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

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

Melamed, Marquardt and Keat Announced as MDDC Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013

Trio Helped Enact 1991's Open Meetings Act, Leading to Open Meeting Compliance Board
Three tireless advocates for open government have been elected to the MDDC Newspaper Hall of Fame by the MDDC board of directors.
James Keat, a retired writer and editor for the Baltimore Sun; Tom Marquardt, retired editor and publisher of the Annapolis Capital, and Carol Melamed, retired vice president of government relations for The Washington Post, were elected at the board meeting Thursday. They will be inducted into the hall at the Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland in late spring.
Through the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, these three worked on behalf of newspapers throughout the state of Maryland for open meetings, open records and open courts. For most of that time, they jointly led MDDC’s Freedom of Information Committee.
Their signature accomplishment was enactment in 1991 of the Open Meetings Act, which created the Open Meetings Compliance Board. The three created a task force of journalists from around the state which wrote a bill, then worked hard to find sponsors and advocates and to push the bill through the General Assembly. For more than 20 years, that board has helped newspapers and private citizens keep government bodies operating in the open.
Jim Keat was assistant managing editor of the Sun in 1978 when he first became involved in open government issues. He earlier had been a reporter and foreign correspondent for the Sun, and later created the Sunday Perspective section for news analysis. He also was the coordinator of the editorial page and worked on staff recruitment. He retired from the Sun in 1995, but stayed active for many years on FOI committee. In 2000, the association named its annual Freedom of Information Award for him.
Tom Marquardt retired last month from the Capital after a 35-year career at the newspaper. He started his career at the Ypsilanti Press in Michigan, and then was hired as managing editor of the Capital. Later, he became executive editor, and then editor and publisher. He has attended virtually every annual meeting of the Open Meetings Compliance Board, to insure our industry always has a seat at the table. He has led the Capital through numerous fights with public officials over the years to open records and open meetings, to keep government operating in the sunshine.
Carol Melamed retired in 2006 from the Post. In her years as the government relations chief, she worked on every bill introduced in the General Assembly that would have any effect on newspaper issues, especially open government. She also represented the industry before the Rules Committee of the Md. Court of Appeals, and persuaded the court that records should always be presumed open. Her worked has made the state government and the court system much more open than it otherwise would be.
Before the creation of the Open Meetings Compliance Board, any citizen believing that a state or local government body had violated the act was forced to hire a lawyer and go to court to enforce the act. With the creation of the board, citizens finally had an organization that would hear their complaints and issue opinions on their validity.
While the opinions were advisory, they carried great weight in getting boards to change their operating procedures. The success of the act is reflected in the fact that dozens of complaints are filed every year, most by individual citizens.


Advanced Search

Subscribe to our Friday Planner

Facebook button   Twitter button   LinkedIn button   RSS button