Taylor was introduced by AJC editor Kevin Riley, who said that the core guidance of the Cox culture is “do the right thing.” That belief, said Riley, is why the family has continued to stand up for the First Amendment throughout its long history in the media business.
The Cox family founded Cox Enterprises in 1898 when Gov. James M. Cox purchased the Dayton Evening News, which is now the Dayton Daily News. Cox Enterprises has remained a family owned company since its inception. The family also maintains a minority stake in the Cox Media Group, which operates several radio and television stations across the United States.
Jane O. Hansen, former AJC reporter, was also recognized as an Open Government Hero. Hansen was a journalist with the newspaper for 25 years, during which time her work was judged a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Public Service. She later served 14 years as the public information officer for the Supreme Court of Georgia.
Former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, who won the Weltner Award in 2009, said Hansen had improved the Court’s reputation for transparency and “provided lifelines for our community by providing vital information for all who had the right to know.”
Hansen told the audience that she believes the First Amendment to the Constitution has never been more important. “Never has there been such a need for truth, accurate facts and the rule of law.”
This year’s awards ceremony marked the 20th year of the event and was the first in-person ceremony since 2019.