February 8, 2010 — The Minnesota Coalition on Government Information (MNCOGI) announced today that Reed Anfinson, publisher of the Swift County Monitor-News, will receive the 2010 John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award. Anfinson will be honored at the annual Freedom of Information Day recognition event, on Tuesday, March 16, noon-1:00 at the Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.
Anfinson is a long-term journalist and advocate for access to government information at the local, state and national levels. He has testified frequently before both the Minnesota Legislature and the U.S. Congress on Freedom of Information and First Amendment issues.
Since 1994 he has co-chaired the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s legislative committee and currently chairs the National Newspaper Association Government Relations Committee. In 2012 Anfinson becomes President of the National Newspaper Association.
For the past 30 years Anfinson has been associated with the Swift County Monitor-News as a reporter, managing editor, and now publisher and owner. In this role he has published frequent editorials and articles on open government, including articles on the state’s Data Practices Act, open meeting regulations and discussions of the impact of video and digital technology on public access.
The Minnesota Coalition on Government Information, a nonprofit corporation formed in 1989, is dedicated to ensuring access to government information and public records. MNCOGI provides public education programs, manages a website and blog, maintains links with other state coalitions and promotes public awareness of information policy issues. In June 2009 MNCOGI hosted the annual Summit of the National Freedom of Information Coalition in Minneapolis.
The Freedom of Information Award, established by the Coalition in 1989, is named for John R. Finnegan, Sr, retired senior vice president and assistant publisher of the St Paul Pioneer Press. Finnegan is founder and stalwart of the Minnesota Joint Media Committee which has consistently supported open records, open meetings and other First Amendment-related causes in the Legislature and other public arenas in Minnesota.
*** Podcast interview with Reed Anfinson about the importance of Freedom of Information (conducted by Renee McGivern) ***
The Freedom of Information Day event is free and open to the public.