John Finnegan, former Pioneer Press editor, pioneer for open government, dies

From St. Paul Pioneer Press:

A First Amendment hero has died. John R. "Jack" Finnegan, a former editor of the Pioneer Press and champion of open government, was 87.


Finnegan was nationally known as an advocate for open meetings and open-records laws. He not only won a string of awards for his efforts, but he also had one named after him, the Finnegan Freedom of Information Award, given by the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information.

Read more about John Finnegan and his contribution to open government: From the release about his 2011 induction into the State Open Government Hall of Fame, and his remarks from the 2011 FOI Summit. (Video link is lower on the page, and Lucy Dalglish's introduction to Mr. Finnegan's acceptance speech follows Gary Bass's keynote address.)


I first met John Finnegan in 1967. Fresh back from Vietnam and with a rich background in media experiences of television, radio, newspapers and public relations, I was ready for a job in the Big Market.


In 30-some years I listened and learned a lot from John and may at times have offered some rural perspective to legislative matters concerning newspapers, media, the people’s right to know, and government’s tendency to shun attention.