Join Us At Our 2017 Banquet

The fifth annual Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government Banquet, titled “Government Transparency: Now More Than Ever,” will feature White House correspondent Jennifer Jacobs as its guest speaker on Thursday, Oct. 5, in Des Moines.

The banquet, at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown and 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.

The banquet will begin with a 5:30 p.m. reception, with serving beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Other events will include a public forum hosted by the Des Moines Register and Iowa Freedom of Information Council, titled, “Iowa’s Creeping Secrecy.” The forum will examine how each year brings more challenges that would erode Iowa’s long tradition of state and local government being open for scrutiny by the public. Speakers will explore this expanding secrecy – and arguments marshaled by various sides.

Access to the first-floor forum is easy at Register Media’s Community Room, 400 Locust St., in downtown Des Moines.

The annual Iowa Freedom of Information Council business meeting at Register Media will follow the forum. The public is welcome to attend that, too.

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, September 28.

Guest Speaker: Jennifer Jacobs

Photograph courtesy Lori Hoffman for Bloomberg

Jennifer Jacobs

Jennifer Jacobs, who grew up in Iowa and worked at The Des Moines Register and The Courier (Waterloo-Cedar Falls ), among other newspapers, before joining Bloomberg Politics, notes that she moved to Washington, D.C. on April Fool’s Day in 2016 to cover Donald Trump.

Politico named her one of 16 break-out media stars of 2016, writing: “Jacobs was already an established force in Iowa before joining Bloomberg Politics earlier this year. After 12 years with The Des Moines Register, Jacobs was one of the preeminent reporters for Iowa’s important presidential caucuses, regularly breaking news about campaigns, (such as troubles in Ben Carson’s campaign) that reverberated across the political spectrum. At Bloomberg, Jacobs was part of a team that regularly broke news about the Trump campaign, from his plans for the conventions, campaign hires, campaign defections to campaign conference calls on strategy.”

Trump once called her “the worst” in the middle of one of his campaign rallies, peeved at how she described his crowd sizes and poll numbers.

Since Trump was sworn in, Jacobs has been writing the inside story on the White House, including breaking that Steve Bannon had been removed from Trump’s National Security Council, that Trump had no tapes of his conversations with FBI Director James Comey, and how Chief of Staff John Kelly’s first week went as he tries to instill discipline in an unruly administration.

Jacobs, 45, is the mother of an airman and an architect.

Events

2:00-4:00 p.m. — Des Moines Register/Iowa Freedom of Information Council forum, “Iowa’s Creeping Secrecy.”

  • Where: Des Moines Register Community Room, 400 Locust St., Des Moines.
  • Registration: Although the roundtable is free and open to the public, as a courtesy please pre-register if you plan on attending.

4:30-5:30 p.m. — Iowa Freedom of Information Council annual meeting

  • Where: Des Moines Register Community Room, 400 Locust St., Des Moines.

5:30-8:30 p.m. — IowaWatch reception and “Government Transparency: Now More Than Ever,” the fifth annual Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government Banquet with speaker Jennifer Jacobs

  • Where: Des Moines Marriott Downtown, 700 Grand Ave.
  • Registration: Tickets are $55 a plate and registration is required. Please register here by Thursday, September 28.
  • For a special room rate the night of Oct. 5, call 1 (800) 228-9290 or (515) 245-5500 and ask for the IowaWatch Banquet rate of $134, plus taxes.

Banquet Sponsors

  • Presenting Sponsors — Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch, Iowa Freedom of Information Council and Iowa Newspaper Foundation
  • Event Sponsors — Faegre Baker Daniels law firm of Des Moines, Iowa Broadcasters Association, Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication and The Des Moines Register 
  • Additional Support From — The Associated Press