Freedom of Information celebration to be held Oct. 8

IPIB LogoBy Bob Eschliman


The Iowa Public Information Board, the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, Register Media,, and the Iowa Newspaper Association will be hosting a celebration of freedom of information and open government Thursday, Oct. 8, in Des Moines.

To register for the event, CLICK HERE.

The event will kick off at 1 p.m. at the Iowa Statehouse with a panel discussion about access to recordings from police body cameras. The panel will include the following professionals, who will examine the issues raised by body cameras:

• Judy Bradshaw — director of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy and former Chief of Police in Des Moines;

• Jeremy Rosen — executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa; and

• a representative of the Burlington Hawk Eye newspaper.

The debate over body cameras is increasing around the nation amid calls for more accountability and transparency by law enforcement. At the same time, legislation is being introduced to limit public access to the video footage out of privacy concerns for crime victims and others whose images are captured.

Charlie Smithson, executive director of IPIB, will host a meet and greet beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown. The IFOIC annual business meeting will follow at 4:30 p.m.

The evening will conclude with a reception and banquet at which IFOIC will present a number of awards. The guest speaker will be Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University and president of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, who will discuss “Journalism’s Core … The Contemporary First Amendment.”

Throughout his career, Paulson has drawn on his background as both a journalist and lawyer, serving as the editor or managing editor of newspapers in five different states.

He was on the team of journalists who founded USA Today in 1982 before moving on to manage newsrooms in Westchester County, NY, Green Bay, WI, Bridgewater, NJ, and at Florida Today in Brevard County, FL. He also is a former president of the American Society of News Editors, the nation’s largest organization of news-media leaders.

Paulson also was the host of the Emmy-honored television program “Speaking Freely,” seen in more than 60 PBS markets nationwide over five seasons, and the author of “Freedom Sings,” a multimedia stage show celebrating the First Amendment that continues to tour the nation¹s campuses.

For 12 years, Paulson was a regular guest lecturer at the American Press Institute, speaking to more than 5,000 journalists about First Amendment issues. He was honored with the API Lifetime Service Award. In 2010 and 2011, he served as chair of the PBS Editorial Standards Review Committee.

In 2007, he was named fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, “the highest honor SPJ bestows upon a journalist for extraordinary contributions to the profession.” In 2008, he received the Robert S. Abbott Memorial Award for Meritorious Service in Mass Communications from the Southern Regional Press Institute. He has also been elected to the Illini Publishing Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois.

In October 2012, he received the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism.

He is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He also has served as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School.