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Legal Defense Fund Committee
The LDF 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.

FOI FYI: Latest Posts
– Must read FOI stories – 7/25/14
– Must read FOI stories – 7/18/14
– FOIA should be proactive, not reactive


Legal Defense Fund Committee Chair

Hagit Limor
Investigative Reporter
WCPO-TV
1720 Gilbert Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45202
513/852-4012
E-mail
Bio (click to expand) picture Hagit Limor’s other 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. Hagit also chaired the Online Voting Committee, which led to the vote to go from delegate to One Member, One Vote.

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.


Freedom of Information
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FOI Audit Tookit | PDF
Anti-SLAPP: Protect Free Speech
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GovernmentAttic.org

FOI FYI: SPJ’s FOI Committee Blog
– Must read FOI stories – 7/25/14
– Must read FOI stories – 7/18/14
– FOIA should be proactive, not reactive

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

Linda Petersen
Managing Editor
The Valley Journals
801-254-5974 X 17
E-mail
Bio (click to expand) picture Linda Petersen is the managing editor of The Valley Journals, a group of 15 free, total market coverage, monthly community papers in the Salt Lake Valley, Utah.

She is president of the Utah Foundation for Open Government, a citizen coalition that works to educate and advocate for open government.

A past president of the Utah Headliners pro chapter, she is currently the chapter’s FOI officer and treasurer.

For her open government advocacy, she has received the Utah Press Association John E. Jones Award, the Utah Headliners Clifford P. Cheney Service to Journalism Award and the Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Chapter Member Award.

Home > Legal Defense Fund

Legal Defense Fund

The Society's Legal Defense Fund is 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.

“SPJ and the Legal Defense Fund have provided precisely the support necessary to defend my wrongful arrest in Chicago. Without this financial backing there would be little chance of independent journalists like me to acquire competent representation to take on the resources available to local and state agencies that challenge our right to gather news. Journalists face extraordinary challenges while documenting news events. Having access to the SPJ network of professionals and the LDF is huge.”

— Mike Anzaldi, freelance photographer
Crime scene photographer finds himself on cops’ bad side [Chicago Tribune]

Purpose of the Fund

The Society of Professional Journalists collects and distributes contributions for aiding journalists in defending the freedom of speech and press guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The primary role of the Legal Defense Fund is to initiate and support litigation that enforces public access to government records and proceedings, which can be the most expensive way to defend the First Amendment. The fund can also be a source of support for FOI hotlines, coalitions and newsletters, as well as for legislative lobbying activities aimed at enforcing public access to government records and proceedings.

All requests for money from the Legal Defense Fund will be weighed with special consideration for activities that will effect the most far-reaching and positive outcomes.

How to Request an LDF Grant

Download and complete a LDF application (PDF), stating specifically the purpose for which you are seeking assistance. Be sure to apply any documentation you have to support your request.

If your request is an emergency, call national headquarters at 317-927-8000 or call the chairs of either of the Society’s Legal Defense Fund or the Freedom of Information committees. Be prepared to fax some documentation.

It is helpful for you to first enlist the support of a local SPJ chapter president or regional director. National headquarters can supply names and phones numbers.

Note: A six-person review committee can make decisions on financial requests of up to $5,000 at any time during the year. The Society’s board of directors must review any requests for more than $5,000. The group meets each year in April and October.

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Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center
3909 N. Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
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