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The James Madison Freedom of Information Awards recognize Northern California organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of freedom of information and expression in the spirit of James Madison, the creative force

behind the First Amendment. The awards are presented at a ceremony in March during National Freedom of Information Week near the anniversary of Madison’s birth.  Eligible for nomination are Northern California journalists, citizens, media organizations, or community groups which, during 2009, have defended public access to meetings, public records, meetings or court proceedings or otherwise promoted the public’s right to know, publish and speak freely about issues of public concern.

Award Categories (awards may not be given in every category): Professional Journalist, Nonprofit Organization, Source/Whistle Blower, Career Achievement, Citizen, Public Official, Educator, Cartoonist, Legal Counsel, Student Journalist, Electronic Access, News Media.

  • The Professional Journalist and Student Journalist awards recognize journalists who have been involved in fights 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 is given to a governmental official who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to keeping public records or meetings public, or otherwise has taken 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.
    The Norwin S. Yoffie Career Achievement Award is named in honor of a 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 cause of freedom of information.

Submit a nomination

Deadline: Jan. 15, 2010

Questions: Please contact Mark Conrad or Rebecca Bowe at
Please include “James Madison Awards Question” in the subject line.


Presented by the San Francisco Bay Area Association of Healthcare Journalists and the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California chapter.

Join us for our November panel:

Thurs., Nov. 12
6 pm – 8 pm

Bloomberg/San Francisco bureau office

Pier 3, Suite 101

RSVPs by 3 pm Wed., Nov 11. This is mandatory, as we must have ALL attendee names and company info (or freelance) on a list for Bloomberg by end of day 11/11. If you do not RSVP by 3 pm, 11/11, you will not be allowed to attend the event!


Please RSVP to


(Light refreshments will be served; this event is FREE this time; no charge to attend.)


Childhood Obesity: Strategies and Solutions from Bay Area Experts

Stories about food, nutrition, and the health impacts of eating are all over the media lately. The topic is especially significant for kids, who continue to tip the scales more than their peers even a decade ago and risk heading into adulthood with medical conditions that used to be for adults only. What can be done? Bay Area experts are doing some good work to solve this problem; our speakers are among this group, and share some insights and recent work that will inspire story ideas that will resonate with your readers and listeners:

Cam-Tu Tran, MD, is a pediatrician and director of San Francisco General Hospital’s Healthy Lifestyles Clinic, which treats overweight children and adolescents. Under her leadership, her staff has developed innovative ways to help their largely low-income patient population eat healthier and exercise.

Elaine Herscher is senior managing editor at Consumer Health Interactive, and coauthor of Generation Extra Large: Rescuing Our Children from the Epidemic of Obesity (Basic Books, 2005). Her multimedia project “Fat City, Fit City?” was a finalist in the 2009 International Medical and Media Awards

Daphne Miller, MD, has a family medical practice in San Francisco. She is the author of the best-selling nutrition travelogue, The Jungle Effect, (HarperCollins, 2008) for which she traveled the world in search of culinary traditions and recipes that would most benefit her patients.

Remember to RSVP at See you on Nov. 12th.

Colleen Paretty

SF Bay Area Association of Healthcare Journalists

Laurie Udesky

board member, Sociey of Professional Journalists, Northern California chapter, member of AHCJ

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 Discussing International news coverage with Franc Contreras and Laura Villafuerte

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009

6:30 pm-8:30 pm

Harney Science Center, Room 127

University of San Francisco

Hosted by Professor Dorothy Kidd, University of San Francisco Department of Media Studies.

With an Introduction by Ricardo Sandoval, President, Society for Professional Journalism (Northern California Chapter)

 Sponsored by:

 * The Society for Professional Journalists (Northern California Chapter)

* University of San Francisco:

   Department of Media Studies, the Journalism Minor

   The Center for Latino Studies in the Americas (CELASA)

   Latin American Studies

   International Student and Scholar Services.

Franc Contreras: “Drug Violence in Mexico:  One foreign correspondent’s perspective.”

 For nearly 15 years, journalist Franc Contreras has been reporting on Mexico for major international news media organizations, covering virtually every major political and economic story that has taken place since 1996 –including two presidential elections, investigations on human rights abuses, immigration to and from Mexico, and Mexico’s so-called war on drugs. Franc’s reporting often delves deep into the social causes behind these important stories. He also has reported from most countries in Central America, Argentina, Colombia, Haiti and Venezuela.  Franc is currently a Mexico correspondent for Al Jazeera English Television.

Laura Villafuerte: “News coverage of Mexico’s drug war: a Mexican perspective.”

Laura Villafuerte began her journalism career in 1992 anchoring a daily cultural and social affairs program for the Mexican Radio Institute (IMER), a non-profit network heard across Mexico. She worked for several years as a news reporter and editor, and studied how the national news media helped the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) win the 1994 presidential elections. In 2000, she began editing online content for Televisa ( and El Universal, two of Mexico’s best-known Web sites. She is currently the top content and design editor for, which the University of Monterrey recently named the user-friendliest Web site among several large-circulation Mexican newspapers.

All Davies Forum events are free and open to the public. For more information call: (415) 422-6147, email:, or visit

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November 2009
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