Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sunshine week and the celebration of open records

 Happy Sunshine Week everyone!

In honor of Sunshine Week (and supporting open records in general,) a group of local, experienced reporters and editors have formed a Freedom of Information committee and are in the process of dreaming up ideas to better help you and everyone you know understand more about open records.

Just in time for Sunshine Week, a national effort to educate the public on the importance of open records, a local editor has created a state open records blog that will hopefully help you learn more about public records, make FOI requests and hold your public officials accountable.

Creator of the open records blog and the Middletown Press editor Viktoria Sundqvist said it best:

As most reporters know, anyone in Connecticut can walk into a government office and ask to see a copy of a public document. But not every member of the public knows that. And not everyone knows what constitutes a public document, or what agency to approach to get it.

In honor of Sunshine Week this week, staff from the New Haven Register, The Middletown Press and The Register Citizen have formed an informal Freedom of Information Committee, which will work to help staff and the public get better at accessing open records.

Here are some blog highlights:

* We will create a spreadsheet where every FOI request a reporter or editor makes will be entered so they can be tracked. This will be viewable by the public

* We will rate towns and agencies with "sunshines"

* Classes in FOI and open records will be offered to staff and the public

Committee members include Middletown Press Editor Viktoria Sundqvist (@vsundqvist), Register Citizen reporter Ricky Campbell (@RickyCampbellRC), New Haven Register Community Engagement Editor Angi Carter (@ReachAngi), New Haven Register reporter Alex Sanders (@ASanders88), New Haven Register sports reporter Chris Hunn (@Chris_Hunn), Investigations Editor Michelle Tuccitto Sullo (@NHRinvestigate), Topics Editor Mary O’Leary (@nhrmoleary), Asst. Managing Editor for Disruption Chris March (@LouderCMarch) and Graphics Mastermind Ann Dallas (@NHRdallas).

If you have any questions, suggestions or issues related to FOI, you can email the entire group here at

So, everyone go get your FOIing on, and together, we can make the world a more public place!

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