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(CNN Business) —  

A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

Sunshine Week!

“It’s your right to know.”

That’s the theme of Sunshine Week, an annual chance for newsrooms to advocate for government transparency. The celebration began on Sunday and wraps up with “Freedom of Information Day” on Saturday. Here are how some local papers are promoting it:

The Columbus Dispatch: This week is about “the importance of open government and freedom of information.”

The Buffalo News: “The newspaper you are reading is a friend of the people.”

The Monitor in Brownsville, Texas: Journalists encourage public access to info so that “you can decide for yourselves what news is valid and which is fake.”

House Dems promoting ‘transparency’ too

“Sunshine Week” is a nonpartisan idea — spearheaded by ASNE — but local politicians sometimes hold town halls and other events to support it. This year Democrats in the House will be talking about it as well.

According to Jonathan Swan, “the House will frame the coming week as ‘Sunshine Week’ — ‘focused on increasing government transparency and accountability,’ to follow their vote last week on sweeping anti-corruption legislation.”

“More transparency” is easy for politicians to say, hard for them to follow through on…

The AP’s new look at a local news desert

“Local journalism is dying in plain sight,” the AP’s David Bauder and David A. Lieb wrote in this story centered in Waynesville, Missouri. The town’s local paper, the Daily Guide, shut down last September. So now Waynesville is one of “more than 1,400 other cities and towns across the U.S. to lose a newspaper over the past 15 years.” These days the only local reporter at the county courthouse is Darrell Todd Maurina, who posts stories on Facebook. Read all about him in this story pegged to Sunshine Week…

→ The AP’s Michael Casey has a related story: “As newspapers close, role of government watchdog disappears”

Editor of local Ohio paper reflects on loss of GM plant

“Reliable Sources” producer Justin Freiman emails: Youngstown, Ohio’s newspaper The Vindicator has served the community for 150 years. As the last car rolled off the assembly line of GM’s Lordstown plant last Wednesday, its editor Todd Franko told me the daily paper has already seen a reduction of about 20% of its staff since 2007, and he fears that number will grow. “If you are in the media industry and don’t fear more cuts, you aren’t watching your own headlines.”

Franko said the closure of the plant is a $3 billion economic hit “that stretches to subscribers, advertisers, taverns that hire local bands, cleaning companies… We will feel it, as will everyone else in the community.”

The newspaper has been covering the Lordstown plant since it opened back in 1966, and Franko said he sees Vindicator as the historic record for the area. He pointed out, “This round of tough news is showing more optimism, we know that the sun sets on some things and we also know that the sun rises. “It’s our role as members of the media “to make sure we find the sunrises as well as the sunsets.”

How Trump’s anti-media attacks relate to all this

Connie Schultz on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” telecast: “When you’ve got a president who is demonizing the media, that trickles down to a lot of public officials around the country. All of a sudden, you’ve got a mayor calling journalists the enemy of the people. You’ve got members of Congress calling us that. You’ve got the county commissioner saying ‘I don’t have to give you information.’”

Schultz, a syndicated columnist and journalism professor, is married to Sherrod Brown. So we also spoke about Brown’s decision not to pursue the Dem nomination in 2020… Watch the full segment here…

41 days…

That’s how many days have elapsed since the White House held an on-camera briefing with Sarah Sanders, as of Sunday. On Monday it’ll be six straight weeks…

This is a glaring example of the lack of sunlight at 1600 Penn…

Media week ahead calendar

Monday: SXSW continues in Austin…

Tuesday: David McCraw, the NYT’s top newsroom lawyer, is out with a new book, “Truth In Our Times…” Here’s a preview…

Wednesday: The Sun Valley Film Festival begins…

Thursday evening: The National Magazine Awards 2019 take place in Brooklyn…

Friday: The Ides of March…

Trump submitting his budget request…

The White House will deliver its budget request to the House Budget Committee on Monday morning. I’m expecting another proposal to eliminate funding for PBS, NPR, etc… For the third straight year… And another congressional rejection of the proposal…

Round two for Paul Manafort

“On Wednesday, Paul Manafort is up for sentencing round two,” Katelyn Polantz reports in this curtain-raiser story for The big Q: Will the second judge be harsher?

Is this Beto’s week? Biden’s week? Or both?

Chris Cillizza’s latest: “Is this the week that B & B boys – Beto and Biden – finally get in? That’s the question on the mind of the collective political world as we look to the week ahead.” He notes that “both men seem to be edging ever closer to running, but as the race begins to pick up real momentum, their go/no go decisions are becoming more urgent.” Read on…


– Trump called Tim Cook “Tim Apple” the other day, but according to Jonathan Swan he told RNC donors that he actually said “Tim Cook Apple.” No. He didn’t. One of Swan’s donor sources said “I just thought, why would you lie about that. It doesn’t even matter!” Apparently it matters to Trump… (Axios)

Read more of Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter… And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox…

– Gayle King’s interview of R. Kelly became the “SNL” cold open on Saturday… (CNN)

– Joe Adalian noted: Friday night’s King/Kelly special on CBS was “Friday’s No. 1 broadcast show among A18-49, notching a 1.2 in demo and 6.6 million viewers…” (Twitter)