FOI Council to host evening with Pulitzer winners Art Cullen, Michael Gartner

The Iowa Freedom of Information Council will host a fundraising program on Friday, June 16, that will feature Art Cullen, the editor of the Storm Lake Times, who won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Art’s selection was the feel-good story of the annual journalism awards.

Art will be “interviewed” by Michael Gartner, who won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing when he owned and was editor of the Ames Tribune.

But knowing Art, I expect he will ask as many questions as he answers. And knowing both Art and Michael, I expect their conversation will stray periodically from Art’s editorials on the ag pollution of the Raccoon River and will get into such other areas as writing hard-nosed editorials in a small community, the “fake news” phenomenon and maybe the affinity both men have for bow ties.

The program will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Temple for Performing Arts in downtown Des Moines. After the program, there will be a dessert and beverage reception with Art and Michael in the Recital Hall.

The program is open to the public. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at:

All proceeds will go to the Iowa FOI Council to help finance its expanding legal efforts on behalf of open government in this state.

In my role as executive director of the Iowa FOI Council, I worked with Art and his reporter son, Tom, in prying loose records that three counties and their lawyers had refused repeatedly to release to the public. The records dealt with the lawsuit the Des Moines Water Works filed against the counties for failing to keep ag pollution out of the drainage system that feeds into the Raccoon River. The river is the principal source of drinking water in central Iowa.

— Randy Evans