Journalists and advocates for open government gathered at the seventh annual Wisconsin Watchdog Awards to celebrate efforts to keep the public informed while vowing to remain vigilant in the face of pushback from politicians.
Two citizens, two journalists, one fired government worker and one small but gutsy Wisconsin newspaper are among the recipients of the 2016-17 Openness Awards, or Opees, bestowed annually by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council. The awards, announced in advance of national Sunshine Week (sunshineweek.org), March 12-18, recognize extraordinary achievement in the cause of open government.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigative health reporter Meg Kissinger, who has tirelessly exposed flaws in the mental health system, has been named the 2015 recipient of the Distinguished Wisconsin Watchdog Award.
“Most people in Wisconsin, including public officials, have grown to appreciate the state’s traditions of open government,” said Bill Lueders, council president. “These awards are meant to encourage this trend.”