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FOI Win in Georgia: Defamation Law Repealed
The flow of information: Reporting on water in the west
Judging the Freedom of Information Act in environmental court

FOI Committee
This committee is the watchdog of press freedoms across the nation. It relies upon a network of volunteers in each state organized under Project Sunshine. These SPJ members are on the front lines for assaults to the First Amendment and when lawmakers attempt to restrict the public's access to documents and the government's business. The committee often is called upon to intervene in instances where the media is restricted.

Freedom of Information Committee Chair

David Cuillier
Director and Associate Professor
School of Journalism
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721
Work: 520-626-9694
Bio (click to expand) David Cuillier, Ph.D., is director of the University of Arizona School of Journalism, where he researches and teaches access to public records, and is co-author with Charles Davis of "The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records." He served as FOI chair 2007-11 before becoming a national officer and serving as SPJ president in 2013-14.

Before entering academia, he was a newspaper reporter and editor in the Pacific Northwest. He has testified before Congress on FOI issues twice and provides newsroom training in access on behalf of SPJ. His long-term goal is to see a unified coalition of journalism organizations fighting for press freedom and funded through an endowed FOI war chest.

Home > SPJ News > About SPJ > Experts

SPJ Experts

Have a question or working on a story and need a knowledgable SPJ and journalism-industry source? Try one of these SPJ experts first:

General Journalism/Media Industry Issues

Sonny Albarado | @SAlbarado | 501-244-4321 | Email

Sonny Albarado is projects editor at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. 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.

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Fred Brown | 303-829-4647 | Email

A former editor at the Denver Post, Fred Brown teaches communication ethics at the University of Denver, does analysis for Denver’s NBC television station, and is a principal in Hartman & Brown, LLP, a media training and consulting firm. He is a member of SPJ’s Ethics Committee and revised the latest edition of the textbook “Journalism Ethics: A Casebook of Professional Conduct for News Media.”

Kevin Z. Smith | @ethicsmith | 304-365-4864 | Email

Kevin Z. Smith is a member of SPJ’s Ethics Committee and a past national president. He has more than 25 years experience in reporting, editing and journalism education.

Andrew M. Seaman | @andrewmseaman | Email

SPJ Ethics Committee Chair Andrew Seaman is a medical journalist for Reuters Health in New York. Before coming to Reuters Health, he was a Kaiser Media Fellow at Reuters’s Washington, D.C. bureau, where he covered the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He’s won numerous awards throughout his short career, including being named a 2010 Tom Bigler Scholar for ethical standards in journalism, the 2009 Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award, the 2009 and the Arthur H. Barlow National Student Journalist of the Year Award.

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Freedom of Information/Public Records

David Cuillier | @DavidCuillier | 520-626-9694 | Email

2013-14 SPJ President David Cuillier, a former newspaper reporter and editor, is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Arizona and former chairman of SPJ’s Freedom of Information Committee. He researches public attitudes toward freedom of information and is one of SPJ’s newsroom trainers for acquiring public records. He is co-author of “The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records.”

Linda Petersen | 801-254-5974 | Email

Linda Petersen is managing editor of The Valley Journals in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the chairwoman of SPJ’s Freedom of Information Committee. She is also president of the Utah Foundation for Open Government, a citizen coalition that works to educate and advocate for open government, and has successfully advocated for more open government in the Utah state government.

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Diversity in Newsrooms and News Coverage

April Bethea | @AprilBethea | Email

SPJ Diversity Committee Chair April Bethea is an online producer at The Charlotte Observer where she helps highlight, curate and create content for their website and other digital platforms. She joined the online team in 2013 after more than eight years as a reporter covering topics including county government, education, and breaking news. Bethea also is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and served as president of its Charlotte chapter when it re-launched nearly a decade ago. She was a fellow in the spring of 2014 with the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism.

George Daniels | @BamaProducer | 205-348-8618 | Email

George Daniels is past chairman of the SPJ Diversity Committee and Journalism Education Committee. He currently serves on SPJ’s national board as campus adviser at-large and teaches journalism at the University of Alabama. Before earning a PhD from the University of Georgia, he worked as a news producer at TV stations in Virginian, Ohio and Georgia.

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Digital Media

Alex Veeneman | @alex_veeneman | Email

Alex Veeneman oversees SPJ Digital, the society's new digital journalism community. He's an award-winning journalist who also serves as deputy editor for Kettle and editor-in-chief of Kettle's US edition. His work also has appeared in, the Huffington Post, The Independent, Union Jack News and the Uloop Student News Network.

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Government Relations/Public Notices

Al Cross | @ruralj | 859-257-3744 | Email

Al Cross is director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based at the University of Kentucky, and an assistant professor in UK’s School of Journalism and Telecommunications. He reported for The Courier-Journal for 26 years, where he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1989.

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