Harold L. Cross

Friday, January 27, 2006

Harold Cross is widely credited with being the author of the language of the FOIA. His 1953 book, The People’s Right to Know: Legal Access to Public Records and Proceedings, written as legal counsel to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, laid the groundwork for the legislation.

ASNE President James S. Pope lauded the book, the first ever published by ASNE, as presenting “a vision clearer than ours,” and a “potent manual-of-arms” for battle.

Cross was legal counsel for the New York Herald Tribune and served on the faculty of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. He was retained by the Society in connection with ASNE’s dealings with the House Subcommittee on Government Information chaired by Rep. John E. Moss. The committee itself came to depend on his knowledge and expertise greatly, considering him almost a shadow staffer.

Charter member of the Hall of Fame.