Reporting on FERPA Wins Journalism Award

August 4, 2009

A national journalism organization has given its top First Amendment award to two Columbus Dispatch reporters for their investigative work on apparent misuse of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Foundation gave its $10,000 Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award to Jill Riepenhoff and Todd Jones for articles in which they requested documents about college athletics programs as a way to show how unevenly -- and in some cases inappropriately -- institutions applied the federal law designed to protect students' academic records. “[T]hey have taken an arcane, little-understood federal secrecy law and made its harm real and salient to the average citizen,” Frank D. LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, wrote in a nomination letter to Society of Professional Journalists.

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