Two longtime Iowa journalists — Brian Cooper, editor of The Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, and First Amendment advocate Michael Gartner, owner of the Iowa Cubs baseball team — were honored by the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch Thursday, Oct. 2, with Free Press Champion Awards. The awards are for their efforts promoting and showing by example the benefits of transparent government in Iowa.
The noted radio talk show host and First Amendment advocate accepted IowaWatch’s invitation to speak in Iowa. IowaWatch, the Iowa Freedom of Information and Iowa Newspaper Foundation are holding the Oct. 2 banquet to bring attention to the public’s right to know.
The request seemed simple: provide your school district’s policy for handling emergencies that require a school lockdown and notifying parents. No one responded the way the Iowa City Community School District did. “Per your request and prior to starting the process, I wanted to inform you that the fee for the work will more than likely be between $25.00-$50.00…”
On October 3, The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch.org and Iowa Newspaper Association will host the first of what organizers hope will be an annual banquet that brings attention to the need of a free press and open government in our democracy. The banquet will feature guest speaker Andy Hall, executive director of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, and the inaugural giving of awards to two people who have had a signi?cant impact on promoting open government and the notion of a free press in Iowa. Also at the banquet, the presenting sponsor Iowa Freedom of Information Council will announce the winner of its annual Harrison “Skip” Weber Friend of the First Amendment award. The banquet, at the Clarion Hotel Highlander Conference Center, 2525 N. Dodge St., is a fundraiser for the Iowa Center for Investigative Journalism, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. Sponsors for the Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government banquet are the Iowa Freedom of Information Council; the Associated Press; The Gazette and KCRG powered by Iowa Source Media; the Iowa City Press-Citizen and the Iowa City-Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau.