Home | Calendar | Contact Us | Site Map | Member Login | Search |

Proudly Serving Maryland, Delaware and D.C. Newspapers Since 1908

Baltimore Sun wins James S. Keat Freedom of Information Award 2019

The Baltimore Sun wins MDDC’s 2019 James S. Keat Freedom of Information Award for its body of work reporting with public records.  Three strong nominations were received for this award.

The award is named for Jim Keat, a retired editor and foreign correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, who was a long-time advocate for public information access. Keat was inducted into the MDDC Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2013 and is a former recipient of MDDC’s Distinguished Service Award.

The entries were judged by MDDC Press Foundation Board members. The judges noted that “all these nominees could be used as best practices. Without resorting to litigation, they were able to pull information out of unwilling public sources.  The environment for news reporting is not good and this is Exhibit A for the importance of journalism.”

Through their commitment to pushing for access to public records, The Sun’s reporting creates real change. The Sun’s publisher and editor-in-chief, Trif Alatzas, remarked “The Sun [held public officials accountable], in large part, by aggressively and intelligently using public records to gather financial data, documents and correspondence that officials wanted to keep secret.”

Alatzas continued on to say “the merging of public records and dogged reporting was at the heart of the newspaper’s work in 2019, enhancing coverage of police, courts, state and local governments, and other institutions…obtaining records was not always easy, requiring reporters to think of ways around recalcitrant officials, often after collaborating with colleagues and editors who have faced similar situations. In each instance the records produced stories that led to increased accountability while highlighting actions that didn’t always put public officials in the best light.”

The Baltimore Sun won the award in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2012 and joins previous award winners Baltimore Brew (2018), Montgomery County Sentinel (2017), The Daily Times (2013), the Carroll County Times (2011), the Maryland Independent (2010), the Frederick News-Post (2008, 2009), and others.

Honorable Mention

Baltimore Business Journal

Nominated for their commitment to a single issue. The BBJ launched an investigation on the deteriorating Harborplace shopping center — and through requests using the Maryland Public Information Act —they told that story. This resulted in an in-depth look at Harborplace's struggles, showing how both the city and owner were at fault.

Capital Gazette

Nominated for their ongoing commitment to freedom of information. Per the Capital Gazette’s letter to the judges, “through the judicious use of the Freedom of Information Act and the Maryland Public Information Act, we do pry loose important documents that show information the public would otherwise never have.” The Capital Gazette used this information to produce stories about the Naval Academy, the Anne Arundel County Public Library, juvenile arrests and citations in county schools and the death of a man whose guns were being seized under Maryland’s new Extreme Risk Protective Order.

Need to pay an invoice?

Pay your MDDC invoice here
Advanced Search

Subscribe to our Friday Planner

Facebook button   Twitter button   LinkedIn button   RSS button