The South Dakota Newspaper Association is accepting nominees for the 2018 SDNA Eagle Award.

This award is given to an individual, group or organization that has demonstrated outstanding efforts to protect and promote openness and transparency in government.

“South Dakota has taken significant strides in advancing the ideals of open government in the past decade, thanks to people who have pressed for transparency and accountability from our elected officials,” said SDNA First Amendment Committee Chairman Tim Waltner, who recently retired as publisher and is continuing as a contributing editor at the Freeman Courier.

“Since 2001, SDNA has recognized some of those individuals through the Eagle Award, including government officials and citizens who have spoken out and stood firmly for the ideals of a well-informed citizenry that is at the heart of our democracy.

“Although we’ve made progress in protecting the ‘public’s right to know,’ the ongoing efforts of citizens, government officials and journalists are essential to ensure that a “government of the people, by the people, for the people” are more than just part a famous speech by Abraham Lincoln,” Waltner said. “Given the current political climate, the ideals of truth, responsibility, accountability and transparency have never been more important.”

The SDNA First Amendment Committee welcomes nominees for the 2018 Eagle Award to honor the efforts of those who have demonstrated their commitment to the ideals of open government.

The first SDNA Eagle Award was given to the 2001 South Dakota Supreme Court for its efforts helping open the Supreme Court to media cameras starting in August 2001.

Recipients of SDNA Eagle Award also include Mitchell School Board member Rodney Hall (2003), South Dakota States Attorney Larry Long (2004), Yankton County Commissioner Brian Hunhoff (2005), Codington County State’s Attorney Vince Foley (2006), state Sen. Jason Gant and the staff of the South Dakota State University Collegian (2007), state Sen. Nancy Turbak Berry (2008), state Sen. Dave Knudson (2009), Sioux Falls resident Gordon Heber (2010), state Sen. Al Novstrup (2012) and state Sen. Corey Brown (2016).

Any individual, group or organization that has demonstrated commitment to the ideals of open government in South Dakota is eligible to be nominated.

Nominations for the 2018 SDNA Eagle Award should be submitted in writing and sent to: SDNA Eagle Award, South Dakota Newspaper Association, 1125 32nd Ave., Brookings, SD 57006. The deadline for nominations is March 15.

Contact SDNA Executive Director David Bordewyk for more information (800-658-3697).

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