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Shining A Light On Our Government

photo of sunshine week logo - 'your right to  know'
American Society of News Editors / http://sunshineweek.rcfp.org/sw-logos/
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North Carolina law gives citizens the right to all sorts of government data, from state employee emails to the minutes of closed meetings. But how reliable are our state institutions when it comes to delivering that data? That is one question that North Carolina reporters hoped to answer this year for Sunshine Week, an annual nationwide event dedicated to holding government agencies accountable and making citizens aware of their rights to open government data.

This year a number of news outlets across the state organized a collaborative news story in which their reporters reached out to various levels of government to request minutes from closed meetings. The report found that information is often delivered late and heavily redacted. Host Frank Stasio talks to Jason deBruyn, WUNC’s data reporter, about his participation in the Sunshine Week story and the roadblocks he often runs into when requesting government information.

He also talks to Hugh Stevens, an attorney who was the official counsel for the North Carolina Press Association for more than 20 years, about the importance of open government and the recourse citizens have when they are refused access to public information.
 

Robert is a journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker in the Triangle. He grew up in White Lake, a rural resort community in southeastern NC. The tales he heard about White Lake as a child would become the topic of his UNC-TV historical documentary, White Lake: Remembering the Nation's Safest Beach. In May 2017, he received a bachelor's degree in interactive multimedia from the Media and Journalism School at UNC-Chapel Hill with a minor in religious studies.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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