Bob Dreps named Wisconsin Watchdog

Attorney Robert J. Dreps, a champion of open government who has represented news organizations in groundbreaking cases for three decades, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Distinguished Wisconsin Watchdog Award.

Dreps, who last month was inducted into the Wisconsin Newspaper Hall of Fame, is retiring from full-time practice at the Madison office of Godfrey & Kahn.

“Thanks to Bob Dreps, the actions of government have been opened to scrutiny, and public officials have been held accountable,” said Andy Hall, executive director of the investigative center. “He is a hero to those who treasure our democracy.”

The award is a highlight of the sixth annual Wisconsin Watchdog Awards reception and dinner, presented jointly by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council and the Madison Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

“Thanks to Bob Dreps, the actions of government have been opened to scrutiny, and public officials have been held accountable,” said Andy Hall, executive director of the investigative center. “He is a hero to those who treasure our democracy.”

The public is invited to the April 20 event, a celebration of open government and investigative journalism. Proceeds support the nonprofit and nonpartisan Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, the participation of young journalists in the event and a special investigative reporting workshop.

Past winners of the Distinguished Wisconsin Watchdog Award are Dave Zweifel, editor emeritus of Capital Times and a founder of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council; the late Dick Wheeler, founder of the Wheeler Report newsletter; U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman, chief author of the state’s open records law; Dave Umhoefer, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; and Meg Kissinger, investigative health reporter at the Journal Sentinel, who has tirelessly exposed flaws in Wisconsin’s mental health system.

The event begins with a reception at 5 p.m. April 20, followed by dinner at 6 at The Madison Club, 5 E. Wilson St. Tickets cost $55 and are available at: http://2016watchdog.eventbrite.com/

Dreps graduated first in his class in 1984 from the University of Wisconsin Law School. He served as a clerk to Judge John W. Reynolds, then chief U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. As a private attorney, Dreps represented the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, the Freedom of Information Council and dozens of newspapers and other news media organizations in state and federal cases.

The Wisconsin Newspaper Association is the lead sponsor of the Wisconsin Watchdog Awards. The MacIver Institute for Public Policy is a supporting sponsor. Event sponsors include the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin, The Cap Times, Wisconsin State Journal, and Schott Bublitz & Engel law firm. Bender Westerberg LLC is a friend sponsor, with additional support from Simpson Street Free Press. Additional sponsors are welcomed. Information about becoming a sponsor is available from Andy Hall at ahall@wisconsinwatch.org and at http://wisconsinwatch.org/about/donations/watchdog-sponsorship/

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About spjmadisononline

The Society of Professional Journalists Madison Pro Chapter
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