Statement on public records case

The Indiana Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists urges the Indiana Supreme Court to stand on the side of the taxpaying public and government transparency, the essential and irreplaceable lubricant that keeps the motor of democracy running.

The Chapter asks the Indiana Supreme Court to review records and information related to a 2014 lawsuit against an executive order on immigration that former Gov. Mike Pence's office withheld from Indianapolis attorney William Groth, and order the disclosure of any public documents that were improperly redacted or refused.

The Indiana Pro Chapter resolutely believes government records should generally be made accessible to the public, and no compelling reason for withholding them was presented in this case.

The public interest is clear.

The Board of Directors of the Indiana Pro Chapter of SPJ is concerned about access to all public records, including those that elucidate why public officials elected by the residents of Indiana would choose to spend tax dollars on a lawsuit against the federal government, a matter that is plainly and self-evidently in the public interest.

A ruling against the “disinfectant” of public access would deprive the public of information they deserve and are entitled to, and embolden elected officials to try to withhold more from the public view. In an era where more individuals embrace transparency on social media, it is inconceivable the government they elect and that is supposed to serve them would be permitted to skulk into a murky darkness that shields them from accountability and goes against the grain of our entire system of governance.

The press and public should be able to see documents that clarify why their elected representatives pursue courses of action, including litigation that transfers tax dollars from public coffers to lawyers' private bank accounts.

Election and Campaign contest category added

At popular request, we’re taking the unusual step of adding a special category to honor top journalism covering Indiana’s tumultuous 2016 political season. The new Election and Campaign Coverage category is meant to recognize outstanding political campaign and Election Day-related reporting.

The new category has been added to all divisions of the Best of Indiana Journalism Contest -- so coverage in broadcast, print and online formats by both professionals and students can be entered. We continue to have our Government and Politics category that recognizes coverage of the functions of our government institutions and political figures.

We hope this new category will capture some of the election drama Hoosiers saw over the past year.

Download the contest details now at this link: http://bit.ly/2id8DZV

 Submitting is easy. Most entries can be submitted in just a few minutes on our contest site: https://awards.indyprospj.org/

Enter Now. The contest deadline is Friday, February 3. 

Best of Indiana contest open for entries

We are now accepting entries for this year's Best of Indiana Journalism contest. Help us honor the best work of our state's professional and student journalists while supporting the chapter's college scholarship program.

The contest has dozens of categories in online, print, radio, and television journalism. Full-time journalists, freelancers and students all welcome to enter. Entry fees are still just $20 for professionals and $15 for students.

The contest is for work published or broadcast during 2016, and nominations can be made for the Indiana Journalism Courage Award, Indiana Journalist of the Year, Indiana Student Journalist of the Year, Indiana Story of the Year, First Amendment Award and Slaymaker Service to Indiana Journalism Award.

All the details on rules and categories: http://bit.ly/2id8DZV

The link to the contest entry site: https://awards.indyprospj.org/

The entry deadline is Feb. 3. The awards banquet will be Friday, April 21, at the Indianapolis Marriott North.

Email any questions to spjawards@gmail.com