Today is day five of Sunshine Week, an annual celebration of government openness and public access to public records.
Here at Mountain Xpress, we’re marking the occasion with the debut of The Xpress Files, an online archive of papers from all levels of government. And each day this week, we’ll focus on one extraordinary Document of the Day.
Today’s entry is a recently published “North Carolina Guide to Open Government and Public Records,” a joint publication of the North Carolina Press Association and Attorney General Roy Cooper. It’s rare that state government and a media group collaborate on producing such a document — after all, newspapers often butt heads with state officials over access to public records, as evidenced in the recent flare-up about Gov. Mike Easley’s policy regarding preservation/destruction of the administration’s e-mails.
So the new guide is a unique synergy of government and private interests that comes at the right time to serve the public interest. It could prove useful not only to journalists but to any citizen seeking public records or access to public meetings in North Carolina.
Click here to read the guide in its entirety, and check back tomorrow for another Sunshine Week offering from The Xpress Files.
— Jon Elliston, managing editor