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Sunshine Week BRIGHT IDEAS > Broadcast

Sunshine on the Airwaves

Broadcasters were an important component to the Sunshine Week
dialogue. Through evening newscasts, talk radio discussions, public service
ads and other means, they brought the issue of open government to millions
of viewers and listeners.

Some showed us how important access to information can be when it comes
to community safety. Others empowered people by showing them what kind
of information is available and how to get it, including via links on stations’
Web sites. Lively discussions about the state of open government provided
lots to think about.

Overall, broadcasters provided another avenue to reach the people,
reminding them of their right to know what their government is up to.

                                                                     Sunshine Week BRIGHT IDEAS > Broadcast
                                                       Sunshine Sund
                                                                              ay: Volunteers
                                                                                                     in Public School
                                                       Terry Anzur: Th
                                                                           is is Sunshine We
                                                       your attention to                       ek, when news org
                                                                          just how open yo                            an
                                                      documents are op                        ur government rea izations across the U.S. are callin
                                                                           en, not only to rep                      lly is. Here in Flo                        g
                                                      the state legislatu                       orters, but to cit                      rida, all governm
                                                                          re makes a spec                          izens like you. Ex                        ent
                                                                                            ial point to keep                         cept in cases wh
                                                                                                                those documents                            ere
                                                     But the I-Team                                                                 “out” of public
                                                                       found out gettin                                                               view.
                                                     sive battle, even                   g access to some
     In West Palm Beach,                                                 when the safety
                                                                                           of your children
                                                                                                              public records ca
                                                                                                                                  n be a long and
                                                    Anzur with our                                             is involved. Hereʼ                   expen-
     Fla., WPEC News 12                                                I-team investiga                                            s News 12ʼs Terry
     anchor and reporter Terry                      Terry Anzur: It
                                                                        started with a sim
                                                   volunteers who                           ple question. W
     Anzur was repeatedly                          to see the record
                                                                      work with child
                                                                                        ren in our publi
                                                                                                               hoʼs checking the
                                                                                                                                   backgrounds of
                                                                      s of a program kn                   c schools? Last                              the
     frustrated in her efforts                     Weʼve learned tha                      own as “V-I-P-S,”                  October, the I-T
                                                                        t some voluntee                          or Volunteers in               eam asked
                                                  the Palm Beach                          rs actually admi                          Public Schools.
     to access information                                           County School
                                                                                       District doesnʼt
                                                                                                             t to having crimi
                                                                                                                                nal backgrounds
                                                                                                          make it easy to                          . But
     about the background                         Video of principa
                                                                      l, kissing a pig.
                                                                                                                             find out who the
                                                                                                                                                y are.
     of school volunteers.
                                                  Anzur: When the
     She told the story of                                                  principal of Pin
                                                  seniors shared the                            e Grove Elemen
                                                                            moment of trium                          tary kissed a pig
     those attempts in a                                                                         ph.                                      to celebrate the
                                                                                                                                                             studentsʼ FCAT
                                                 Dotty Feingold                                                                                                                  scores, some ve
                                                                                                                                                                                                    ry special
     Sunshine Week report                                               /volunteer: “M
                                                                                            y heart swelled.
                                                                                                                 I really felt that
     that is archived online                     Jerry Feingold                                                                       we made a big dif
                                                                       /volunteer: “W                                                                      ference with the
                                                                                           e were thrilled to                                                                 se children.”
     at http://wpecnews12.                      Anzur: Jerry an
                                                                       d Dotty Feingold
     com/                     academic year,
                                                                      when the schoo
                                                                                              are two of the sen
                                                                                                                     iors from Delray
                                                anyone to sign up                         lʼs FCAT grade                                  Villas who volun
     wpec&id=13730&temp                                                  as a volunteer.                     improved from
                                                                                                                                  a C to an A. But            teered at Pine Gr
                                                                                                                                                                                   ove during the 20
                                                                                                                                                      they also noticed                                  02-2003
     late=pagesearch.html.                     Jerry Feingold                                                                                                              how easy it was
                                                                                                                                                                                                for just about
                                                                     : There has to be
                                               program that I wa                            a way to check
                                                                        s involved in, so                      the background
                                                                                             mebody did some                        of people. It wo
                                                                                                                    thing bad to the                   uld be very distur
                                              The V-I-P-S pro                                                                           kids. That would                   bing if I found tha
                                                                    gram has a good                                                                          be terrible.                         t through a
                                                                                           reputation... Ne
                                                                                                              ws 12 even did
                                              Terry Anzur on                                                                       public service an
                                                                     Public Service                                                                    nouncements to
                                                                                         Announcement                                                                     recruit voluntee
                                                                                                             : “Volunteer to                                                                  rs.
                                             Anzur: And the                                                                         be an FCAT tu
                                                                    districtʼs own bro                                                                tor...”
                                             spokeswoman, wh                               chures say that
                                                                      o also told me tha                      thousands have
                                            see th�                                          t school police do                    volunteered. More
                                                                                                                     a background ch                      than 28-thousan
                                            record/document                                                                              eck on every sin                   d last year, acco
                                                                    be created, if on                                                                        gle one. But wh                     rding to a
                                                                                         e does not alrea                                                                       en the I-Team ask
                                                                                                            dy exist.”                                                                                ed to
                                           Barbara Petersen
                                                                  , president of the
                                           believe.                                      First Amendmen
                                                                                                              t Foundation, an
                                                                                                                                    d an expert on op
                                                                                                                                                        en records in Flo
                                          Barbara Petersen                                                                                                                  rida, found that
                                                                    /First Amendm                                                                                                                hard to
                                          records of them?                               ent Foundation:
                                                                ”                                               “Theyʼve got vo
                                                                                                                                     lunteers in the cla
                                                                                                                                                          ssroom with our
                                         Anzur: The next                                                                                                                      kids and they ha
                                                                day we got this                                                                                                                   ve no
                                         this year for the                            letter. It says the
                                                              first time the dis                            volunteer applica
                                        the public becaus                           trict started keep                            tions are all on file
                                                               e the district cla                        ing track of volun                              here at school dis
                                                                                     ims they contain                            teers                                        trict headquarters
                                                                                                          confidential inform in a computer database. But the                                        . And
                                        News 12 obtaine                                                                             ation.                                   se records are no
                                                              d a copy of the                                                                                                                     t open to
                                       number�                                    application all vo
                                                                                                         lunteers are supp
                                       that this informati                                                                     osed to fill out.
                                                               on must be “reda                                                                   It asks for the vo
                                       of documents $6                                cted” or blacked                                                                lunteerʼs address
                                                            ,948.                                          out. Charge for                                                                  and phone
                                                                                                                                school district sta
                                                                                                                                                     ff to redact and
                                      Barbara Petersen                                                                                                                  copy the 40-thou
                                                               : “In my experie                                                                                                              sand pages
                                      of access.”                                    nce, the exorbita
                                                                                                          nt fees some ag
                                                                                                                              encies try to charg
                                                                                                                                                     e is nothing mo
                                     Anzur: We have                                                                                                                    re than a barrier
                                                           learned that mo                                                                                                                  to your right
                                     seven former em                             re than 150 volun
                                                          ployees who vo                               teers admit to ha
                                    tha�                                        lunteer. But the                             ving a criminal
                                                                                                    school district wa                          history, including
                                    says the open rec                                                                       nted to hold back                         16 district emplo
                                                          ords expert.                                                                           those applicatio                          yees and
                                                                                                                                                                    ns because of the
                                   Barbara Petersen
                                                            : “That sounds mo                                                                                                                          ,
                                                                                      re like a cover-u
                                                                                                          p than it does a
                                  Anzur: Finally                                                                              legitimate respo
                                                       the district adde                                                                          nse to a public rec
                                  government wo                               d a charge for de                                                                         ords request.”
                                                      rkers who may                                termining which
                                                                             request to have                              volunteers are rel
                                                                                                 their home addre                             ated to law enfor
                                  Barbara Petersen                                                                     ss information wi                           cement officers
                                                          : No! No! No! No                                                                  thheld from the                           and other
                                                                                   !                                                                            public.
                                 Petersen says the
                                                        district must on
                                 Still, the district                          ly withhold inform
                                                      wanted to charg                                 ation when cops
                                                                             e us for that too                              or other exempt
                                                                                                 —a whopping $3                                 workers make su
                                 Continued...                                                                           9,105.                                      ch a request in wr

