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 spjnorcalfoi@gmail.com.
Please include “James Madison Awards Question” in the subject line.