The Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter, is searching for a journalist for a voting seat on San Francisco’s open-government watchdog commission, the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force

SPJ gained the nominating authority for this seat from New America Media (NAM) (which closed in 2017), a precursor to Ethnic Media Services (EMS).  This member will serve in the spirit of what NAM and EMS stand for: journalism that reflected the diversity of the Bay Area, in its authorship, subject matter, and audience.

Therefore, this seat is for a journalist:

-from a racial/ethnic-minority-owned news organization; or

-whose work focuses on issues impacting minority racial or ethnic communities; or

-who works with a media organization or publication whose target audience is a minority racial or ethnic community.

We interpret the term “journalist” broadly, including but not limited to online, TV, radio, photographers, data journalists, editors or videographers; freelancers or staffers.

More fine print:

-Task Force members serve without pay or expense reimbursement but are eligible for the excellent health coverage offered to city employees.

-Task Force terms are for two years and there is no total- or consecutive-term limit.

This is a great opportunity for people who care deeply about keeping government open and ensuring the public’s access to city meetings and information. It provides invaluable experience in serving in the public sphere and understanding how the public sector and city government works.

For more information and testimonials from past Task Force members, click here!

Interested? Please email our Freedom of Information Committee with a resume and brief explanation of interest: spjnorcalfoi[at]gmail[dot]com. We’ll be doing interviews in the coming weeks.

More about the SOTF

The Sunshine Ordinance Task Force was established in 1993 to protect the public’s interest in open government. It advises the S.F. Board of Supervisors and other city departments on appropriate ways to implement the Sunshine Ordinance (Administrative Code Chapter 67), including:

-Public access to city meetings

-Access to public information and public records

-Implementation of sunshine policies  

Often, it’s considering how a city agency or public official has responded to a records request from citizens, journalists, or organizations — and then deciding where a case should go from there. The SOTF usually meets the first Wednesday of each month, at 4 p.m. The task force has a handful of committees which generally meet the third week of each month, also at 4 p.m.

Between meetings and preparing for them, members can expect to spend 15-20 hours a month on task force business. The amount of time depends on agenda lengths and the complexity of issues under consideration.

About the Nominations

The SOTF (established in Administrative Code Section 67.30(a)) has 11 voting members, whom the Board of Supervisors appoints, and two non-voting members. SPJ nominates the candidate to the Board of Supervisors, who then confirm them to the SOTF. The voting members must have “experience and/or demonstrated interest in the issues of citizen access and participation in local government.”