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The Society of Professional Journalists’ Northern California Chapter presents the
25th Annual James Madison Freedom of Information Awards
hosted by the
New Delhi Restaurant
160 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

5:30 p.m., no-host bar
6:30 p.m., dinner

To purchase tickets to the event Click Here

Questions? Please contact for additional information, including for information about purchasing a table and other sponsorship opportunities.

More than a dozen individuals and organizations will be honored for advancing freedom of information and the First Amendment when the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter (SPJ NorCal), holds its 25th Annual James Madison Awards Banquet on March 16 in San Francisco.

Mary Fricker, a renowned Bay Area investigative journalist whose work has most recently been showcased as part of the Chauncey Bailey Project, will be honored for a long list of accomplishments with the Norwin S. Yoffie Award for Career Achievement, named for one of the founders of SPJ NorCal’s Freedom of Information Committee.

Rachele Kanigel, an associate professor of journalism and advisor to Golden Gate Xpress publications at San Francisco State University, who has been highly involved in student press rights work nationally, will be honored with the Educator of the Year award, named for the late SPJ NorCal chapter president, Beverly Kees.

SF Public Press / McSweeney’s will be honored with a News Media award for its detailed report on cost overruns for the east span replacement of the Bay Bridge.

Reporters Sean Webby of the San Jose Mercury News and G.W. Schulz of the Center for Investigative Reporting, each of whom published hard-hitting investigative series exploring police misconduct and homeland security funding, respectively, are both winners of the Professional Journalist award.

State Senator Leland Yee will receive the Public Official award for his commitment to open government and for helping to craft legislation that protects professional journalists and journalism students.

Ann Brick, who served as staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC) for 20 years until her recent retirement, will be honored for an impressive career marked by several high-profile First Amendment cases, such as the AT&T / National Security Agency wiretapping lawsuit filed in 2006.

Other honorees include Daniel Borenstein of the Contra Costa Times for his series of columns spotlighting public-employee pension spiking. Nonprofit Californians Aware is being recognized for its commitment to defending the public’s right to know, even after being hit with burdensome attorney’s fees when it tried to challenge a violation of state open-meeting laws. Reporters Phillip Reese of The Sacramento Bee and Thomas Peele and Daniel Willis of the Bay Area News Group will be honored with Computer Assisted Reporting awards for creating vast databases using public records that were tough to obtain. Melissa Nix will receive the Citizen Award for her hard work bringing to light police mishandling of the mysterious death of Hugues de la Plaza. And Rita Williams of KTVU-TV News will receive the Public Service award for fighting to establish a media room for broadcast news reporters in the San Francisco federal building .

We also are awarding a photojournalist, who, as a student at San Francisco State University, successfully invoked California’s shield law to fend off efforts by police to obtain photos he took at the scene of a murder. The student feared for his life after witnessing the murder and remains anonymous.

The James Madison Freedom of Information Awards is named for the creative force behind the First Amendment and honors local journalists, organizations, public officials and private citizens who have fought for freedom of speech, press, and peaceable assembly, and for public access to government meetings and records and have promoted the public’s right to know. Award winners are selected by SPJ NorCal’s Freedom of Information Committee.

Read more about the awards in the press release.


25th Annual James Madison
Freedom of Information Awards

The Freedom of Information Committee is a volunteer arm of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Northern California chapter. Each year, the committee hosts the James Madison Freedom of Information Awards to honor those who have fought to advance the public’s right to know. The FOI Committee is pleased to offer the following hosting and sponsorship opportunities for the 2010 Madison Awards dinner to be held March 16, 2010 at New Delhi Restaurant. Each host will be recognized by the emcees and on printed materials distributed with the event programs. Any of these hosting opportunities may be combined.

  • Wine and Beverage Service Host – $2000. Be the most popular attendee in the room! Host the service of wine and non-alcoholic beverages during dinner service.
  • First Round Host – $1000. The pre-dinner cocktail hour (5:30-6:30 PM) is a great chance to catch up with fellow FOI champions and otherwise shmooze. With your sponsorship, each attendee will receive a ticket redeemable for one drink at the bar.
  • Dessert Host – $700. A tantalizing dessert will wrap up the delectable Indian dinner. Host the dessert service and the attendees will be forever grateful.
  • Cocktail Appetizers Host – $500. Host the passed appetizer service during the cocktail hour. We can’t put your name on each samosa, but we’ll make sure everyone knows who to thank.
  • Table Host — $1000 level. One table (ten seats) for your own use at the awards dinner. Larger table sizes may also be available.
  • Table Host — $650 level. One table (ten seats) donated back for use by award recipients and their guests, as determined by the FOI Committee. Written materials at the event will acknowledge that X hosted award recipients and guests. Larger table sizes may also be available.
  • Program Sponsor — $100. You will be duly noted as a proud supporter of SPJ Nor Cal and the FOI Committee.

The FOI Committee accepts sponsorships from individuals, media companies and other organizations whose activities are consistent with our own mission and do not present a real or apparent conflict of interest for our members. We do not accept sponsorships from organizations with no apparent interest in the public’s right to know.  The committee retains complete control over all aspects of the Madison Awards dinner and any printed materials distributed at the event. Sponsorship includes only those privileges clearly stated in this letter.  The committee also provides for full public disclosure of its funding sources. A copy of these guidelines will be provided to sponsors and prospective sponsors and anyone else who requests it. For more information, please contact the Committee at

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