ANOTHER NATIONAL SUNSHINE WEEK ENDS March 10-17. NOTHING CHANGES IN MASSASCHUSETTS-----TRANSPARENCY IS TALKED ABOUT---AND INITIATIVES AGAIN PLACED IN THE WASTE BASKET AGAIN!!!!!!!
March 11-17 National Sunshine Week is the ideal time to move forward for the Media to act. This yearly national initiative includes those from the news media with interested groups and entities along with many other individuals interested in open government operations. The goal of the initiative is to promote discussions and dialogues on Freedom of information by advocating Open and Transparent Government Operations.
Significant challenges were seen in 2010 and nseems to die since to the first amendment and free speech by Massachusetts local governments functioning in their operations. Some Governments adhered to promoting transparency for their citizenry served. Others continued old ways lacking openness. Government entities must sincerely strive to follow the intent and spirit of the new Open Meeting State Law placed in the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General. Many local governments are still failing knowingly or unknowingly or using cursory approaches avoiding the intent of the legislative mandate at Transparency and Openness.
The goals and objectives of National Sunshine Week are most important to Freedom of the Press and transparency for all government and private operations.
There are challenges Newspapers, Broadcasters, and all in the Media because of the industry downsizing economic turmoil of recent years coupled with new technologies of the Social Media. This makes traditional reporting as we have known especially investigative reporting quite difficult due to severe budgetary and revenue constraints. This has resulted in the downsizing of media and newspaper coverage of government meetings and operations often limiting the Public Right to Know.
The traditional role of the editorial page has changed. Reporters do not have adequate time to properly research and report the news as formerly existed. This leaves parts of the news or having proper different researched positions or facts by Citizens being left out. This results in government appointed and elected officials having continuous Press Access most times without proper verification obtaining their positions published.
Newspapers, Broadcast, and Social Media management must consider adopting a stated modern Code of Ethics for their entities. Further, I advocate the same standard for Reporter Associations Current Editors, Reporters, and new hires to pledge to a stated Code of Conduct and accepted Journalism Behavior.
The traditional place for biased views and columns of various perspectives is still the Editorial Page. Media reporters that compile the news at all levels must be objective, fair, and unbiased and not subjectively discriminate which views to report without proper verification.
This is an opportunity for all Media by adopting a stated Modern Code of Ethics and Reporters Code of Conduct to be a model for others lacking in the Print, Broadcast, and Social Media during National Sunshine Week as well as well as for the readership and listeners going forward. An Ethics and Conduct Code by all in the Media would stop the continuous attacks by critics and help passage of a much needed “ Massachusetts Shield Law” and other Transparency Reforms.