Open Government Is Good Government: Sunshine Week 2014
By Alida Moore
Once a year, civic groups, non-profit organizations, libraries, schools, and media outlets join forces to turn up the volume on a national conversation about the necessity of open government and the freedom of information. This initiative is called Sunshine Week and it was spearheaded by the American Society of News Editors in 2005.
According to the website, “Sunshine Week seeks to enlighten and empower people to play an active role in their government at all levels, and to give them access to information that makes their lives better and their communities stronger.” Participation in this initiative is simple. It doesn’t require a donation, a degree, or a fancy title. To take part in Sunshine Week, you simply need to join the conversation. Talk about the importance of open government. Talk about why it’s no longer enough for governments to publish annual reports compiled of meaningless data, but that to truly innovate, governments need to publish and update data in realtime. Chat on the bus about open government laws, open data policy, what Government 2.0 actually means, anything.
Here at Socrata, we are big believers in using data to tell a meaningful story. We work hard to make it easy for data consumers, citizens, civic activists, and developers to contextualize data with visualizations and apps. Many Socrata team members choose to participate in Sunshine Week and we’ll be telling those stories throughout this week, both on the blog and on Twitter.
Reid Serozi is joining Sunshine Day 2014 at Elon. Ewan Simpson took part in the last session of Montgomery County’s Innovation Week. He attended a panel discussion that included leaders from Sunlight Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and ESRI on open data, data policy, technology, and the benefits of open data. The panel discussed the challenges to open data, legacy technology, community building, costs and the benefits of opening data across departments, FOIA cost reductions, and place-based initiatives empowered with real-time data.
How are you participating in Sunshine Week 2014? Leave a comment or let us know on Twitter.