     Sunshine Week BRIGHT IDEAS > Broadcast > Television

             WCNC-TV, 6News in Charlotte, N.C.,
             produced a series of news stories
             for Sunshine Week showing viewers
             different kinds of information they could
             access. Reporter Stuart Watson (left)
              reported on how to get family histories,
              real estate records, restaurant
              inspections, birth and marriage
               certificates, and doctors’ licensing and
               disciplinary records. In addition, the
               station’s Web page helped viewers
               find relevant materials online.

Sunshine Week BRIGHT IDEAS > Broadcast > Television

                                                                                                  the stateʼs toughest watchdog on
                                                    . Iʼm Kerri Miller...and weʼve got
                  Welcome back to Mid-Morning
                  informati on in the studio today.

                  {music here}
                                                                                                                             ol that
                                                                                       my reporting days at the state capit
                                                   year ago, but I can tell you from
                  Don Gemberling retired about a                        ities of government to the eyes of
                                                                                                             the press and the public.
                                                       g open the activ
                  he was a tireless advocate for pryin                                John R. Finnegan Freedom of Infor
                                                   being recognized with the 2005
                  Now, Mr. Gemberlingʼs work is                                            ld be transparent; how to get the
                                                     to talk about why government shou
                  Award, and weʼve invited him in                                       nts are retur ning to an era of secrecy.
                                                     in a post 9/11 world—governme
                  mation you want; .and whether—

