CALL FOR NOMINATIONS! 2015 James Madison Freedom Of Information Awards

Update: The deadline for the James Madison Awards has been extended to Friday, January 23, 2015.

The Freedom of Information Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter, 30th Annual James Madison Sunshine and First Amendment Awards

Contacts: FOI Committee Co-Chairs
Geoffrey King –
Thomas Peele –
The James Madison Freedom of Information Awards recognize Northern California organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to advancing freedom of information and/or expression in the spirit of James Madison, the creative force behind the First Amendment. SPJ NorCal presents the awards during National Sunshine Week near Madison’s birthday, March 16.
Eligible for nomination are Northern California journalists, citizens, public officials, attorneys, educators, librarians and students, as well as news outlets and other organizations that, during 2014, have defended public access to meetings, public records or court proceedings or otherwise promoted the public’s right to know, publish and speak freely about issues of public concern. The awards will be presented at a dinner on Thursday, March 12, at the San Francisco City Club.
Award Categories (awards are not necessarily given in every category; also, we accept suggestions for new categories):
Professional Journalist
Nonprofit Organization
Source/Whistle Blower
Career Achievement
Public Official
Legal Counsel
Student Journalist
Electronic Access
News Media

There is no entry fee. Please submit nominations here and email any supplemental materials to The entry deadline is Friday, January 23, 2015.

Among the awards given are:

·    Professional Journalist and Student Journalist awards that recognize journalists who have fought for access to records, meetings or court proceedings, who have made exceptional use of public records in their reporting or who have promoted education on FOI issues through stories, editorials or other advocacy.
·    The Public Official award, given to a governmental official who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to keeping public records or meetings public, or has otherwise shown exemplary leadership on FOI or First Amendment issues.

·    The Beverly Kees Educator award recognizes extraordinary efforts by educators to cultivate a devotion to the values of freedom of information and/or expression. It is named for the journalist, academician, FOI activist and former SPJ NorCal president who died in 2004.

·    The Legal Counsel award, given to an attorney who has made a significant impact on freedom of information by winning public records or freedom of information lawsuits, representing journalists and advocates and defending the First Amendment.

·    The Nonprofit award, which goes to a non-profit organization such as a firm or news organization that has done significant work on, and advanced the cause of, freedom of information.

·    The Source/Whistleblower award, which goes to a person or persons who have exposed government wrongdoing, malfeasance or other matters of public importance either by turning over information to journalists or to a government whistleblower program.

·    The Norwin S. Yoffie Career Achievement award, named in honor of a founder and stalwart supporter of the chapter’s Freedom of Information Committee, who died in November 2000 after many years of distinguished service to SPJ and the causes of freedom of information and press rights.
For additional information, please see contact information above.