FOIA advocates named to national hall of fame

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

ARLINGTON, Va. — Twenty-one champions of open government will be inducted
into the National
Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame
during the National FOI Day
Conference on March 16.

The new members will constitute the third class of inductees since the Hall
of Fame was established in 1996. New classes are named every fifth year. The
Hall of Fame is sponsored by a coalition of more than 30 organizations that work
for expanded access to government information.

The inductees will be recognized at a luncheon program during the eighth
annual National FOI Day Conference next Thursday, March 16. The conference is
one of a number of events scheduled during the second annual Sunshine Week
beginning on March 12. The federal Freedom of Information Act was signed into
law 40 years ago this year.

“The Hall of Fame was established to recognize the work and accomplishments
of those who have made a difference in the battle against government secrecy,”
said Paul McMasters of the First Amendment Center, who coordinated the selection
process for this year’s group.

McMasters noted that the new members of the Hall of Fame, three of whom are
deceased, have worked on behalf of freedom of information in a variety of
venues, including government, the law, the press, academe and public-interest

Criteria for induction into the Hall of Fame include “long-term or
significant instances of leadership, advocacy, accomplishments or scholarship on
behalf of the federal Freedom of Information Act in particular or open
government in general.”

Members of this year’s Hall of Fame selection committee besides McMasters:
Steven Aftergood, Federation of American Scientists; Scott Armstrong,
Information Trust; Rick Blum,; Scott Bosley, American
Society of Newspaper Editors; Barbara Cochran, Radio-Television News Directors
Association; Lucy Dalglish, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; Jane
Kirtley; Silha Center, University of Minnesota; Robert Leger; Society of
Professional Journalists; Patrice McDermott, American Library Association; and
Pete Weitzel, Coalition of Journalists for Open Government.

The theme of the 2006 National FOI Day Conference is “FOIA at 40.” The
conference and luncheon will take place at the Freedom Forum World Center in
Arlington, Va. The Freedom Forum funds the operations of the First Amendment
Center as well as those of the Newseum, an interactive museum of news under
construction in Washington, D.C., and the Diversity Institute.

The 2006 class of inductees for the National FOIA Hall of Fame:

Andy Alexander, Washington bureau chief, Cox Newspapers
founder and director of OMB Watch
Thomas S. Blanton,
director of National Security Archive at George Washington
Danielle Brian, executive director, Project on Government
David Burnham, co-founder and co-director, Transactional
Records Access Clearinghouse
Hodding Carter III, University of North
Tom Curley, president and CEO, The Associated Press
legal director, Government Accountability Project
Kevin M.
counsel, American Society of Newspaper Editor
Morton H.
director of U.S. advocacy, Open Society Institute
Charles W.
(deceased), FOIA officer in office of Secretary of
Kathleen A. Kirby, counsel, Radio-Television News Directors
Susan B. Long, co-founder and co-director, Transactional
Records Access Clearinghouse
Robert D. Lystad, counsel, Society of
Professional Journalists
John E. Pike, director,
Ronald L. Plesser (deceased), lawyer and expert on
federal information law and policy
Russell M. Roberts (deceased), FOIA
officer at former Department of Health, Education and Welfare
A. Bryan
former senior executive, Department of Energy
general counsel, Electronic Privacy Information Center
M. Susman,
lawyer and expert on federal information law and
Mark Tapscott, director of media and public policy center,
Heritage Foundation

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Contact: Paul McMasters, First Amendment ombudsman, 703/284-3511

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