On November 17, 2020, MNCOGI hosted a virtual 2020 Finnegan award ceremony, followed by a panel discussion that featured APM Reports “In the Dark” team members, and was moderated by Professor Jane Kirtley. Jane Kirtley is the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, and a MNCOGI board member.
View the event here.
MNCOGI’s John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award honored APM Reports “In the Dark” team of host Madeleine Baran, producers Samara Freemark, Natalie Jablonski and Rehman Tungekar, and reporters Parker Yesko and Will Craft for outstanding work on podcasts aired since 2016. One series scrutinized the law enforcement system in the case of the kidnapping and killing of Jacob Wetterling. Another examined the case of Curtis Flowers, who had been convicted in Mississippi for a 1996 murder but won six retrials and a favorable U.S. Supreme Court ruling due to flawed prosecution. The APM team arduously dug into public records, assembled sophisticated data analysis and creatively deployed the narrative podcast form to deliver powerful and compelling exposures of injustice.
MNCOGI’s Lifetime Achievement Award honored First Amendment attorney John Borger (posthumously) for a significant body of accomplishments that helped to advance and preserve the public’s right to government transparency. Borger, a long-time MNCOGI board member, worked for decades to protect Minnesota’s sunshine laws. His dogged commitment to allowing facts to be uncovered and published has benefited all Minnesotans. In landmark public access cases and dozens of everyday open-records and open-meeting battles, Borger fought to assure that public officials lived up to the demands of data practices law. Borger died on December 16, 2019. MNCOGI’s future Lifetime Achievement Awards will be named in his honor.