Friday, August 03, 2007

Marc Dann joins Dennis Leone by winning the "First Amendment Award"

From John Curry, August 3, 2007
The Society of Professional Journalists of Central Ohio recently awarded the First Amendment Award to our Attorney General Marc Dann. It's nice to know that our retired educator proponent and STRS Board member Dr. Dennis Leone will have good company on a list that many of our legislators will never be considered for! However, they may just be prime candidates for another award that this same group of professional journalists also bestows.... the "Brick Wall" Award! Who, might you ask, are some recipients of this other and embarrassing award that the winners surely will wish that they never won? Well, check out the first list of ethical Buckeyes and then put your boots on before you wade into the "other" list! John
Chapter award winners
For many years, the chapter handed out three annual awards to honor service to journalism and SPJ. In 2001, the chapter’s board voted to add a fourth award — the Brick Wall Award — as a “dishonor” to call attention to public officials who improperly block access to public records or proceedings.
First Amendment Award
This award recognizes significant contributions to the First Amendment rights of freedom of expression. Individuals and organizations both inside and outside of journalism are eligible.
2007 - Marc Dann, Ohio attorney general
2006 - Fred Gittes, Gittes & Schulte
2005 - State Rep. W. Scott Oelslager, R, Canton
2004 - Dennis Leone, former superintendent of Chillicothe Schools
2003 - Martin Rozenman, Suburban News Publications
2002 - Catherine Candisky and Darrel Rowland, The Columbus Dispatch
2001 - Staff of the Ohio State University Lantern
2000 - Thomas A. Schwartz, OSU journalism professor
1999 - Cliff Wiltshire, Suburban News Publications
1998 - Verne Edwards, Delaware Gazette
1997 - Frank Deaner, Ohio Newspaper Association
1996 - Martin Yant, Ohio Observer magazine
1995 - Staff of the Ohio University Post
1994 - The Columbus Dispatch and Editor Bob Smith
1993 - not presented
1992 - Alan D. Miller, The Columbus Dispatch
1991 - The Fairfield County Leader
1990 - Luke Feck, former Dispatch editor
1989 - Andrew Douglas, Ohio Supreme Court Justice
1986 - Sam Perdue, Columbus Citizen-Journal city editor and columnist
1983 - Judge John W. McCormac of the Franklin County Court of Appeals
And now....for the worst of the worst:
Brick Wall Award
Started in 2001, this dubious distinction is presented to the individual or organization that, according to chapter members, did the most to block citizen access to public records and proceedings or otherwise violated the spirit of the First Amendment during the past year. Anyone is eligible, but special consideration will be given to public officials and tax-funded agencies that fail to follow the law.
2007 - Ohio Supreme Court justices Paul Pfeifer, Judith Ann Lanzinger, Terrence O’Donnell, Evelyn Lundberg Stratton and Alice Robie Resnick
2006 - The Ohio Supreme Court for a series of decisions which weakened Ohio’s Open Records law. Particularly onerous was the court’s decision to recognize “executive privilege” for the Ohio governor’s office in Dann v. Taft. This exception is not in the state’s Open Records statutes or the Ohio Constitution. In other record-shielding decisions, the court has blocked newspaper access to photographs of police officers and to the home addresses of state employees – both longstanding public documents.
2005 - Sen. Larry Mumper, R, Marion: Sponsored “Academic Bill of Rights” to limit what professors can say in the classroom; Jacqueline Piar, superintendent of Northridge Local Schools: Dismissed the high school principal and sent public records out of the county to shield them from view and asked the Licking County sheriff to drop a criminal investigation.
2004 - Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Robert S. Tongren: Destroyed a $579,000 consultants’ report to hide it from public scrutiny
2003 - Village of New Rome: Refused to provide documents showing how money was spent or how some officials came to occupy their offices
2002 - The Ohio Historical Society: Refused to follow Ohio laws regarding open meetings or public records, even though it received 75 percent of its annual funding from taxpayers; kept executive salaries secret
2001 - Judge Thomas E. Louden of Delaware County Juvenile Court: Sued by The Columbus Dispatch when he improperly closed a detention hearing and posted deputy sheriffs at the doors of the Delaware County Courthouse to keep the media out of the building
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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