Temple Daily Telegram, Alvin Sun receive Spirit of FOI Award

CORPUS CHRISTI _ Two Texas newspapers have received the annual Spirit of FOI Award for their extensive work using and examining the state’s open records laws.

The Nancy Monson Spirit of FOI Award, presented by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas and the Texas Press Association, was given Saturday to the Temple Daily Telegram among Class AA, or mid-sized newspapers, and to the Alvin Sun among Class A, or small, newspapers.  There were no entries in the largest size category.

The annual award honors journalists and news organizations for outstanding efforts that uphold First Amendment principles and promote freedom of information and public access to government.

The Temple Daily Telegram staff won recognition for its multi-city audit of government compliance with the Texas Public Information Act. The series of reports found that two police departments were overcharging for records and that other governmental agencies had policies not allowed by law.

Kathleen Holton of the Alvin Sun received the award for shining light on how city officials were running up costs as they considered building a shooting range. The newspaper used the Texas Public Information Act to request emails, meeting minutes and expenses incurred on the proposed project.

The Nancy Monson Spirit of FOI Award is named for the FOI Foundation’s former executive director and longtime advocate for open government and the First Amendment. The award was presented at the Texas Press Association’s summer leadership meeting in Corpus Christi.