                                                                                                                                 t [Sunshine
                                              berling:                                                           , in part, wha
                              om Don Gem                                                         en.... [T]hatʼs
                Excerpts fr                                           theyʼre ge tting less op
                                                       more open,                                   e issues.”
                                       arenʼt getting                                bility to thes
                      erally, things                                   to bring visi                                                       d say,
                “Gen                     riety of folk
                                                       s are trying                                                         of sit back an edia
                                                                                                             etimes kind                     m
                 Week]   is about...a va                                        re about th   e issues som
                                                                                                                  cularly a pr oblem with
                                                                 who really ca                     k thatʼs parti
                                               at those of us                   ab out it.ʼ I thin
                                problem is th                     out and talk           t educated?”
                 “Part of the                     ing if we go            do people ge
                                   too self-serv        t it, then how                                                        donʼt have a
                     ell, it looks
                 ʻW                      nʼt talk abou                                                       as issues that                     until
                  folks.  But if you do                                                       [FOI] issues          ng and new    spapers. And
                                                                              ese kinds of          sell advertisi
                                                 ho make po     licy, view th        just want to                      bring abou   t change.”
                                  the people w        serving med
                                                                     ia types who
                                                                                        care, then itʼ
                                                                                                        s difficult to
                                    r than you self-                pe  ople really do
                   stituency othe                   derstand that
                                   s] begin to un

                                                                                     Minnesota Public Radio’s Midmorning program on March 16 featured an interview
                                                                                     by host Kerri Miller (above) with Don Gemberling, the retired director of Minnesota’s
                                                                                     Information Policy Analysis Division of Administration. Excerpts from the interview
                                                                                     appear above, and the audio archive of the entire show, including caller comments,
                                                                                     can he heard online at

     Sunshine Week BRIGHT IDEAS > Broadcast > Radio

                                                                                                                                                      WAKR in Akron, Ohio,
                                                                                                                                                      created two Sunshine
                                                                                                                                                      Week radio public service
                                                                                                                                                      announcements for the
              Radio PSA 1                                                                                                                              Radio-Television News
Sunshine Week
                     e are the words tha
                                          t come first.”                                                                            f; or               Directors Foundation. In
Announcer: “Thes                                                                                            free exercise thereo
                                                                                        or prohibiting the                                             addition to being available
                                                                      ment of religion,
                                         respec  ting the establish
                    shall make no law                                                                                                                   via the RTNDA and
Read: “Congress              speech or of the pre
                                                    ss....”( fades)
                                                                                                                      the Constitution,
abridgin g the freedom of                                                                        st Amendment to
                                                                            in America. The Fir                           ormation laws                 Sunshine Week Web sites,
                                                          stone of freedom                         gh t. Freedom of Inf
                                 live by—the corner                             ues to be hard-fou                             of the
 Announcer    over: “Words to                          d-w  on freedom contin                        rem  ains the business                             the ads were distributed
                                 press. But that har                              peopleʼs business                            t sunshine
             g freedom of the                                 nment open so the                          visiting w-w-w do
 guaranteein                            to keep our gover                         being threatened,
                                                                                                     by                                                 via CBS Radio, ABC
                    vary, but all seek                        ation, and how itʼs
 across the nation                    freedom of inform
 people. Find ou  t more on YOUR                                                                                                                         NewsRadio, AP Radio and
  week dot o-r-g.”                                                                                                                                       CNN Radio. The ads are
                                         self evident....”( fad                                                                        the               still downloadable from
  Read: “We hold
                     these truths to be                                                                         e of this station and
                                                                                           nt. A public servic
                                                                        FIRST Amendme                                                                     WAKR’s Web site, www.
                                            the rig ht to know is the
                        eʼs a reason why
  Announcer: “Ther              rectors Association
   Radio-Te levision News Di

                                      Sunshine W
                                                eek Radio
                                                                       PSA 2
                                     SFX       game show
                                                             theme mus
                                                                       ic   , applause
                                    Voice 1:
                                                      “...and the
                                                                    category is
                                                                                 : things that
                                    SFX       contestant                                         DONʼT go
                                                           buzzer in                                        together...”
                                   Voice 2:
                                                                   and rain fo
                                  SFX:     audience ap                                         eam and m
                                                           plause and                                   otor oil...ope
                                                                        fades                                         n governmen
                                                                                                                                 t and closed
                                 Announcer                                                                                                    doors.”
                                             : “Your free
                                 peopleʼs bu              dom of info
                                            siness is TR              rmation un
                                freedom is                ULY conduc               der th
                                            being threat                ted in the op e First Amendment is
                                FIRST Am                 ened, by vi                   en. Find ou               nʼt a game.
                                           endment. A                siting w-w-w                  tm                         Governmen
                                                        public serv                   dot sunshine ore on your stateʼs Fr                tw
                                                                    ice of this st                  week dot o-              eedom of In orks best when the
                                                                                   ation and th                 r-g. Thereʼs             formation L
                                                                                                e Radio-Tel                                          aws and ho
                                                                                                            evision New a reason why the righ                   w that
                                                                                                                         s Directors              t to know is
                                                                                                                                     Association.              the

                                                                                                                           Sunshine Week BRIGHT IDEAS > Broadcast > Radio

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