This week is Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.
Basically it's a week designed to promote the public's right to know.
For journalists, like myself, it's a week set aside to help educate the public on why we are often seen as persistent, or maybe a wee bit annoying.
It's not that we want to stir up trouble. Sometimes it's easier to report on the good stuff.
But as light often helps disinfect a wound, shining a light into the files and actions of a governmental body is needed to clear up inconsistencies or questionable behavior.
Readers should know governmental agencies in Grove and Delaware County, for the most part are quite open when it comes to working with the media.
In the last six years, we have only encountered a few people who gave us resistance. Fortunately, others within the governmental agency in question understood the law and provided the requested documents.
We may not always be their favorite people, and we may ask difficult questions, but city, county and school officials willingly put aside personal feelings and follow the law when working with us as we bring news to the public.
Oklahoma laws related to open meetings and records were not put into place to simply satisfy a journalist's cravings for information.
The law "recognizes and guarantees, all political power is inherent in the people. Thus, it is the public policy of the State of Oklahoma that the people are vested with the inherent right to know and be fully informed about their government."
One of my favorite sayings is "the truth will set you free." I think that applies to open records requests for governmental bodies.
Open records and meetings shed light into the actions taken by public bodies. It provides accountability. It allows people to stay informed.
It's a right we, as citizens and journalists, cannot afford to lose.
Kaylea M. Hutson is the managing editor of The Grove Sun. Have an idea for a column or story? She can be reached at email@example.com or 918-786-2228.