The Pagosa Springs SUN: Gov. John Hickenlooper presented the Colorado Press Association’s (CPA) 2017 Service to the First Award to The Pagosa Springs SUN staff Friday.
The presentation was made in front of nearly 400 journalists at the association’s annual convention held in Colorado Springs.
“This year’s winner shows you don’t have to be a big organization to make an impact or have a large newsroom to keep the government accountable and residents informed,” Hickenlooper said.
The judge of the contest commented, “This is a community newspaper that is doing it right. In a blog written by the CFOIC executive director, he said the paper has: Diligence, knowledge of the law and a devotion to watchdog journalism. Three necessary ingredients to keep government officials accountable and the public informed.”
According to the CPA website, the Friend of the First honor is annually one of the CPA’s most contested awards, and goes to a newspaper media organization that focuses on the First Amendment’s guarantee of a free press, including, but not limited to, fighting the threat of censorship in America, overcoming uneasiness with regard to press credibility, combating government secrecy at all levels, and instilling in the public an appreciation of its need as well as its right to know.
“In the past year, the newspaper has uncovered questionable actions of a local board, including calling out inaccurate or misleading representations in district court filings, reporting on inappropriate board member appointments, and noting bylaw changes that were never officially adopted,” Hickenlooper said.
He continued, “They have uncovered illegal meetings held via email, as well as host of executive session problems, including illegal meetings being conducted, decisions being made in secret session, and failure to make audio recordings of meeting.
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