Sunshine Week, a national movement, unites journalists and residents in an effort to be informed on and present in government at all levels.
CalMatters is focusing on government transparency as we celebrate Sunshine Week across the Golden State.
Sunshine Week is heralded by the News Leaders Association and the Society of Professional Journalists every March. It’s devoted to renewing interest in making public records available, keeping government meetings open and increasing public participation in government.
CalMatters was founded eight years ago with the belief that state-government journalism is essential to the health of our democracy and communities. Today, our journalism probes government data, explains mountains of public records and reveals what government officials do both in and out of meetings.
You can see this work in our journalism every day.
- Investigative reporter Robert Lewis spent four months examining how California handles its hazardous waste – analyzing state and federal databases with millions of shipping records, reviewing regulatory filings and archival documents, obtaining hundreds of pages of environmental inspection reports for waste disposal facilities in Arizona and Utah, and interviewing regulators, environmental advocates, engineers and industry sources. And for his detailed story package Outgunned, Robert filed more than 400 public records requests and obtained never-before-seen documents.
- Our WhatMatters daily newsletter breaks down complex California issues into an engaging morning read. That includes the recent explanation of legislative staffers’ attempts to unionize. “This is exactly the type of double standard that makes voters across the ideological spectrum absolutely despise politics and politicians,” said Dan Schnur, a politics professor at UC Berkeley, USC and Pepperdine University.
- This tweet from Ryan O’Connell says it all: “Oh thank god there’s a @CalMatters summary. No Paywall. No need to read 253 pages and watch a three-hour legislative presentation.” He was talking about Ben Christopher’s story on how the state has spent nearly $10 billion over three years to halt homelessness.
- You can also see it in the support from CalMatters members who donate to support our nonprofit news organization. “Holding public officials and the agencies or departments they run accountable in a nonpartisan way is of fundamental importance to the society and democracy,” writes Michael of San Diego.
This work is, as always, made possible by support from our institutional donors and individual members. If you can, please become a CalMatters member today.
We are also working to transform the future of investigative and public policy journalism with the Accountability Desk.
The effort uses AI technology to boost old-school shoe-leather reporting, generating data that gives journalists a unique ability to observe, dig into and reveal trends never before identified in state government actions.
The project harnesses CalPoly’s Digital Democracy AI tech to examine voting and public records in combination with CalMatters’ Glass House directory of California legislators to find unique insights..
The Accountability Desk will provide a simple, fact-based portal for Californians to learn about and engage with each of the state’s 120 legislators. And it will give expert reporters the resources for deep-dive studies of state programs and politics.
CalMatters Editor David Lesher is stepping forward from his role as editor-in-chief to lead this new bold venture.
“I’ve always believed it’s easy to make people angry at government, but that alone doesn’t help,” Lesher says. “That’s why CalMatters started with a focus on explanatory journalism — to help a broad audience understand the major issues and how or why decisions are made. Now it’s time to add the Accountability Desk with a new layer of transparency and a watchdog capacity that’s essential for a nation-sized state with a $300 billion annual budget.”