Reed Anfinson Named SCSU First Amendment Award Winner

Reed Anfinson Named SCSU First Amendment Award Winner


Reed Anfinson NNANationally prominent community journalist Reed Anfinson has been chosen as the 23nd recipient of the Defense of the First Amendment Award by the faculty of the SCSU Department of Mass Communications at St. Cloud State University.

Anfinson, currently owner/publisher of the Swift County Monitor-News, in Benson, Minn., will accept the 2013 award and add comments about the state of the First Amendment on April 19 at the First Amendment Forum sponsored by the student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the department.

The day-long Forum focusing on best practices and journalistic expectations then and now is called “Heart & Soul:  Community Journalism in Minnesota.”   The event is scheduled at the Atwood Memorial Center Little Theatre.

“This year’s winner fits the theme like a hand in a glove,” said forum coordinator Michael Vadnie in making the announcement.  “Reed’s courage as a community agenda catalyst led him on a path of service to journalism in his home state and at the national level.”

Anfinson is the immediate past president of the National Newspaper Association and past president of the Minnesota Newspaper Association (MNA).  Both are large, advocacy organizations for the news media rights generally and the newspaper industry in particular.  He currently chairs the MNA legislative committee.

Anfinson grew up in a newspaper family and has spent a lifetime in community journalism. From his home base in Benson, Reed has been an advocate for freedom-of-information and First Amendment issues. He has testified before the Minnesota Legislature and the U.S. Congress. In 2010, he received the John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award (named for another recipient of our Defense of the First Amendment Award) from the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information for his work to ensure access to government information and public records.

“Reed Anfinson defines a true champion of the First Amendment,” according to Lisa Hills, executive director of the Minnesota Newspaper Association.  “Throughout his career, he has tirelessly dedicated his time to keep government open and accountable.  Reed believes informed citizens are critical to democracy.”

Hills noted Anfinson takes his role seriously, often saying, “As journalists, if we don’t educate people, who will?”

In his newspaper column, “A Drop of Ink,” Anfinson regularly writes to inform and to educate citizens and government officials about Freedom of Information, open meetings and related First Amendment issues.

“Reed Anfinson represents the best in American journalism,” said SCSU Mass Aommunications Professor Bill Huntzicker, who nominated Anfinson.

The Defense of the First Amendment Award recipient is selected by the faculty of the SCSU Department of Mass Communications to honor a person with Minnesota connections who has exemplified “staunch defense of the First Amendment and its ideals.”   Mark Anfinson, Reed’s brother and a long-time newspaper association lawyer and lobbyist, was the 15th winner of the same award in 2004.

Additional First Amendment Forum sponsors are the Minnesota Newspaper Association, SCSU College of Liberal Arts, the national Society of Professional Journalists, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Upper Midwest Chapter and the St. Cloud Times/Times Media.  Other grant requests are pending.


For more information about Reed Anfinson, the award or the First Amendment Forum, kindly contact SPJ forum coordinator Michael Vadnie at 320-308-2790 or