Weinstein, McMasters headline FOI Day
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
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.
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.
Gene Policinski, 615/727-1600