Brechner Freedom of Information Award now open for entries

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The entry period for the annual Joseph L. Brechner Freedom of Information Award is now open. Applications are due by Feb. 26 and there is no fee to enter.

The Brechner Award recognizes outstanding news coverage that promotes transparent, accountable government. The award is primarily intended to reward journalism that is about the public’s right-to-know and about government secrecy, not just journalism that uses public records as a means to an end. Work by any U.S.-based media organization or individual, in any medium, is eligible for the prize.

The winner will be recognized at a virtual meeting of the Florida Free Speech Forum in April.

For more information on the award and how to apply go to: https://brechner.org/about/awards/.

“We’ve been through an extraordinarily tragic year, but journalists really rose to the challenges of 2020 and did some truly invaluable accountability journalism that we are hoping to help spotlight and recognize,” said UF Journalism Professor Frank D. LoMonte, director of the Brechner Center.

Previous winners have included Kaiser Health News for “Hidden Harm,” which exposed a secret federal database where regulators concealed millions of reported malfunctions in medical devices, The Oregonian for “Benefit of the Doubt,” about how a predatory schoolteacher victimized generations of students with the help of a secretive personnel system, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for “How Atlanta Trampled the Public’s Right to Know,” a series about how the administration of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed dodged open-records laws to evade public accountability.

The Brechner Center presents the award with the support of a generous grant from the family of pioneering broadcast executive Joseph L. Brechner and his wife, Marion. The Brechner Center was founded in 1977 as a source of research and advocacy supporting the public’s right of access to civically essential information, in Florida and throughout the country.

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