Sunshine Week arrives next week, Courier readers, and it has nothing to do with the return of Daylight Savings Time.
If introductions are in order, here's one: Sunshine Week is an annual nationwide effort to promote the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know.
Since the American Society of Newspaper Editors launched Sunshine Week in 2005, it has been all about the right of Americans to know what their government is doing – and why.
As editor of The Harvey County Independent in Kansas that first year, I welcomed the scrappy crusade to give Sunshine Week’s message a home on newspaper opinion pages across the United States. A nice home it had in The Independent back then, as is it does now in The Courier that you’re holding or reading online.
Sunshine Week has evolved from a start-up endeavor into a fixture on the March calendar, but its purpose and need are as critical as ever. Consider this: The honesty and “transparency” – such a politically abused word these days – of the Obama adminisrtration might be as questioned/criticized now as was that of the Bush administration when Sunshine Week was born. The two presidents aren't exactly political buds, but there is a very, well, transparent similarity here.
New Mexico newspaper veteran Kathi Bearden wrote the column below for Sunshine Week 2014, but her message about open government affects us all – from Glasgow to Helena to Washington,D.C.
The Glasgow Courier supports Sunshine Week. We are fortunate to live in a country where it can, despite the challenges, exist.
– Jim Orr, publisher, The Courier