UNC Grad to Head Open Government Coalition

A recent graduate of UNC’s dual-degree program in media law, Jonathan Jones (M.A., J.D. 2011), has been named director of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition and Sunshine Center at Elon University.  He also will teach courses in Elon’s School of Communications.

Currently an assistant district attorney for Durham County in North Carolina, Jones will begin his new job in mid-August.  In his new job, Jones will work with the coalition’s board to organize the state’s annual Sunshine Day, advise citizens about open government issues, produce webinars or workshops around the state, handle communication for the coalition, and find new ways to inform North Carolina citizens of the value and processes of open government in the state.

Jones previously worked for the NCOGC as a legal intern in summer 2010.  He researched business models for a regional nonprofit investigative reporting center.

In a press release, Jones said: “I’m ecstatic to pick up on the tremendous work coalition members have already been doing to educate record holders and record seekers about our state’s open government laws.  Transparency in government is the cornerstone of democracy. It instills public trust and gives citizens faith in their government. I look forward to helping sunshine find its way into communities across our state.”

At UNC Jones served as editor-in-chief of the First Amendment Law Review and worked on UNC’s Innocence Project.  He has published in the First Amendment Law Review, News Media & The Law, and “Sunshine, Inc.: The Basics of Covering Business Organizations” produced by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

He earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from UNC and worked for six years as a reporter at newspapers in Maryland and Virginia and at the News & Record in Greensboro.

The North Carolina Open Government Coalition unites organizations interested in ensuring and enhancing the public’s access to government activity, records, and meetings. The nonpartisan coalition educates people about their rights, supports their efforts to gain access, and advocates the principles and benefits of open government. The Sunshine Center is the educational arm of the NCOGC and focuses on outreach efforts to inform citizens about the importance of government openness.

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