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Alamance News wins national ‘freedom of information’ award

The Alamance News has been recognized by the National Newspaper Association with the top honor – first place – for Freedom of Information in the association’s annual Better Newspaper contest.

Unlike most of the awards – which are typically divided by circulation size and frequency of publication (weeklies and dailies) – the Freedom of Information Award category is judged among newspapers or all sizes and frequencies (weeklies and dailies).

The award was announced during the National Newspaper Association Foundation’s 137th Annual Convention and Trade Show held in Washington, D.C. on September 30.

There were 1,312 entries in the Better Newspaper Editorial Contest; The Alamance News was one of 92 newspapers to win awards.

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Judging was performed primarily by active community newspaper editors and publishers, according to the association, as well as retired university journalism professors and retired or former newspaper professionals.

The newspaper’s entry consisted of five editorials (the contest category limited the number of articles that could be included to five) about various local government boards that had either overtly violated the state’s Open Meetings Law by their secretive deliberations and actions or had engaged in unethical or inappropriate behavior in the process in acting outside the intended scope of state law.

“This is a particularly high honor,” said Alamance News publisher Tom Boney, Jr. “We consider it a reinforcement and encouragement of our core service to the community and our readers when we’re recognized for our ‘watchdog’ role over local governments. There’s no category we take more pride in winning.”

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To read the newspaper’s 5-part entry, read the editorials from 2022 below [Editorials have free access on]

Backroom deals are never a good idea in local government, June 30, 2022:

“Whack-a-mole” in Elon, July 28, 2022:

Geesh, who knew school officials can’t follow basic laws?, August 25, 2022:

Mebane’s city council should be embarrassed and ashamed by its secret meetings, November 10, 2022:

We’re just getting together for a “get-to-know-you” lunch; yeah, right, November 24, 2022:

The Alamance News has also been a frequent winner of the North Carolina Press Association’s similar Freedom of Information award among weekly newspapers in the state.

Two years ago, Boney was honored with a First Amendment Award by the same national association “for taking a stand on behalf of the public and press” for his efforts to keep Alamance County courtrooms open.

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A visiting district court judge held him in contempt, had him handcuffed and removed from the Historic Court House, after Boney had attempted to cover a criminal case over which the judge was presiding.

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