Freeing the information - Page 2

From a high school teacher to the Bay Citizen: this year's heroes in journalism

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Award winners represent the broad array of those who work for public accountability

- Patrick Monette-Shaw, this year's Advocacy award recipient, spent nearly two years following a crooked money trail to expose mishandling of millions of dollars at San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital. The scandal he reported in the Westside Observer and his examiner.com articles led to an investigation of the city controller's Whistleblower program.

- Susie Cagle, a cartoonist and journalist, has earned this year's Cartoonist Award for her dedicated reporting on Occupy Oakland and for portraying the confrontation through her art. Additionally, she stood up for the rights of all journalists after being arrested at an Occupy Oakland rally that turned violent.

- Citireport.com, produced by Larry Bush, gets the accolade in the Community Media category for shining a bright light not only on San Francisco government but also on the city's Byzantine political world. Bush, as editor and publisher, has spent nearly 30 years fighting to keep city government publicly accountable.

- Allen Grossman is the recipient of this year's Citizen award for his efforts over the past several years to advance open government at San Francisco City Hall, whether by prodding the city's Sunshine Ordinance Task Force to hold agencies and public officials accountable or by prying loose disclosable records that Ethics Commission staff aides wanted to withhold.

- The Bay Citizen, which put campaign finance data to good use, is to receive the Computer-Assisted Reporting award for its detailed political database on the San Francisco mayor's race in 2011. The Bay Citizen made it easy to track contributions of every stripe. In addition, The Bay Citizen's use of police records and public input has produced a highly interactive chart of bicycle accidents, letting riders pinpoint the most dangerous routes in the city.

The James Madison Freedom of Information Awards is named for the creative force behind the First Amendment and honors local journalists, organizations, public officials, and private citizens who have fought for public access to government meetings and records and promoted the public's right to know and freedom of expression. Award winners are selected by SPJ NorCal's Freedom of Information Committee.

JAMES MADISON AWARDS BANQUET

Thu/15 reception at 5:30 p.m., dinner and awards ceremony at 6:30 p.m., $50 SPJ members and students/$70 general admission

City Club of San Francisco

155 Sansome, SF

www.spjnorcal.org