FOI A-Listers Tout Sunshine Week

By: E&P Staff

Sunshine Week launched a series of print and broadcast public service ads featuring celebrities such as actor Louis Gossett Jr. and comedian Judy Tenuta talking about the importance of open government.

The ads, which can be used by any Sunshine Week participants, marks both Sunshine Week 2008, March 16-22, when news organizations, libraries, civic groups and others are asked to devote special coverage to Freedom of Information and other open government issues, and Sunshine Campaign, an attempt to make transparency an issue in elections from town council to the White House.

The ads were developed by the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) and Foundation, and the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE), in cooperation with The Creative Coalition, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

In addition to Gossett and Tenuta, those appearing in the ads are Barry Bostwick, Connie Britton, Saffron Burrows, James Eckhouse, Sharon Lawrence, Camryn Manheim, Izabella Miko, Andy Milder, Ron Rifkin, Richard Schiff, and Joan Van Ark.

All the public service ads are posted on the Sunshine Week Web site.

The broadcast ads are on the RTNDA site, www.rtnda.or, and are being distributed by ABC, CNN, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo and Univision to their affiliates.

Information on how to download broadcast-quality versions of the television ads is on RTNDA’s Sunshine Week Web page.

“The quantity and quality of the star power in these ads deliver a strong message about the people’s right to know what government is doing,” said David Westphal, Washington editor of McClatchy Newspapers and co-chair of ASNE’s Freedom of Information Committee. “Combined with the ads and other materials already out there — and more is coming — print, broadcast and online outlets have some very powerful tools to make the case for the importance of open government.”

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