PRESS RELEASE: Call for James Madison Award FOI nominations

Nominations are encouraged for the 2016 James Madison Awards honoring persons and organizations in northern California who have championed freedom of information and/or freedom of speech/press/expression during the past year or over an extended time span.

The Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter, is accepting the nominations through Friday, Jan. 8. You can access an online entry form at There is no contest entry fee.


Editorial: Open government: The battle never ends

All governments share a common temptation: to use their power to evade accountability. Several police officers proved it again last week in Ferguson, Missouri.

In the middle of heated demonstrations over the shooting of Michael Brown, two reporters – one from the Washington Post – got roughed up and arrested without cause by officers at a McDonald’s restaurant. The officers may have been set off by Post reporter’s refusal to stop filming them with a video camera. They were certainly set off by the journalists’ presence.


Coalition Seeks Open Government

President Barack Obama promised to create “a new era of openness” on the first day of his first term. It’s a sad irony that his administration has continued the 20-year trend of being less and less open to journalists. It has prosecuted leaks and leakers, threatened journalists with jail, denied credentials, and established policies that restrict federal officials from talking to reporters.


Testimony: Reinvigorating freedom of information for the digital age

Among the journalism experts testifying before the U.S. Senate last week was David Cuillier, head of the UA journalism school and president of the Society of Professional Journalists, who spoke about the importance of open government and freedom of information in advance of Sunshine Week. Here is his statement, as prepared for delivery, made on behalf of the Sunshine in Government Initiative:


Sunshine award bestowed on open government advocate Terry Francke

From East County Magazine:

March 28, 2013 (San Diego) – When it comes to open government and public access to government records, times have changed dramatically in California. Much of that change can be attributed to the tireless efforts of Terry Francke, General Counsel of Californians Aware.


SPJ letter urges Wyo. governor to support government transparency

From Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ):

INDIANAPOLIS (February 18, 2013) — Linda Petersen, SPJ Freedom of Information Committee Chair, last week wrote to Wyoming governor Matt Mead asking him to veto a bill concerning public records. The bill, HB223 Public Records — Institutions of Higher Education, would conceal from the public the search process for the University of Wyoming president. Society of Professional Journalists President Sonny Albarado also signed the letter.


Nominations for SPJ Honors

From The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ):

The Society of Professional Journalists annually recognizes exceptional contributions to the media industry through the SPJ Honors. Each award highlights individuals or organizations whose work upholds the pillars of ethical journalism, and we know many journalists and organizations deserve such recognition.

Help SPJ recognize the outstanding members of the journalism community. Take a look at the honors and think of whom you want to acknowledge:


Call for nominations – SPJ presents its 28th James Madison Awards

From Society of Professional Journalists:

The James Madison Freedom of Information Awards recognize Northern California organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to advancing freedom of information and expression in the spirit of James Madison, the creative force behind the First Amendment. SPJ NorCal presents the awards during National Freedom of Information Week near Madison’s birthday, March 16.