There are heroes among us. They are heroes who may or may not be well known within their respective states and communities, but whose labors have gone largely unrecognized elsewhere. They are heroes whose efforts have kept state and local government records and meetings open and accessible to their fellow citizens.
Well known for his public advocacy and a frequent panelist and speaker throughout New Jersey, John Paff this year becomes the 15th inductee into the State Open Government Freedom of Information Hall of Fame.
John Paff, New Jersey
2013 Brian Sonntag — Washington
2012 Toby Nixon — Washington
2011 John R. Finnegan Sr. — Minnesota
2010 Robert J. Freeman — New York
2009 Mitchell W. Pearlman — Connecticut
2008 Bill F. Chamberlin — Florida
2007 Frosty Landon — Virginia
2006 Byron M. Baer — New Jersey
2005 John Kuglin — Montana
2004 Herb Strentz — Iowa
2003 Michael Donoghue — Vermont
2003 Sue Hale — Oklahoma
2003 Robert Johnson — New Mexico
Paff’s interest in government transparency began in 2002 shortly after the New Jersey Open Public Records Act was passed. Since then, he has taken a lead role in the work of the New Jersey Libertarian Party’s Open Government Advocacy Project and has served as Project Chairman since 2003. He has also served for the past five years on the board of trustees for the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government, a non-profit organization devoted to improving compliance with the state’s Open Public Records Act and Open Public Meetings Act. Paff is also is a gifted writer and blogs about noteworthy issues at NJ Open Government Notes.
Heroes of the 50 States: The State Open Government Hall of Fame is a joint venture by the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Freedom of Information Coalition. It was developed by leaders in both organizations as a way to recognize long-term contributions of individuals to open government in their respective states.
Specifically, induction into the Hall recognizes “long and steady effort to preserve and protect the free flow of information about state and local government that is vital to the public in a democracy.”
Formal induction occurs at the annual FOI Summit.
The State Open Government Hall of Fame is open to anyone who has made a substantial, sustained and lasting contribution to open government or freedom of information within one particular state. Even if the nominee has been active in national efforts or national organizations, the judges will only consider accomplishments at the state level.
Nominees may come from government, the media, the non-profit sector, the legal profession, or any other area of endeavor that involves citizen access to government records, meetings and procedures.
Nominees may be living or deceased; active or retired.
Deadline for nominations is June 30, 2014.
All nominations should include the following:
Please send all nominations material to:
Judging takes place each year following Sunshine Week. All nominations are evaluated by a Screening/Selector Committee that includes a representative of SPJ, a representative of NFOIC and at least one additional at-large Selector. To ensure the integrity of the process, Screeners/Selectors only become known to each other in the latter stages of judging in any given year.