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Get ready for Sunshine Week

IRE is proud to partner with Sunshine Week this year. 

National Sunshine Week, celebrated annually in mid-March, is a public awareness campaign to shine a light on the importance of public records and open government. It’s a reminder to journalists and citizens alike — we have a right to know what’s going on in government!

“It’s a cause everyone can support,” David Cuillier, director of the Brechner Freedom of Information Project, wrote in The IRE Journal this month. 

“As Stanford’s James Hamilton calculated in his ‘Democracy’s Detectives’ book, for every dollar spent on records-based investigative reporting, society reaps $287 in benefits. That is a phenomenal return on investment.”

David Cuillier, "Bright tips for public support, Sunshine Week" (The IRE Journal, Q1 2024)

This year Sunshine Week runs March 10-16, with awareness and training events hosted by organizations in journalism, education, government and other sectors. 

Cuillier shared ideas to celebrate Sunshine Week in his FOI Files column in the latest IRE Journal:

  • Write about the state of access in your community. Publish embargoed stories, op-eds and other materials from the Sunshine Week website.
  • Send requests to cities or schools in your community. Report how well (or not) they respond, and why it matters. The Society of Professional Journalists also offers audit tips here.
  • Highlight public records that help people in their everyday lives, such as IRS 990 forms, police reports and drinking water quality results.
  • Acquire record request logs from local agencies, including disposition. Report what percent are fulfilled, and how fast (or slow). 

You can also attend IRE’s Sunshine Week webinar “25 records to request now” on Thursday, March 14. IRE executive director Diana Fuentes will walk you through a slew of interesting and informative public records in this hour-long session!

And if you’re looking for guidance on public records on a specific beat, read our other FOI Files columns in previous editions of The IRE Journal (IRE members have access to The IRE Journal for free, but nonmembers can also purchase digital versions of these editions):

  • Q4 2023: “Protect hard-won documents from theft, breakdowns and the government”
  • Q1 2023: “Expert strategies for getting EPA records: “You gotta play to win.”
  • Q3 2022: “Records reconnaissance: Military documents for every reporter”
  • Q3 2021: “Records for social justice: The records you need to expose injustice”

For more ideas, resources and events, visit

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