Mar 16, 2023 - News

Spotlighting a Sunshine Week win in Cleveland

Illustration of red and blue spotlights moving over a police badge.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A couple of newbies on the local journalism scene produced meaningful reporting last month that led to greater transparency for Cleveland residents.

Driving the news: It's Sunshine Week, an annual tradition in journalism and democracy circles since 2005 to promote government transparency, accountability and the public's right to information.

Aiming the spotlight: Last month, reporting by Signal Cleveland and The Marshall Project noted that the names of police officers had been redacted from monthly disciplinary reports.

What they're saying: "These notices are prepared and disseminated in the spirit of transparency and truth in accountability," Cleveland Public Safety Director Karrie Howard told reporters. "There is little to no value in providing the name of the subject officer."

  • Howard said including names opened officers up to public shaming and the spread of "significant misinformation."

Yes, but: After publication of the story, which criticized the practice and called into question the Bibb administration's commitment to transparency, the city changed its tune.

  • A spokesperson told Signal that including officers' names in the reports accomplished its goals of fairness and transparency for both members of the police force and the community.
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