Jane E. Kirtley

Jane Kirtley

A tireless defender of FOIA, through articles, speeches and in testimony before Congress, Jane Kirtley has been the Silha Professor and Director of the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication since 1999.

In that role, she undertakes a variety of scholarly and advocacy activities, both in the United States and abroad, to help preserve the public’s right of access to government information in the digital age. These have included preparing a friend-of-the-court brief in National Archives and Records Administration v. Favish (2004) before the Supreme Court, as well as drafting numerous comments on proposed federal regulations that would restrict access to government data.

Kirtley considers one of her primary missions to be educating the next generation of journalists and scholars to cherish and defend First Amendment freedoms and the public’s right to know. A reporter-turned-lawyer, she has been a vigilant watchdog for FOIA and an outspoken critic of executive-branch secrecy, most recently of Bush administration initiatives that promote greater secrecy in the name of enhancing national security post-9/11.

From 1985-1999 Kirtley was executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, where she oversaw amd expanded the committee’s many efforts to promote FOIA.

Charter member of the Hall of Fame.