List of recipients of Berry, Brubaker awards

STEPHEN BERRY FREE PRESS CHAMPIONS

(For current journalist or journalism educator)

2021: Clark Kauffman, Iowa Capital Dispatch

2020: No awards due to COVID-19 pandemic

2019: Carol Hunter, Des Moines Register

2018: Herb Strentz, Drake University

2017: Randy Evans, Iowa Freedom of information Council

2016: Clark Kauffman, Des Moines Register

2015: Mary Mason and Jim Compton, The Spotlight (Muscatine, IA)

2014: Brian Cooper, The Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA)

2013: Kathleen Richardson, Iowa Freedom of Information Council and Drake University

RANDY BRUBAKER FREE PRESS CHAMPIONS

(For attention to free press principles outside of journalism)

2021: Polly Carver-Kimm, former spokesperson for Iowa Department of Public Health

2020: No awards due to COVID-19 pandemic

2019: Margaret Johnson, Iowa Public Information board executive director

2018: Bill Monroe, Iowa Newspaper Association

2017: Chris Mudge, Iowa Newspaper Association

2016: Harold Hammond (post-humously)

2015: Keith Luchtel, first Iowa Public Information Board executive director, governor’s open government liaison, long-time media lobbyist

2014: Michael Gartner, Iowa Cubs president

2013: State Sen. Pam Jochum, Dubuque

Evans: These men have eloquent guidance

Richard Deming, the son of a grain elevator worker and grocery store clerk from small-town South Dakota, is a modest, soft-spoken man. He has spent the majority of his adult life with people when they are most vulnerable — when they or loved ones are fighting cancer. Ron Fournier came out of a different background. The son of a Detroit, Mich., cop has spent much of his working life as a big-time political reporter, covering our nation’s political leaders, including several presidents. While you might think the two are as different as Madison, S.D., and the Motor City, they are quite similar in one important way: Each has become an eloquent, soul-searching advocate for keeping life in the proper perspective.

Evans: There are more questions than answers in Iowa these days

It may be time for lawmakers to designate an official state punctuation mark, too. 

The question mark seems to be an appropriate choice — especially after the troubling news from our state in the past few weeks, news that has left many Iowans asking “why?”

Some examples: 

Why does it seem as if state health officials do not have a well-planned strategy for vaccinating people in every nook and cranny of our state? And why have people basically been left to fend for themselves by making numerous phone calls trying to find a clinic or a pharmacy or a county health office that has appointments for the shots available? 

Why does it seem as if no one in a position of responsibility has considered until the past week or two how people who do not have computers or internet access, or people who are working during the day, are supposed to make these appointments — especially when vaccination providers in some communities only allow people to sign up online? Why did our governor and our United States senators not use their close relationships with former President Donald Trump to pressure his administrators to ensure that Iowa received a comparable allotment of vaccine doses, based on population, as other states received? 

This is especially vexing because the federal government’s data show Iowa ranked 47th among the 50 states last week, per-capita, in its vaccine supply. Iowa was 46th worst among the states in the proportion of its residents who have been vaccinated so far. That federal data say Iowa has administered 64 percent of its vaccine so far — a percentage that is lower than surrounding states.

Evans: U.S. House is wrong place to decide who won

Tone-deaf. That’s the dismal state of the political discourse in our nation these days. Regrettably, Iowa has an all-too-prominent role in this bumbling lack of awareness of how our democracy is being eaten away by the people who want to be our leaders. Pour yourself a glass of Maalox. You will need it, because your acid indigestion will flare up before we get far in today’s discussion.