Weinstein, McMasters headline FOI Day

Thursday, March 15, 2007

  • Agenda

    WASHINGTON — Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein and Paul K.
    McMasters, the Freedom Forum's former First Amendment ombudsman, will be the
    featured speakers at the 2007 National Freedom of Information Day Conference
    scheduled for Friday, March 16, at the National Press Club.

    The First Amendment Center Online will provide coverage throughout the day.

    Weinstein, a noted historian who heads the National Archives and Records
    Administration, will open the ninth annual FOI Day Conference with his speech at
    8:45 a.m. He will discuss NARA’s recent creation of the National
    Declassification Initiative and other efforts by the federal agency to improve
    access to classified and unclassified information.

    McMasters will speak during the luncheon program. He recently retired after a long career in news and First Amendment advocacy for the Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center. He is one of the nation's leading authorities on First Amendment and freedom-of-information issues.

    “We always strive to have the most authoritative voices on FOI as part of our
    programming, and we are most pleased that Dr. Weinstein and Paul McMasters will
    help us continue that tradition this year,” said conference host and organizer
    Ronald K.L. Collins of the First Amendment Center.

    This year's conference theme is “Access: Oversight & Priorities.” A
    number of other prominent experts are on the agenda, which will include two
    panel discussions.

    The first panel, “Publishing Leaks: the Practice & the Law,” will be
    moderated by First Amendment attorney Laura Handman, and include former Los
    Angeles Times
    editor Shelby Coffey, Washington Post national security
    correspondent Dana Priest, former Time magazine editor in chief Norman
    Pearlstine, and former CIA general counsel Jeffrey Smith.

    Appearing on the second panel, “Access Priorities: What Congress Needs to
    Do,” will be Meredith Fuchs of the National Security Archive at George
    Washington University, Anna Laitin, of the House Committee on Oversight and
    Government Reform staff, Laura Rychak, Newspaper Association of America, and
    David Vladeck, Georgetown Law School. Pete Weitzel of the Coalition of
    Journalists for Open Government will moderate.

    Also during the conference, the American Library Association will present its
    James Madison and Eileen Cooke awards to recognize those who have championed
    access to government information and the public’s right to know. In addition,
    recent reports, surveys and publications about FOI and government secrecy will
    be made available at the conference.

    The National FOI Day Conference, one of the events scheduled during the
    national observation of Sunshine Week, is sponsored by the Freedom Forum’s First
    Amendment Center, with Sunshine Week
    and the Sunshine in Government Initiative as co-sponsors, and in cooperation
    with the American Library Association, the Coalition of Journalists for Open
    Government and OpenTheGovernment.org.

    details and information on registering for the conference may be found on the
    First Amendment Center Web site.

    The First Amendment Center works to preserve and protect First Amendment
    freedoms through information and education. The center serves as a forum for the
    study and exploration of free-expression issues, including freedom of speech, of
    the press and of religion, the right to assemble and petition the

    The First Amendment Center is an operating program of the Freedom Forum and
    is associated with the Newseum. The center has offices at Vanderbilt University
    in Nashville, Tenn., and Arlington, Va. Its affiliation with Vanderbilt
    University is through the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies.

    Press contact:
    Gene Policinski, 615/727-1600

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