The presence of sunshine laws in journalism curriculum: Qualitative insights

Melony Alicia Shemberger, Tennessee State University


This exploratory qualitative research used both constant comparative analysis and content analysis, as well as descriptive statistics, to gain insight on whether and how journalism schools at four-year colleges and universities in Tennessee are educating students on open government laws, commonly referred to as sunshine laws. These access-to-information laws have gained much public attention statewide in the news media because of the changes made to them in recent years. These tools are necessary for journalists, who often gather public information to write their stories, either by attending open public meetings or by filing open records requests. However, much of the knowledge journalists gain in understanding sunshine laws is learned in the professional newsroom. This research identifies themes related to the instruction of open government laws, especially the top reasons why the laws are not covered more in depth in courses, particularly in media law. This end assessment of current instruction and content provides future direction for journalism department chairs and college deans.

Subject Area

Journalism|Education|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Melony Alicia Shemberger, "The presence of sunshine laws in journalism curriculum: Qualitative insights" (2011). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3486991.