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 2023 deadline for entries is Wednesday, March 1. Stories or a series of stories related to these topics and published in 2022 in a general circulation (non-academic) news medium (print, online or broadcast) will meet contest eligibility.

The prize money is made possible by an endowment created by the Brechner family.

The award is primarily intended to reward journalism that is about the public’s right-to-know and about government secrecy, not just journalism that uses public records as a means to an end.

In 2023, contest judges will be selected by Janet Coats, managing director of the Consortium on Trust in Media and Technology. They typically include a university professor, a lawyer, and a journalist, all with a special interest or expertise in freedom of information and First Amendment issues.

There is no entry form. Entries (links or PDF files are acceptable, so long as the links will lead directly to the article without a login or subscription) may be submitted electronically to Diana Mitsu Klos at consultdmk@gmail.com.

Letters explaining the circumstances under which the entries were written and any results of the published stories are welcome.

The award has been presented annually since 1986. Articles that have won the award have appeared in The Associated Press, Reuters, The Oregonian, Miami Herald, The Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Kaiser Health News. Read more about the past winners.