News 6 Mike DeForest’s coverage of Florida records delays nominated for open government award

News 6 Investigator Mike DeForest is one of five nominees for a prestigious reward honoring Florida journalists committed to government transparency.

The First Amendment Foundation nominated DeForest for the Lucy Morgan for Open Government Reporting Award for his series of stories on the delay in public records releases by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office.

The First Amendment Foundation said DeForest’s stories exposed systemic issues in the state’s public records laws, like uncovering a log of public records requests that were held up by DeSantis’ office, sometimes for 9 months or more.

The group also praised DeSantis’ story questioning the Florida Attorney General’s silence on these delays and their legality.

“His stories have prompted broader discussions about transparency and accountability in government,” the group said in its announcement.

“Mike Deforest is one of the most valued investigative reporters at WKMG and in the Orlando market,” said Jeffrey Hoffman, News 6 general manager. “Mike’s determination and effort is in service to the taxpayers of the state of Florida. His outstanding work continues to inform our audience in the very best traditions of the First Amendment Foundation.”

The Lucy Morgan Award for Open Government

is named for the Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist who covered politics, government and corruption for nearly five decades for the Tampa Bay Times, with her relentless use of public records requests.

The winner of the award will be revealed on Saturday, June 15 at the Florida State University College of Law in Tallahassee.

DeForest joins the other nominees, including The Villages Daily Sun for its reporting on Hurricane Ian’s death toll, as well as Chris O’Donnell from the Tampa Bay Times, Tracey McManus from the Tampa Bay Times and Lawrence Mower from the Tampa Bay Times.

The First Amendment Foundation is a Florida nonprofit dedicated to free speech, freedom of the press and open government. It is supported by Florida journalism groups.

The group fights efforts to make government less transparent and conducts training sessions for journalists, public officials and Florida residents every year on what Florida’s Government in the Sunshine Laws are and what they mean.

You can listen to every episode of Florida’s Fourth Estate in the media player below:

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