About the Center

The Joseph L. Brechner Freedom of Information Award

The Brechner Center sponsors an annual $3,000 cash award recognizing excellence in reporting about freedom of information, access to government-held information, or the First Amendment.

The annual deadline for entries is March 15. Articles or a series of articles strictly related to these topics and published in a general circulation publication will meet contest eligibility. This precludes law journals but would include a newspaper’s Sunday supplement magazine.

Articles for submission should be about freedom of information and not investigative reports about other subjects that were based on information gathered through the Freedom of Information Act or similar legislation. In order to qualify, investigative reports that used open government laws in the reporting process must also discuss problems or issues related to freedom of information. Articles about secrecy in government qualify.

The contest judges are chosen by Frank Lomonte, director of The Brechner Center. Each year he chooses a university professor, a lawyer, and a journalist, all with a special interest or expertise in freedom of information and First Amendment issues. An effort is made to provide a geographic balance to the panel of judges.

There is no entry form. However, we require five original tear sheets or suitable copies. Entries should be mailed to the attention of Frank LoMonte, director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, 3208 Weimer Hall, P.O. Box 118400, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400. Letters explaining the circumstances under which the entries were written and any results of the published stories are welcome.

Articles that have won the award in the past have appeared in the The Asbury Park (NJ) PressSt. Petersburg TimesWashington PostDallas Morning NewsHouston Chronicle, and Columbia Journalism Review. Read more about the Past Winners.

Please feel free to call us at (352) 392-2273 if you need additional information.