Nomination deadline: March 16, 2012
Heroes of the 50 States: The State Open Government Hall of Fame is a joint venture by SPJ 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.”
The formal induction will be made at the 2012 FOI Summit in Madison, Wisconsin.
John R. Finnegan Sr. — 2011, Minnesota
John R. Finnegan Sr., president of the Minnesota Joint Media Committee and longtime Freedom of Information advocate, was inducted into the Open Government Hall of Fame at the FOI Summit in Providence, RI, in May of 2011.
Finnegan is past president of the Minnesota Newspaper Association and of the Newspaper Guild of the Twin Cities, and was chairman emeritus of the Minnesota News Council.
With a colleague, Finnegan drafted the first open meeting law in the State of Minnesota in 1957. He drafted and helped lobby for passage of the state's Data Practices Act in 1974—its first open-records law.
In 2001, Finnegan was inducted into the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame by the First Amendment Center. The Minnesota Coalition on Government Information (MNCOGI) presents an annual leadership award named in his honor.
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 (1MB PDF)
2004 Herb Strentz — Iowa
2003 Michael Donoghue — Vermont
2003 Sue Hale — Oklahoma
2003 Robert Johnson — New Mexico
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 dead, active or retired.
Nominations should include the following:
- Cover letter identifying the nominee and the person or group making the nomination.
- Adequate support material to demonstrate the worthiness of the nominee.
Please send all nominations material to:
- Ken Bunting
- Executive Director, NFOIC
- Missouri School of Journalism
- 101E Reynolds Journalism Institute
- Columbia, MO 65211
- Phone (573) 882-3075; Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.