James Madison Award

Since 1987, the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas has presented the James Madison Award to journalists, politicians, academics, attorneys and vigilant citizens to celebrate outstanding achievements or distinction in the areas of open government, freedom of information and other related First Amendment issues. Each year, award winners are recognized at the Bernard and Audre Rapoport State Conference.

The James Madison Award recipient for 2016 is Wanda Garner Cash, a veteran Texas newswoman who led multiple newspapers and later became a journalism educator at the University of Texas at Austin. Cash has spent her career mentoring young journalists and advocating for open government.foift_2016_conference_jp1_8160_opt                                  Wanda Garner Cash (Photo by Jack Plunkett)

The award winner for 2015 was Don Adams, a former state senator and longtime champion of open government and First Amendment rights. Adams helped write and pass Texas’ initial open records law in the early 1970s and remained a steadfast advocate for the people’s right to know.

Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas conference in Austin, Texas on Sept. 17, 2015.

Former Sen. Don Adams, accepting the James Madison Award at the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas conference in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 17, 2015. (Photo by Jack Plunkett.)

Other Past Award Winners

2014
Donnis Baggett, Executive Vice President, Texas Press Association

2013
Robert Moore and Zahira Torres, El Paso Times

2012
The Dallas Morning News: George Rodrigue, Managing Editor; Maud Beelman, Editor; Brooks Egerton; Miles Moffeit; Reese Dunklin; Sue Goetinck Ambrose

2011
Evan Smith, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, The Texas Tribune

2010
Joseph Larsen, FOI Hotline Attorney and Special Counsel, Sedgwick LLP – Houston

2009
Rodney Ellis, Texas State Senator – Houston; Todd Hunter, State Representative – Corpus Christi

2008
John Washburn, Software Tester and Citizen Activist – Wisconsin; challenged the Texas governor’s policy of deleting emails after only seven days

2007
Keven Ann Willey, Vice President and Editorial Page Editor, The Dallas Morning News

2006
Craig Flournoy, Assistant Professor, Southern Methodist University; Dan Malone, Instructor of Journalism, Tarleton State University; Gayle Reaves, Editor, Fort Worth Weekly

2005
Greg Abbott, Attorney General, State of Texas

2004
Howard Swindle, Investigative Reporter and Editor, The Dallas Morning News

2003
Katherine (Missy) Minter Cary, Chief, Texas Attorney General’s Office – Open Records Division; Vanessa E. Curry, Journalist and Faculty Member, University of Texas at Tyler

2002
Vanessa Leggett, Author

2001
John Cornyn, Attorney General of Texas; Ann Arnold, Executive Director, Texas Association of Broadcasters

2000
Dolph Tillotson, President and Publisher, The Galveston County Daily News

1999
Jack Loftis, Associate Publisher and Editor, Houston Chronicle; Jeff Wentworth, Texas State Senator

1998
Bob Bullock, Lieutenant Governor, State of Texas

1997
Carole Kneeland, Vice President of News, KVUE TV, Channel 24 – Austin; Ralph Langer, Executive Vice President and Editor, The Dallas Morning News; M. J. Nicchio, Director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs, Texas Daily Newspaper Association

1996
Hadassah M. Schloss, Open Records Administrator, Texas General Services Commission; FOI Hotline Attorneys: Laura Peterson Elkind, Dallas; Karen Fannin, Houston; Rob Wiley, Houston

1995
Jud Dixon, Editor, FOI FOCUS; Robert Lett, Citizen, Spring

1994
Anthony P. Griffin, Attorney, Galveston; Robert A. Klaeger, Attorney, Burnet County; Bob Lott, Editor, Waco Tribune-Herald

1993
Tony Pederson, Managing Editor, Houston Chronicle

1992
Barbara Jordan, United States Representative

1991
FOI Hotline Attorneys: Chip Babcock, Dallas and Houston; Jack Balagia, Houston; David Donaldson, Austin; Tom Leatherbury, Dallas; William (Bill) Ogden, Houston; Don Richards, Lubbock; Paul Watler, Dallas; Tom Williams, Fort Worth

1990
Lloyd Doggett, Justice, Supreme Court of Texas

1989
Robert W. Decherd, CEO, A.H. Belo Corporation

1988
John Henry Faulk, Folklorist and First Amendment Scholar

1987
Kent Caperton, Texas State Senator – Bryan; Juan Hinojosa, Texas State Representative – McAllen