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Home > About SPJ > Committees > Legal Defense Fund

Legal Defense Fund Committee Roster

This committee oversees the Society's Legal Defense Fund, a unique account that can be tapped for providing journalists with legal or direct financial assistance. Application to the fund is approved by either a small committee or the national board, depending on the level of assistance sought. The committee works throughout the year raising funds for LDF.

Legal Defense Fund Committee Chair

Hagit Limor
Investigative Reporter
1720 Gilbert Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Bio (click to expand) picture Hagit Limor’s experience with SPJ includes stints as National President; National President-Elect; National Secretary-Treasurer; National Membership Committee; National Finance Committee Chair; current National Legal Defense Fund Committee chair; National Chair of Executive Director Search Committee; Board Member of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation; and Greater Cincinnati Pro Chapter President, membership chairman and current chapter treasurer.

Outside of SPJ, she serves in dual roles as a professor at the University of Cincinnati's Electronic Media Department and as WXIX-TV's Emmy and national award-winning investigative reporter. Her abilities as a writer and reporter have garnered Hagit more than 100 national, state and local awards, including ten Emmy awards, a National Headliner Award, three national Sigma Delta Chi Awards and as a national finalist with the Investigative Reporters and Editors Association. Hagit received bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University.
Legal Defense Fund Committee Members

Voting Members:

Sonny Albarado
Projects Editor
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
121 E. Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201 501/244-4321
Bio (click to expand) picture Sonny Albarado is projects editor at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, a statewide, family-owned daily newspaper based in Little Rock. As projects editor, he supervises a staff of two reporters and assists other editors and reporters in long-term investigative and explanatory journalism.

Albarado has worked as a journalist since 1970, when he became editor of his college newspaper. His first professional newspaper job began in December 1972 in Houma, La. Except for an 18-month period when he helped a couple of friends start a monthly trade magazine in New Orleans, he has worked in newspapers all of his professional life.

He doesn’t count the year he was a part-time disc jockey as work.

He has been an SPJ member since March 1979, joining in hopes of starting a chapter in the rural area he covered for the daily paper in Baton Rouge, La. Baton Rouge had an active press club but no SPJ chapter. He was president of the press club in 1988-89 and received the local PRSA chapter’s “Communicator of the Year” award in 1988.

After moving to Memphis in 1989, he joined the Mid-South Pro SPJ Chapter. He became chapter president in 1992 and remained president throughout most of the 1990s. He also served as secretary-treasurer and chairman of the chapter’s contest committee in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

Albarado became SPJ Region 12 director at the 2006 convention. As regional director, he also became co-director with Region 3’s director of the annual Green Eyeshade Awards program, which recognizes excellence among journalists in 11 southeastern states.

David Cuillier
Assistant Professor
Department of Journalism
University of Arizona
Marshall Building, Room 323
Tucson, AZ 85721-0158
Work: 520/626-9694
Fax: 520/621-7557
Bio (click to expand) picture David Cuillier, a former newspaper reporter and editor, is an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism at the University of Arizona. He researches public attitudes toward freedom of information and is one of the SPJ newsroom trainers for acquiring government documents.

John Ensslin
The Bergen Record

Linda Petersen
Managing Editor
The Valley Journals
254-5974 X 17

Neil Ralston
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd #11070
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1070
Bio (click to expand) picture Neil Ralston serves as a campus adviser at large for SPJ’s national board of directors. He is an assistant professor of journalism at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky. Before joining the faculty at Western Kentucky, Ralston was an associate professor of journalism at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches (NAK-uh-tish), La., where he taught and advised the student SPJ chapter since 1999. Other teaching appointments include Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. Ralston began a career in journalism in 1978 and has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer at weekly and daily newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, Louisiana and Texas. His most recent full-time reporting job was in 1985-89 when he worked for the San Antonio (Texas) Light where he covered city hall, the police, federal law enforcement agencies and the federal courthouse.

Ralston has bachelor's degrees in communication and industrial technology from Northeast Missouri State University and a master's degree in journalism from The Ohio State University where he was a fellow in the Kiplinger Program of Public Affairs Reporting. He earned a doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2002. Additionally, Ralston was named SPJ's campus chapter adviser of the year for the 1998-99 school year. He has been a member of the SPJ board since 2003.

LDF Auction members:

Rebecca Baker

Jodi Cleesattle

Carol Cole Frowe

Allison Barlow Hess

Christine McManus

Ellen Mrja

Tom Ramstack

Neil Reisner

Andy Schotz

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Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center
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