The Champion of Open Government (COG) Award recognizes the passion and mission of ongoing advocacy and contributions to open and transparent government in Ohio. Recipient can be either an individual or organization, including but not limited to:

  • Journalists (Traditional Print; Radio/TV Broadcast; Digital)

  • Government officials/legislators/judicial officials

  • Anyone representing a level of government from a Township Trustee to Governor, and every elected or appointed official in between.

  • Any citizen or lawyer.

Nomination(s) should be sent to Jason Sanford at Nominations should include the name of both the nominee(s) and the person submitting the nomination; contact information; a brief one page synopsis of the nominee’s particular accomplishment; and any other support information (news clippings, links, etc.) that may help the judges to decide.

 Deadline for nominations is December 15, 2018.

Judging will be completed by a panel of engaged and knowledgeable professionals appointed by the OCOG board of directors.

The award will be presented during the Ohio News Media Association Annual Convention in February, 2019.

Previous Winners


Columbus Dispatch reporter Randy Ludlow received the 2018 Champion of Open Government from the Ohio Coalition for Open Government for decades of advocacy and mentoring others on open government issues as well as his service as an OCOG board member.

Ludlow began his career at the age of 16, reporting for the Indianapolis News in his hometown. He attended Indiana University, went to the Shelbyville, Indiana, News, then spent 19 years at the late, great Cincinnati Post. He worked for a decade in the Post’s statehouse bureau.

In 2002, he joined The Dispatch. He’s part of their government reporting team and writes a blog on First Amendment issues called Your Right to Know. He has received dozens of journalism awards, including the 2010 First Amendment award from the Associated Press Managing Editors. Many of his awards stem from tenacious use of public records.


Adam White, a former Olentangy School Board member who won an Ohio Supreme Court decision stating that public officials must deliberate and make decisions in public and cannot circumvent open-meetings laws via email.

In addition, Treasurer Josh Mandel and state Rep. Keith Faber, R-Celina, were honored with 2017 Public Service Awards for Achievement in Public Policy on Open Government. Mandel was honored for creating the state spending website and Faber for sponsoring the bill that created an easy way for Ohioans to appeal government denials of public records.

Read more about the 2017 award here.


Anna Schiffbauer, a former Otterbein University student journalist who filed a lawsuit against her school in order to obtain campus police records. Her suit lead to a groundbreaking decision by the Ohio Supreme Court which declared that the police agencies at private universities at subject to the state's public records act. Read more about her award here.