Matt Ehling, a television TV producer, documentary filmmaker, writer and MinnPost contributor, has won the John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award, bestowed each year by the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information.
Ehling will get the award at the MNCOGI annual meeting at 4 p.m. March 23 at Minneapolis Central Library. Journalist Amy Goodman is the keynote speaker at the free event.
The award is named for John Finnegan, the retired senior vice president and assistant publisher of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and a bulldog for enforcement of open meetings and open records.
The group said it is recognizing Ehling’s work over two decades of “engaging Minnesotans in the civic process and helping them understand the political workings of our institutions.”
Among his noted FOI initiatives: the founding two years ago of Public Record Media where citizens can explore government documents and learn how to acquire other sources of information.
Says the group:
Throughout his career, he has obtained documents, published articles and created ground-breaking documentaries, including his most recent film, Open Source, which educates the public on citizen engagement. Ehling has worked with legislators, policy experts, media and information advocates to add transparency to Minnesota’s political process and policy making. He produces “Capitol Conversations,” a weekly live-streamed political talk show broadcast from the capitol featuring lawmakers, political pundits, analysts and reporters. Ehling’s written work has also appeared in a variety of publications.
Mr. Ehling’s work brings transparency to Minnesota’s political process, exposes hidden documents and creates content which impacts Minnesotans. He courageously challenges the institutions and powerful people who might otherwise withhold information from the public or obscure their actions from public view. Mr. Ehling’s relentless pursuit of openness reflects the best traditions and principles of the First Amendment. His work enables Minnesotans to gain access to documents, engage in the political process and educate themselves in meaningful and powerful ways.