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4 Cited in APME Freedom Contest

October 16, 1998

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ A team of Indiana newspapers that revealed violations of the state’s public records law won the top award in the Freedom of Information competition of the Associated Press Managing Editors association Friday.

The newspapers were cited for their unique examination of Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act in each of the state’s 92 counties that uncovered numerous instances of denial of access to public records as well as harassment and intimidation of those seeking the records.

The seven newspapers were The Times of Northwest Indiana, The Star Press of Muncie, the South Bend Tribune, The Evansville Courier, The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne, The Tribune Star of Terre Haute and The Indianapolis Star and The Indianapolis News.

The 28th annual award was presented at the APME conference by Jim Whittum, Freedom of Information Committee chairman and managing editor of The Advocate in Baton Rouge, La.

Four newspapers also were cited for extraordinary effort toward a better-informed citizenry. They were:

_The Kansas City Star, for reporting how federal judges had issued numerous court orders while holding a financial interest in one of the litigants.

_The Delta Democrat Times of Greenville, Miss., for its persistence in uncovering embezzlement by a local official, despite numerous roadblocks.

_The New York Daily News, for its campaign to open family court in New York and show how many children, most of them poor, were falling tragically through the cracks unnoticed.

_The Dayton Daily News, for its investigation into the flawed military health care system, one of the nation’s largest, that showed a lack of significant safeguards and questionable practices.

Entries in the FOI contest covered the period from July 1997 through June 1998. Judges were members of the APME executive committee and the FOI committee chairman.

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