Sunshine Week 2010 to honor local heroes

The following is a statement issued by ASNE, the sponsors of the yearly effort known as Sunshine Week (March 14-20). If you know of a Virginia "local hero," please pass that information on to VCOG at

Next year's national Sunshine Week (March 14-20) will highlight local heroes across America who have played significant roles in fighting for open government, the American Society of News Editors announced Friday.

"There are a lot of unsung heroes in the battle for freedom of information, and we plan to use next year's Sunshine Week to bring attention to those who have fought tirelessly for open government," said ASNE President Marty Kaiser.

Sunshine Week was started in March of 2005 as a way to create a national dialogue about the public's right to know.

Although spearheaded by ASNE, participation has quickly grown beyond newspapers and journalism groups to include students, teachers, private citizens, librarians, civic leaders, public officials, bloggers and a variety of nonprofit groups and associations. Sunshine Week also has expanded outside the boundaries of the United States to include participation in a variety of other countries.

Sunshine Week is funded primarily by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation of Miami. Sunshine Week also has received major organizational support from the National Freedom of Information Coalition, the Society of Professional Journalists and others who have partnered to ensure that it thrives and grows.

In the coming weeks, Sunshine Week organizers will begin distributing materials explaining a variety of ways for participants to select and celebrate local heroes in their communities and states.

"They might include the average citizen who forced elected officials to open their meetings to the public," said Kaiser, "or perhaps a homeowner who used freedom of information laws to reveal environmental dangers in his neighborhood. A 'local hero' could even be a civic group or an association that pushed for 'sunshine laws that shed more light into the dark corners of government."

"We know that society operates more honestly and efficiently when it is most transparent," he added.

ASNE is a leader in the fight for freedom of information. Founded in 1922, it represents editors at news organizations throughout the nation.

FOR MORE INFORMATION about Sunshine Week, visit Or, contact Cristal Williams Chancellor at or 703-453-1138.

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