Our leaders like to remind us, and the rest of the world, too, that the United States is the most powerful nation on Earth. Yet, the events of the past week are a reminder that the U.S. appears to be incapable of dealing effectively with some events that occur in this country. When news flashed around the globe that a United States congressman had been gunned down by a sniper at a community baseball field outside of Washington, D.C., the first thing many commentators and members of Congress said were along the lines of, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Congressman Steve Scalise.”
Randy Evans is the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. He is a former editorial page editor and assistant managing editor of The Des Moines Register. Visit the Iowa Freedom of Information Council website at: http://ifoic.org/
Costs and time spent defining what qualifies as an open record in Iowa are the biggest impediments to gaining access to information about how government functions and the way public money is spent. The cluster of rules defining public records in Iowa can be confusing or leave room for uncertainty. When a dispute arises, fighting for access to information can incur expensive legal fees.
The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch has joined the Iowa Freedom of Information Council as a First Amendment member because it matches the center’s goal of shining a spotlight on institutions and people who have authority over public policies, trends and events.
The fact that state authorities sought to obstruct disclosure of a police shooting in Burlington explains, in part, why Iowa received an overall grade of D+ in a 2015 State Integrity Investigation conducted by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity.
A former Muscatine Community College student newspaper editor and that paper’s former faculty adviser were awarded the IowaWatch Free Press Champion Award for working Iowa journalists or journalism educators at the annual IowaWatch Celebrate a Free Press and Open Government banquet in Des Moines.
Register now for the IowaWatch annual banquet. First Amendment expert and educator Ken Paulson will be the guest speaker at the third annual Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government Banquet, titled this year “Journalism’s Core…The Contemporary First Amendment.
Iowa has some of the oldest and broadest laws favoring free information and open government, but sometimes those laws aren’t followed. We’ll talk with those charged with keeping the information flowing.
The second annual Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government Banquet — held in Des Moines on Thursday, October 2 — will feature guest speaker Jim Bohannon, host of the nationally syndicated “The Jim Bohannon Show” and “America in the Morning” radio programs.
The banquet, hosted by The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism-IowaWatch with the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and Iowa Newspaper Foundation, will cap a day of bringing attention to the need of an unrestricted news media and open government in our democracy. Registration is required for the banquet. Please register by Thursday, September 25. During the banquet, the Iowa Freedom of Information Council will present its annual Harrison “Skip” Weber Friend of the First Amendment award. IowaWatch will present its Stephen Berry and Bill Monroe Free Press Champion awards to a working journalist or journalism educator and an Iowan who is not involved with journalism who promotes the role of an unrestricted news media and open government.
The IowaWatch banquet celebrating a free and open news media and transparent government was a success! The banquet on Thursday, October 3 was part of a day of events organized by the Iowa Newspaper Association and the Iowa Freedom of Information Council as well as our evening banquet. 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.