assorted organizations.
NEWS
by JIM LEE / Carroll County Times | March 11, 2007
In Kent County, people can find out in a matter of minutes how their officials would react in the event of an emergency. In Wicomico County, people asking for the same documents are told releasing the information is against county policy. Across the state, auditors asking for their community's Comprehensive Emergency Response Plan - a document that by federal law should readily be available to the public - were met with distrust, disorganization and denials. Of 23 Maryland jurisdictions surveyed, only six auditors were able to immediately obtain the document.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
March 14, 2008
On Monday, Mar. 16, The Herald-Mail will join newspapers and broadcasters across the nation in celebrating "Sunshine Week," which is designed to develop public support for open government. Newspapers and other news-gathering organizations need the public's support because, all too often, government tends to view the search for information as just the media's curiosity, as opposed to the people's right to know. But before detailing the progress that still needs to be achieved, it's appropriate to take notice of the recent progress that has been made.
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NEWS
by BILL KOHLER | March 18, 2007
I realize that for many people this week is one of March madness and dreams of Spring. This week past also should be noted because it was Sunshine Week, a nationwide effort by the newspaper industry to increase access to public information and to generally increase the flow of information in our country. I'm not going to pretend to be an expert or an authority on the subject. There are ombudsmen at big papers and a lot of attorneys at newspaper associations who fill that bill.
NEWS
by JIM LEE / Carroll County Times | March 11, 2007
January's audit of Maryland emergency management offices marks the third time in seven years that government agencies have performed poorly when it comes to responding to requests for public information. In 2000, auditors organized by the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association were denied 50 percent of the time when they asked county offices for several common records, including nursing home inspection reports, the school superintendent's contract and routine police logs. In 2003, the press association sent out auditors to 15 state agencies.
NEWS
March 11, 2007
What it is? Sunshine Week is a national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include print, broadcast and online news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public's right to know. The Florida Society of Newspaper Editors (FSNE) launched Sunshine Sunday in 2002 in response to efforts by some Florida legislators to create scores of new exemptions to the state's public records law. FSNE estimates that some 300 exemptions to open government laws were defeated in the legislative sessions that followed its three Sunshine Sundays because of the increased public and legislative awareness that resulted from the Sunshine Sunday reports and commentary.
NEWS
by JIM LEE / Carroll County Times | March 11, 2007
In Kent County, people can find out in a matter of minutes how their officials would react in the event of an emergency. In Wicomico County, people asking for the same documents are told releasing the information is against county policy. Across the state, auditors asking for their community's Comprehensive Emergency Response Plan - a document that by federal law should readily be available to the public - were met with distrust, disorganization and denials. Of 23 Maryland jurisdictions surveyed, only six auditors were able to immediately obtain the document.
NEWS
March 13, 2006
This week, media across the country are jointly shining light on open government issues in what has become known as Sunshine Week. The Herald-Mail participated Sunday and is taking part again today. Members of the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association - including The Herald-Mail - have agreed to share their open government stories with each other this week, to reach as many people as possible. To learn how to file a Freedom of Information Act request, go to www.herald-mail.
NEWS
By Bob Maginnis | March 12, 2006
If you strive to be a good journalist, you try to see things from the point of view of the people you're interviewing. And so, yes, I understand that in many cases, government officials would rather not tell citizens - and the press - everything that they're doing. For example, if you're a county official who wants to dismiss a department head, but you don't have a really good reason to do so, you might not want to the public to know how much you're paying him or her to just go away quietly.
NEWS
March 12, 2006
Starting today, media across the country are jointly shining light on open government issues in what has become known as Sunshine Week. The Herald-Mail is participating today and Monday. Members of the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association, including The Herald-Mail, have agreed to share their open government stories with each other this week, to reach as many people as possible. To learn how to file a Freedom of Information Act request, go to www.herald-mail.com . To read more about the nationwide project, go to www.sunshineweek.
NEWS
by ANDREW SCHOTZ | March 22, 2005
Editor's note: Across the country, newspapers and other media outlets and organizations are participating in Sunshine Week, a celebration and examination of freedom of information. Today is Sunshine Sunday. Monday: A sample of who asked for public records locally last year and why. andrews@herald-mail.com James Madison once said, "A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps both.
NEWS
by ANDREW SCHOTZ | March 14, 2005
Editor's note: Across the country, newspapers and other media outlets and organizations are participating in Sunshine Week, a celebration and examination of freedom of information. The special week began Sunday. This is part two in a two-part series. andrews@herald-mail.com WASHINGTON COUNTY - The media aren't the only watchdogs and information seekers. In fact, the bulk of the public information requests to the City of Hagerstown, Washington County government and Washington County Board of Education in 2004 were from private citizens, businesses, other government departments and assorted organizations.
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