Richard M. Schmidt Jr.

Thursday, February 9, 2006

American Society of Newspaper Editors legal counsel from 1969 until weeks
before his death in 2004, Dick Schmidt guided ASNE efforts in connection with
the 1974 amendments to the Freedom of Information Act and the 1996 Electronic

A former reporter who also worked in broadcast news, he was working with the
United States Information Agency when FOIA was signed into law in 1966. In 1974,
as ASNE counsel, he went to the White House to fight for the FOI amendment, only
to discover that President Gerald Ford had already vetoed it as “unworkable,
probably unconstitutional.”

Undaunted, Schmidt set out his arguments, which Ford greeted with, “You may
be right.” He then helped FOI advocates J. Edward Murray and William Hornby
orchestrate the successful campaign to override the veto, drumming up editorial
support around the country.

Dick Schmidt died in 2004.

Charter member of the Hall of Fame.