The IowaWatch banquet celebrating a free and open news media and transparent government was a success!
IowaWatch would like to thank attendees, sponsors, award recipients and the many people who worked behind the scenes to make this event possible.
During the banquet, IowaWatch presented the first Free Press Champion Awards — the Steve Berry Free Press Champion Award, which given to a professional journalist or journalism educator, and the Bill Monroe Free Press Champion Award, which is given to an individual outside the journalism profession who has promoted the cause of a free press and open government.
The Iowa Freedom of Information Council also presented its 2013 Harrison “Skip” Weber Friend of the First Amendment Awards.
• Kathleen Richardson, executive secretary of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and director and associate professor of news/Internet at Drake University School of Journalism and Mass Communication, received the Steve Berry Free Press Champion Award.
Richardson worked at the Des Moines Register for 20 years in a variety of newsroom jobs. After leaving the Register, Richardson worked at the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, a non-profit organization that promotes open government. She became executive secretary of the organization in 2000.
• Sen. Pam Jochum, President of the Iowa Senate and vice-chair of the Rules and Administration and State Government Committees, received the Bill Monroe Free Press Champion Award.
Jochum was instrumental in pushing several years for a bill to establish a way citizens could resolve open records and open meetings disputes with government agencies. Such a bill, establishing an Iowa Public Information Board with the authority to mediate disputes but also carrying regulatory powers, finally passed in the Iowa Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstad in May 2012.
• Arthur Bonfield, the Allan D. Vestal Chair and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Iowa Law School, received the 2013 Harrison “Skip” Weber Friend of the First Amendment Award. His teaching and research interest center on Administrative and Constitutional Law.
Bonfield is the author of three books and 30 law review articles. He also served as the principal draftsman of three different Iowa Civil Rights Acts (1965, 1967, 1978), the Iowa Administrative Procedure Act (1974), the Iowa Open Meetings Law (1978), major revisions and amendments to the Iowa Administrative Procedure Act (1998) and the 2012 Iowa statute establishing the Iowa Public Information Board.
• Daniel K. Miller, retired Executive Director and General Manager of Iowa Public Television, received the 2013 Harrison “Skip” Weber Friend of the First Amendment Award. Before becoming executive director in 2002, Miller was Director of Programming and Production at Iowa Public Television. He has also served as Executive Producer for Public Affairs.
Miller was the first producer of the Des Moines Register debates and wrote and produced See How They Run, a documentary that examined the role played by political reporters in the presidential nominating process.
Featured Speaker: Andy Hall
Andy Hall, founder and executive director of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, WisconsinWatch.org, in Madison, Wisc., spoke at the banquet. Hall has won dozens of awards for his reporting at the Wisconsin State Journal and The Arizona Republic. At The Republic, he helped break the “Keating Five” scandal. At the State Journal, his stories addressed the racial achievement gap in public schools and helped spark the creation of the nationally noted Schools of Hope volunteer tutoring program.
This past year he found himself on the news-making side of his business when the Wisconsin Legislature passed a budget that would have banned his center from being on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and university employees from having a role with the center. Gov. Scott Walker dropped that restriction with a line-item veto. Hall is a director on several journalism-related boards, including that of the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism.
View his presentation:
PRESENTING SPONSOR – The Iowa Freedom of Information Council
SUPPORTING SPONSOR – The Associated Press
EVENT SPONSOR – The Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Gazette and Gazette powered by Source Media Group of Iowa, and the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau