Sherman London receives Helen M. Loy Award

LondonThe Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists gave its FOI award to Sherman D. London at the annual Excellence in Journalism Awards Dinner May 23, 2013.

Sherman D. London, a past CTSPJ president and member of the Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame, has been a member of the Freedom of Information Commission since 1996, having been appointed by Gov. John Rowland.

The award, named after the late Helen M. Loy, honors a person who has fought for freedom of information in Connecticut.

A graduate of Rider College in New Jersey, London came to the commission after a distinguished journalism career, during which he reported on local politics and the Connecticut General Assembly. During the last 20 years of his journalism career, London was the editor of both the Republican and the American newspapers in Waterbury.

Since his appointment, London has become known as a “work horse.” Not only does he rarely miss a commission meeting, but he also presides as hearing officer over contested cases on a weekly basis. He has quickly mastered the law and the procedures under which the commission operates, and is studious in preparation. Even simple typographical errors rarely get by him.

At 17 years, London is the commission’s longest serving member. His last term on the commission ends this year.
London’s two careers, first as a reporter and editor and then as a public servant, together demonstrate a decades-long commitment to the values of open government so important to SPJ.

The late Helen M. Loy was a former chairwoman of the Freedom of Information Commission, and one of the trio of original members appointed by then-Gov. Ella T. Grasso. Loy served as a commissioner from 1975-1985 when she died. She worked in various local and state government positions throughout her career.

According to former FOI Executive Director Mitchell Pearlman, “It was said of Helen Loy that she never saw a public record that she thought ought to be kept secret, and, to a large extent, this was true. She believed passionately that democracy requires the greatest amount of public disclosure possible.”

Upon her passing, the Connecticut Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists named its annual Freedom of Information award in her honor. The award honors any member of the public or officials who use the state’s Freedom of Information laws to advance open government.

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