First Amendment Workshop Session 3 – Unmasking Covid’s Secrets: Journalists Fight for Information

Zoom Recording

The pandemic has generated a strong need-to-know about all things Covid-related. What happens when the public’s desire for details about Covid-19 collides with the government’s desire for secrecy? Hear firsthand accounts of how journalists in Iowa and in Utah are fighting for information on behalf of the public.


  • Jeffrey Hunt, Utah media law attorney and Iowa State Alumni, Parr Brown Gee & Loveless
  • Randy Evans, executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council
  • Sara Konrad Baranowski, editor of the Iowa Falls Times Citizen
  • Moderator: Julie Roosa, First Amendment Specialist, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication

Free and open to the public.

Friday, April 15, 11-11:50 a.m., Room 163 Hamilton Hall and online


Jeffrey Hunt
Jeffrey Hunt

Jeffrey Hunt practices in the area of commercial litigation, with particular emphasis on First Amendment, media, and intellectual property law. He is a nationally recognized First Amendment and media lawyer, having represented every major news organization in the state of Utah, as well as several national media organizations, including the Associated Press, CNN, Viacom, CBS, and Fox Television Stations, Inc.  Hunt regularly represents media companies and individuals in state and federal courts, and counsels clients on defamation, privacy, intellectual property, freedom-of-information, First Amendment, anti-SLAPP, and related legal issues.

Hunt earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, Order of the Coif.  He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State University.  Prior to law school, Mr. Hunt worked four years as a newspaper reporter, including at the Quad-City Times and Deseret News.


Randy Evans
Randy Evans

Randy Evans of Des Moines is the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, a 45-year-old nonpartisan, nonprofit education and advocacy organization that works for better government transparency and public accountability.

Evans took over the role with the FOI Council in October 2015 after a 40-year career with The Des Moines Register. He joined the Register in 1974. first as a news reporter and then in various editing roles, including state editor, metro editor, news editor and assistant managing editor. He was editor of the Register’s opinion pages during his final four years before retiring.

He began his newspaper career at the age of 16 working for his hometown newspaper, the Bloomfield Democrat. After graduating from the University of Iowa, he spent two years as the editor of the Albia Union-Republican and Monroe County News, weekly newspapers in Albia.

He retired from the Register in December 2014 and began writing a weekly column on government and politics for the Bloomfield Democrat. The column now also appears regularly in more than a dozen other newspapers and news websites.

He also writes periodically in his role as the leader of the Iowa FOI Council. He has testified before subcommittees of the Iowa Legislature on government transparency issues. He also speaks regularly before the Iowa Public Information Board, which is a non-judicial referee over issues involving public meetings and open records.

He and his wife, Sue, have two daughters.


Sara Konrad Baranowski
Sara Konrad Baranowski

Sara Konrad Baranowski is editor of the twice-weekly Iowa Falls Times Citizen newspaper. Before arriving in Iowa Falls in 2006, she worked as a reporter at the Fort Dodge Messenger, West Liberty Index and Cedar Rapids Gazette. She has degrees from the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa, where her interest in journalism was sparked in the offices of the student newspapers. Baranowski has been named to Editor & Publisher magazine’s 25 Under 35 list, and in 2017 she was selected to participate in the Poynter Institute’s Leadership Academy for Women in Media. She’s won state and national awards for her work, and in 2021 she received was named a Friend of the First Amendment by the Iowa Freedom of Information Council for her reporting on the coronavirus pandemic. Baranowski and her husband, Tony, are the parents of 11-year-old twins.



Julie K. Roosa
Julie K. Roosa

Julie K. Roosa is an adjunct assistant professor and the First Amendment Specialist at the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. Her classes include First Amendment law, media law and principles of journalism. She chairs the First Amendment Committee, which coordinates events throughout the year for the Greenlee School’s First Amendment Series. The most prominent event in the series is ISU’s annual First Amendment Days celebration, a nationally recognized event since 2002. Roosa serves as a resource on legal issues related to freedom of speech and press. She also provides outreach and training on First Amendment topics to the campus and community. She earned her law degree from Drake University Law School, where she also earned a master’s degree in mass communication. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Iowa State University. She is a member of the Iowa Bar.