The Press Club of Long Island is celebrating Sunshine Week. We’ve reached out to influential people who have an intimate knowledge of Freedom of Information and asked them to share their brief thoughts on the importance of open government.
Keep an eye out over the next few days as we release quotes from various people in journalism and communications.
Dr. Evan Cornog is the Dean the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University. He served as an associate dean at the Columbia University School of Journalism for more than a decade and handled a variety of responsibilities during his tenure there. He led fundraising efforts, coordinated the development of a new curriculum, directed the school’s new Master of Arts program in Journalism and served as publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review. Dr Cornog is also the author of several books on politics and the press – expertise he honed as press secretary to New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch and as a freelance writer and editor whose stories have appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, Slate and the Boston Globe.
Cornog on FOI and Open Government: “I guess the simplest way to put it for me is that without freedom of information any other kind of freedom is under threat. Government has great power to do good, but also great coercive power. Some of that coercive power is absolutely needed—the ability to try, convict, and imprison dangerous criminals, for example. But unless the way government works is able to be examined critically, that coercive power can be come oppressive, and can lead to the erosion of vital liberties. The press is the greatest guardian of our freedoms, but the press needs the force of law to help it conduct its inquiries.”
Read other PCLI Sunshine Week capsules:
About Sunshine Week: National Sunshine Week has been celebrated every March since 2005, thanks to the hard work of the American Society of News Editors. Participants include print, broadcast and online news media, civics groups, non-profits, schools and libraries. The activities are funded from a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to enlighten the public about their right to government information and strengthen their communities.