Sunshine Week offers teachers opportunity to teach watchdog journalism
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Knowing how to access information, such as public records, is a critical component of news literacy and an important role of journalists.
Started by the American Society of News Editors in 2005, Sunshine Week, March 13-19, provides the perfect opportunity for educators to address the Freedom of Information Act, Sunshine Laws, open government and watchdog journalism in the classroom.
The federal Freedom of Information Act was enacted on July 4, 1966, and guarantees that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records, with a few specific exceptions.
Sunshine Laws also operate at the state level and guarantee the public access to view state government’s official actions, including but not limited to meetings, records, votes and deliberations. Each state has its own Sunshine Laws.
SchoolJournalism.org provides numerous lesson plans and resources for classroom activities during Sunshine Week. Teachers can also find a free toolkit for student media and classroom use at SunshineWeek.org.
Sunshineweek.org provides teaching resources, including examples of how journalists have used public records to shed light on important issues in their communities.
More resources for educators: