The Utah Division of Archives and Records Service will be honored this year with the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award. The award is given annually to honor an organization or individual whose work has promoted transparency and open government in our state. According to Matthew LaPlante, Associate Professor at Utah State University in the Department of Journalism and Communication and host of Utah Public Radio’s UnDisciplined:
“There could be no more fitting recipient than the division’s staff members, who tirelessly work to ensure efficient management and access to public records. As a new member of the Records Management Committee, it has been a pleasure to learn what these individuals do, and to see how they do it. They are truly a credit to government service.
There are few journalists in our state who are not aware of the diligent work of the division’s staff in support of the State Records Committee. Not as many of us, however, are likely aware of the division’s work maintaining the Utah Public Notice Website, reformatting records for preservation, educating the public on issues related to the state’s Government Records Access and Management Act, and supporting the work of the newly formed Records Management Committee. It is my sincere hope that this award helps shine a light on all of these roles.”
The Division of Archives and Records Service has worked with state and local government agencies to assure correct records management and preservation, ensuring information vital to the state’s citizens would remain intact and available to them. With the addition of the State Records Committee to mediate and issue decisions in disputes over record access, the division provides an essential meeting point between record keepers and the public, including members of the media, acting under the principle that “government records belong to the citizens of the state, who have a legal right to open and fair access.” It is for decades of essential service that the Utah Headliners name the Utah Division of Archives and Records Service as the recipient of its Sunshine Award, recognizing a commitment to transparency and openness on behalf of the people of Utah.