From left: State Bar of Texas President Joe K. Longley; Jason Wheeler of WFAA-TV; Eleanor Dearman of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times; Anita Hassan, formerly of the Houston Chronicle; Jessica Savage and Veronica Flores of KRIS-TV, and Rudy England, chair of the SBOT Public Affairs Committee.

State Bar of Texas President Joe K. Longley and SBOT Public Affairs Committee Chair Rudy England welcomed journalists from around the state as winners of Texas Gavel Awards.

The Texas Gavel Awards recognize excellence in journalism that fosters public understanding of the legal system; educates the public about the rule of law, the legal profession, and the judicial branch of government; and discloses practices or procedures needing correction to improve the justice system.

Winners included Anita Hassan, formerly of the Houston Chronicle and now a member of an investigative team at the Las Vegas Review-Journal; Eleanor Dearman of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times; Krista M. Torralva, formerly of the Caller-Times and now a member of the San Antonio Express-News reporting staff; Jason Wheeler and Tanya Eiserer, both of WFAA; and Jessica Savage, Veronica Flores, Cameron Gorman, and Michael Salazar of KRIS-TV in Corpus Christi.

To read their winning entries and short bios of the recipients go to texasbar.com/gavelawards.

The awards were presented as part of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas’ annual conference and awards luncheon. At that same luncheon, First Amendment attorney Laura Lee Prather was awarded the foundation’s James Madison Award.¬†The award honors those who demonstrate outstanding commitment to upholding the principles of the First Amendment and open government.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar was keynote speaker at the luncheon.