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Sunday, March 2, 2008

TNT: 125 Years of Fighting for Open Government

The Tacoma News-Tribune is celebrating its 125th year and writes this interesting history of how the paper--even way back when--fought for open government and why it matters. This might be the best explanation of the importance of open government we've ever seen.

Describing the fight for open government as a campaign, the TNT writes:

"Newspapers such as The News Tribune are that campaign’s foot soldiers. No other institution knocks on government doors day after day, requesting public records, attending public meetings and pushing elected officials toward the light.

"Advancing the cause of open government is a value, not a business model.

"Stories about newspapers prying open sealed records or exposing illegal meetings rarely cause papers to fly off the racks.

"But this newspaper bird-dogs public agencies all the same because something important is at stake. Access to public records and meetings, and exposure of the private machinations of officialdom, are essential to an informed and engaged community. The News Tribune is the public’s eyes and ears; we are dedicated to providing information that will allow citizens to retain sovereignty over their government."

Yep. That's what's at stake.