SPJ Madison, WFOIC sponsor Open Government Traveling Show

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 23, 2016

Contact: Mark Pitsch, (608) 252-6145; Bill Lueders, (608) 669-4712

Open Government Advocates to Take Show on the Road

Advocates of open government in Wisconsin are planning a three-day, eight-city informational tour to highlight the importance of the state’s open records law, in the wake of unprecedented attacks from state lawmakers and others.

“An open society depends on open government. Wisconsin residents understand that,” says Mark Pitsch, president of the Madison chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and an assistant city editor at the Wisconsin State Journal. “Last summer’s attempt to gut the records law is just one of several recent examples of official disregard for the public’s right to know. It’s time for education and vigilance.”

The “Open Government Traveling Show” will take place from Tuesday, March 15, through Thursday, March 17, as part of national Sunshine Week, the annual “celebration of access to public information.”

The events—free and open to the public—are aimed at helping Wisconsin residents understand the open records law and how to use it. Each 90-minute presentation will feature a tutorial on the records law and examples of its use by journalists and advocates.

Participants will include representatives of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, the Madison chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, the Center for Media and Democracy, the MacIver Institute for Public Policy and Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

The tour is also supported by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Each stop has its own local sponsor.

The traveling show will take place in the following locations:

La Crosse: March 15, 2 p.m. La Crosse Public Library. Local sponsor: La Crosse Tribune.

Eau Claire: March 15, 7 p.m. Centennial Hall, Room 1614, UW-Eau Claire. Local sponsor: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, UW-Eau Claire chapter, Society of Professional Journalists

Wausau: March 16, 10 a.m. Marathon County Public Library. Local sponsor: Wausau Daily Herald-USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Green Bay: March 16, 2 p.m. Green Bay Public Library. Local Sponsor: Green Bay Press-Gazette-USA TODAY NETWORK-WISCONSIN

Appleton: March 16, 7:30 p.m. Appleton Public Library. Local sponsor: Appleton Post-Crescent-USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Sheboygan: March 17, 10 a.m. Sheboygan Public Library. Local sponsor: Sheboygan Press-USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Waukesha: March 17, 2 p.m, Waukesha Public Library. Local sponsor: Schott, Bublitz and Engel S.C.

Janesville: March 17, 7 p.m. Blackhawk Technical College. Local sponsor: Janesville Gazette

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The Society of Professional Journalists Madison Pro Chapter
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One Response to SPJ Madison, WFOIC sponsor Open Government Traveling Show

  1. I am one citizen who has taken advantage of Wisconsin’s Open Records Law. I queried all
    WI Republican legislators asking for citizen correspondence referencing bills relating to election law changes and public education. Data from the latter is just beginning to come in. I encourage you to explore we-the-irrelevant.org to see the results of my efforts and those of my volunteers. I published we-the-irrelevant.org on Dec. 8, 2015. It has already received nearly 7,500 unique visits. I have also posted templates that other citizens can copy and use for their own ORRs. Dave Zweifel, Editor Emeritus of the CapTimes, wrote about my project on Dec. 24, 2015. Pat Nash, freelance journalist, wrote about it on Jan. 22, 2016. I applaud your efforts to educate Wisconsinites on this subject. I would be delighted to answer any questions your organization might have regarding We, the Irrelevant.

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