October 8, 2015
Downtown Des Moines Marriott, 700 Grand Avenue
The third annual Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government Banquet, titled “Journalism’s Core…The Contemporary First Amendment,” will feature First Amendment expert and educator Ken Paulson as guest speaker.
The banquet, hosted by the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism—IowaWatch with the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and Iowa Newspaper Foundation, will follow a day of raising awareness about the importance of an open government and an unrestricted press to our democracy.
Other events will include a public forum hosted by the Des Moines Register and Iowa Newspaper Association to explore open records and civil rights issues raised by the police use of body cameras, a chance for the public to meet with the Iowa Public Information Board Executive Director Charles Smithson and members of that board, and the Iowa Freedom of Information Council’s annual meeting.
The Iowa Freedom of Information Council will present its annual Harrison “Skip” Weber Friend of the First Amendment award at the banquet. IowaWatch will present its Stephen Berry and Randy Brubaker Free Press Champion awards to a working journalist or journalism educator and to an Iowan who is not involved with journalism but who promotes the role of an unrestricted news media and open government.
Admission to all events except for the banquet is free. Banquet tickets are $55 per person. Please register here by Thursday, October 1.
Guest Speaker: Ken Paulson
Ken Paulson is president of the First Amendment Center and dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University. He is also the former editor-in-chief of USA Today and remains a columnist on USA Today’s board of contributors, writing about First Amendment issues.
Throughout his career, Paulson has drawn on his background as both a journalist and lawyer, serving as the editor or managing editor of newspapers in five different states.
He was on the team of journalists who founded USA Today in 1982 before moving on to manage newsrooms in Westchester County, N.Y., Green Bay, Wis., Bridgewater, N.J. and at Florida Today in Brevard County, Fla.
He also is a former president of the American Society of News Editors, the nation’s largest organization of news-media leaders.
Paulson also was the host of the Emmy-honored television program “Speaking Freely,” seen in more than 60 PBS markets nationwide over five seasons, and the author of “Freedom Sings,” a multimedia stage show celebrating the First Amendment that continues to tour the nation’s campuses.
For 12 years, Paulson was a regular guest lecturer at the American Press Institute, speaking to more than 5,000 journalists about First Amendment issues. He was honored with the API Lifetime Service Award. In 2010 and 2011, he served as chair of the PBS Editorial Standards Review Committee.
In 2007, he was named fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, “the highest honor SPJ bestows upon a journalist for extraordinary contributions to the profession.” In 2008, he received the Robert S. Abbott Memorial Award for Meritorious Service in Mass Communications from the Southern Regional Press Institute. He has also been elected to the Illini Publishing Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois.
In October 2012, he received the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism.
He is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He also has served as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School.
1:00-3:00 p.m. — Des Moines Register/Iowa Newspaper Association forum on the use of police body cameras
- Where: Des Moines Register Community Room, 400 Locust St., Des Moines.
- Join other members of the media and openness proponents to discuss police body cameras and access to recordings from these devices.
- Registration: Although the roundtable is free and open to the public, as a courtesy please pre-register if you plan on attending.
1:30-4:30 p.m. — Meet and greet with Iowa Public Information Board Executive Director Charles Smithson and members of the board.
- Where: Salons F and G, Downtown Des Moines Marriott, 700 Grand Ave., Des Moines
4:30-5:30 p.m. — Iowa Freedom of Information Council annual meeting
- Where: Salons F and G, Downtown Des Moines Marriott, 700 Grand Ave.
5:30-8:30 p.m. — IowaWatch reception and “Journalism’s Core…The Contemporary First Amendment,” the third annual Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government Banquet with speaker Ken Paulson
- Where: Downtown Des Moines Marriott, 700 Grand Ave.
- Registration: Tickets are $55 a plate and registration is required. Please register here by Thursday, October 1.
- Presenting Sponsors — Iowa Freedom of Information Council and Iowa Newspaper Association
- Supporting Sponsor — Associated Press
- Event Sponsors — Faegre Baker Daniels law firm of Des Moines, the Des Moines Register and the Iowa Broadcasters Association
- Additional Support From — University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication