Open meetings and open records are typically issues most people do not think about on a day-to-day basis.

But transparency in government is a cornerstone to a nation that can operate with the best interests of its people.

The “warriors” who fight regularly for openness in government are most often journalists and others in the media. And often that fight is when state governments meet in general sessions and it can be a battle against special interests and big money organizations that prefer to work with as little public scrutiny as possible.

One of those “warriors” is Georgetown’s own David Thompson, executive director of the Kentucky Press Association. Thompson has been with the KPA for 36 years after serving as publisher of the Georgetown News & Times, a predecessor to the News-Graphic. He has the longest tenure as an executive leading such an association in North America.

During that time, Thompson has fought against numerous legislative bills that would weaken the Kentucky Open Records Act. In 1992, Thompson coordinated the last major revision of the act, which was originally passed in 1976. Later he was behind a statewide audit exploring how government agencies were following the open records act.

Tonight, Thompson will receive the Al Smith Award for public service in community journalism. The award is presented by the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and the Bluegrass chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2006, Thompson was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.

We offer our congratulations and appreciation to David Thompson upon receiving such a prestigious award and thanks for the efforts to protect transparency in government for all Kentucky citizens.

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