Chieftain’s Roper honored with press association’s “Service to the First” award

From The Pueblo Chieftain: The Colorado Press Association on Saturday presented Pueblo Chieftain reporter Peter Roper with the prestigious Service to the First (Amendment) award.

The award is given annually to an individual and/or newspaper that performs outstanding journalism in support of freedom of the press.

Roper was recognized for his comprehensive coverage of issues related to the Pueblo City Council; specifically, a series of illegal email meetings involving a county official and three council members.

The emails, obtained through a Colorado Open Records Act request by the newspaper, showed the four officials making improper policy decisions in covert messages to each other and without the knowledge of the other four council members. The community reacted in outrage, with condemnation coming from the other council members and the public. Eventually, the county official was fired and all three council members resigned; however, the third resignation came too late to stop a recall election against her, so the taxpayers had to foot the bill for a special election rather than seeing the council appoint a replacement.

The award was presented at the CPA’s annual convention in Denver.

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