To mark 2008’s Sunshine Week, the annual journalism industry-wide commemoration designed to draw attention to transparency issues, Mahoney and the Post-Star launched the “Your Right To Know” blog. He says that the blog, which mixes in some national and statewide open government issues, has grown a following, with readers emailing in to share their struggles and triumphs in getting government to respond to their records requests. And while the blog wasn’t part of Mahoney’s Pulitzer entry, it certainly helps define him, as The Oregonian’s Caldwell puts it, as “a one-man wrecking crew for open government.”
The blog is also providing evidence that some local officials are, at a minimum, paying attention. Mahoney tells a story from the recent recount of a couldn’t-be-closer special congressional election that occurred in the paper’s coverage area. As local boards of elections recounted and recanvassed their ballots, one county refused a Post-Star photographer access to the counting room.
“So I wrote something on our blog saying ‘This is B.S.,” remembers Mahoney. “The next day I got a call from the county attorney saying ‘Mark, I looked it up and you’re right. If you want to send a photographer over to be as bored as we are, go ahead.’”