Big recognition for the little blog that could ...
Congratulations to Save Richmond, that somewhat enigmatic group that exists to Windex the murky windows between the Virginia Foundation for the Performing Arts and the people of Richmond. Don Harrison and Andrew Beaujon have won this year's Laurence E. Richardson Freedom of Information Award. From the press release:
“This recognition is given by the Virginia Coalition for Open Government for [Save Richmond’s] efforts in rooting out financial information about the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation,” wrote Frosty Landon, the executive director of the coalition, in a letter announcing the award. “Our judges were impressed with your aggressive use of the Freedom of Information Act to obtain financial documents and correspondence,” from city and state agencies regarding the arts foundation, Landon wrote to Save Richmond.
The work these guys has done is incredible. Their blog profiles identify them as writers who do a lot of freelancing for some pretty impressive publications so I have no idea where they get the time to go through the FOIA process, much less dig through documents for the kind of information they've provided to the citizens of Richmond. They have been out in front on the arts center story much of the way, and I'm not sure they've really been credited with the real shoe-leather reporting they've done. It's pretty clear they oppose the arts center in its originally proposed form, and maybe that's why they haven't been given the journalistic kudos. Still, it is fair to say that without the work they have done, Richmonders might never have known many of the details of the foundation's funding and spending. The so-called mainstream media could learn a lot from these guys. I wonder what they will turn their attention to next.