Save the Date: 2021 Sunshine Breakfast 

Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 – 7:30 to 9 a.m.

The Washington Coalition for Open Government cordially invites you to join us as we honor the champions of transparency at our 2021 Sunshine Breakfast. This year will be a very special celebration as we honor the 15-year career of Toby Nixon, who spent the past 13 years on the board as president. Please plan now to join us for this very special event.

Details on registration and location will be available soon, but save the date now!


Sunshine Week

WCOG President emeritus Toby Nixon recently discussed access issues with Tom Layson on KBCT’s Northwest Now:

Toby Nixon

Nixon retires from WCOG board

Toby Nixon has retired from the WCOG board after 15 years of service, 13 as president. He will remain with the coalition as president emeritus. Mike Fancher, former executive editor of The Seattle Times, succeeded Nixon as president during the coalition’s annual meeting Feb. 12.

Nixon is a member of the Kirkland City Council and a senior program manager at Microsoft. In addition to electing Fancher as president, the WCOG board approved the following officers: Michele Earl-Hubbard, vice president; Ed Clark, treasurer; and George Erb, secretary.

High school essay contest opens

The 2021 Scott Johnson High School Essay contest is now open to all Washington high school students, with an entry deadline of May 22. The competition is open to all high school students in the state, whether public, private or home schooled. The winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize in June. Information about the topic and how to enter here.

Virtual Speakers Bureau available

Coalition members are available to speak to civic groups, schools, and any other groups interested in learning more about Washington’s access laws and current issues. Through video conferencing, we will bring a speaker or panel discussion to you. Get the details

See our 2020 Annual Report. Also see a statement from the WCOG Board regarding transparency in the age of Covid

As always, the Coalition survives because of donors and supporters like you. If you are able and willing, contributions during this difficult time are greatly appreciated. If you believe in the importance of government transparency, join us. Become a member or donor and help us keep our leaders’ feet to the fire when it comes to openness in government.

Click below to learn about the 2020 winners of WCOG’s Madison-Andersen-Bunting Awards:

David Cuillier

David Cuillier, president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, is being honored with the 2020 James Madison Award, given to an individual or organization whose long term commitment to the cause of open government has been demonstrated through exemplary words or deeds.

Cuillier, a Washington native who worked with WCOG as a journalist and academic, is now an associate professor at the University of Arizona School of Journalism. He is a former national president of the Society of Professional Journalists and co-authored “The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records.”

Kate Riley

Washington Coalition for Open Government is recognizing board member Kate Riley with the 2020 James Andersen Award.

She is being honored for her relentless pursuit of government accountability, and for educating the public on the editorial pages of The Seattle Times, where she is editorial page editor. The award recognizes contributions to WCOG and the cause of open government. It is named for founding WCOG board member and former Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court James Andersen.

Chris Ingalls

Broadcast journalist Chris Ingalls and his colleagues at KING 5 News are being recognized with the annual Kenneth F. Bunting Award for their effective use of public records access in their investigative reporting of the extent and duration of mold infections in operating rooms at Seattle Children’s Hospital. At least seven of the hospital’s young patients have died from mold infections since 2001.

This award is presented to organizations or individuals for journalistic work that utilizes, advances, or educates about the state’s Open Public Meetings Act/Public Records Act. It honors the memory of the late Ken Bunting, an executive editor and associate publisher with The Seattle Post-Intelligencer who helped found the Washington Coalition for Open Government in 2002.

Transparency and public participation are building blocks of good government.

The Coalition was formed to act as an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated promoting and defending the People’s right to know in matters of public interest and in the conduct of the public’s business. The Coalition’s driving vision is to help foster open government processes, supervised by an informed and engaged citizenry, which is the cornerstone of democracy.

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