URI journalism professor and students win Sunshine Award

KINGSTON, R.I. — October 21, 1998 — URI Journalism Professor Linda Lotridge Levin of the East side of Providence and 17 of her students shed some light on access to public records in Rhode Island earlier this year. For their efforts, the Society of Professional Journalists, will present Levin with a Sunshine Award next month at its Freedom of Information Conference in Nashville, Tenn. The award recognizes extraordinarily strong efforts to preserve and strengthen the First Amendment. The award is given for the joint URI and Brown University project “Access to Public Records “ The URI class, in cooperation with a Brown University faculty member and students, audited all 39 towns and cities in the state to see just how “public” public records actually were. The project raised questions about the public’s access to police records. In the wake of the public debate, some police departments, including the State Police, changed the way they deal with public. The study also influenced the legislation crafted by the state’s General Assembly, which amended access to public records and open meeting laws. Levin, who was going to the national conference as the state’s freedom of information representative for the society, will accept the award. -xxx- For More Information: Jan Sawyer, 874-2116