Tom Brokaw, Ben Bradlee and Judy Woodruff will make the case for open government in public service announcements produced by the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation for Sunshine Week, March 11-17. The 30-second messages will be distributed to television and radio stations across the country to highlight the importance of protecting public access to […]
Tom Brokaw, Ben Bradlee and Judy Woodruff will make the case for open government in public service announcements produced by the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation for Sunshine Week, March 11-17.
The 30-second messages will be distributed to television and radio stations across the country to highlight the importance of protecting public access to government information. RTNDF’s participation is supported by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
RTNDF will also distribute public service announcements featuring citizens, who speak about the importance of open government, with time for a local anchor to open and close the announcement. The PSAs will be produced in both English and Spanish. The video announcements will be distributed by satellite by the National Association of Broadcasters on Feb. 16 and will also be available on the Internet. The audio PSAs will be available beginning Feb. 16 to be downloaded through the RTNDA Web site, www.rtnda.org/foi/sunshineweek.shtml.
Spearheaded by journalists, Sunshine Week is an opportunity for everyone—not just the media—to discuss the importance of preserving an open government. In partnership with the American Society of Newspaper Editors, RTNDF says it intends for the Sunshine Week PSAs to draw renewed attention to the Freedom of Information Act as well as to educate and empower the public on their right to access to government documents and information.
“The hallmarks of a great democracy include government transparency and accountability,” says RTNDF President Barbara Cochran. “Sunshine Week gives us an opportunity to engage the public in advocating for openness and resisting restrictions on government information. News organizations serve as watchdogs on behalf of the public and during Sunshine Week television and radio stations can let the public know about important stories that would go untold if access is blocked.”
Brokaw, Bradlee and Woodruff serve as honorary chairs for Sunshine Week 2007. Brokaw is the longtime anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News and current contributing reporter/producer for NBC News documentaries. Bradlee is the legendary former executive editor who led the Washington Post’s Watergate coverage and is currently vice president at large of the Post. Woodruff is senior correspondent for PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and anchor of Conversations with Judy Woodruff on Bloomberg Television.
RTNDF is offering resources, story ideas and information on Freedom of Information legislation on its web site. Information on how to conduct a FOI audit of local agencies is one of many resources that can be linked to at www.sunshineweek.org.
RTNDF is also sponsoring the First Amendment PSA competition for members of the Student Television Network, with the winning entries to be aired during Sunshine Week on Channel One, the network that reaches 7 million students in middle, junior and high school.
For online resource offered through RTNDF’s High School Journalism Project to broadcast teachers across the country, click here.