SPJ NorCal Postpones March 19 James Madison Awards Dinner

Dear friends:

The Society of Professional Journalists Northern California chapter has decided to postpone its annual James Madison Freedom of Information Awards dinner, which is organized by SPJ NorCal’s Freedom of Information Committee to honor organizations and individuals who have championed free speech and government transparency in the preceding year, due to public health concerns related to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.

It was a difficult decision to make. But the ceremony, scheduled to take place at Delancey Street Town Hall on March 19, falls within the SF Department of Health’s two-week window discouraging large group gatherings, and clearly there is much concern about contagion all around the world. Many of us are, of course, journalists reporting on developments, and after much research and deliberation, we believe it’s in the interests of our award winners and attendees to postpone this event.

We realize this is a disappointment for many, including ourselves, and it’s inconvenient for people who had been planning to attend. SPJ NorCal will offer those who have already paid to attend the option of either holding their tickets for the future date or receiving a full refund. Please contact our chapter at spjnorcal@gmail.com.

At this point, we have not determined when the James Madison Freedom of Information Awards dinner will take place, though we are committed to this celebration of the 1st Amendment and its champions. Before setting a new date, we need to see how this global health issue develops. We will offer at least one month’s advance notice to the public before the James Madison Awards are rescheduled. At that point, we’re sure this will be a wonderful and memorable evening, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with you.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Ben Trefny

SPJ NorCal President