Bruce W. Sanford

Bruce W. Stanford

The general counsel to the Society of Professional Journalists since 1980, Bruce Sanford has helped coordinate and lead legal and legislative efforts to protect and strengthen FOIA, playing a major role in opposing congressional attempts in the mid-1980s to broaden the law enforcement exceptions to the act.

Sanford joined SPJ’s freedom-of-information team in 1981, and has regularly assisted SPJ officers and FOI committee members in preparing statements on key First Amendment issues. In all his FOI efforts for SPJ, he attempts to provide a forceful and effective voice, which, he says, is “modulated but not necessarily moderate.”

Sanford has represented most of the leading national news media and book publishers in his 35-year career, including New York Times Co., the E.W. Scripps Co., Tribune Co., Hearst Corp., Esquire magazine, ABC, NBC, Fox Television, AOL/Time Warner, Random House, Simon & Schuster and Bertelsmann, A.G. He Sanford has defended more than 1,000 libel, intellectual property and First Amendment cases throughout the United States.

In recent years, he has represented President Clinton in the negotiation and publication of a book and won libel and copyright cases brought against First Lady Barbara Bush and John Grisham, respectively.

An accomplished author, Sanford wrote the best-selling trade book, Don’t Shoot the Messenger: How Our Growing Hatred of the Media Threatens Free Speech for All of Us (1999). He is also the author of two major works on libel and privacy: Sanford’s Synopsis of Libel and Privacy and the treatise Libel and Privacy.

Sanford is a former staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from New York University’s School of Law.

Charter member of the Hall of Fame.