Government transparency helps a democracy function, but many communities have a long way to go. One journalism organization is singling out the most secretive government agencies and officials with the Golden Padlock Award. The award, given out by Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), is not much of an honor. This weekend, it went to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, and the EPA. This year’s finalists included Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Appalachian Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Brenda Weaver. We talked with award committee chair Robert Cribb and Savannah State University professor Robert Smith.
Judge Brenda Weaver was nominated for the Padlock Award after jailing a newspaper publisher in Blue Ridge, Georgia because of a public records request. That publisher oversaw the tiny paper the Fannin Focus, which came to an end in December.