For Immediate Release:
Lauren Rochester, SPJ Awards Coordinator, (317) 927-8000 ext. 210, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew M. Scott, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 927-8000 ext. 215, email@example.com
INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to announce three recipients of the 2010 First Amendment Award for their extraordinary efforts to preserve and strengthen media freedoms.
-Herschel Fink, Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, Detroit
-Carol Rosenberg, The Miami Herald
-David Cuillier, the University of Arizona School of Journalism
The recipients will be recognized Oct. 5 during the President’s Installation Banquet at the 2010 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference in Las Vegas. Click for a list of previous honorees.
Herschel Fink’s 10 years of experience as a newspaper reporter and editor has given him special insight, understanding and credibility in dealing with media law issues. He is recognized by “Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business” as “a highly regarded First Amendment litigator with superlative knowledge of free speech issues.” He is also listed in “The Best Lawyers in America” under First Amendment law.
In his career, Fink fought to keep Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter out of jail for refusing to reveal sources. He also oversaw a Free Press freedom of information lawsuit that helped expose corruption by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
Fink co-authored the “Michigan Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Act” guidebooks published in 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2001 by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Michigan chapter of SPJ, the only time a lawyer has been honored. He has also taught media law at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald has spent the past eight years providing extensive coverage of the Guantanamo Bay detention camps in Cuba.
Her expertise has been vital in chronicling opposition to President Obama’s order to close the camps, and she alone kept close track of Supreme Court-ordered habeas corpus hearings that resulted in release orders and judicial criticism of insufficient evidence that had kept prisoners confined for years.
Rosenberg has faced consistent hostility in covering her beat. Pentagon officials have invited other reporters to meetings she had arranged exclusively and have often stepped in to cancel already approved interviews. In hopes of embarrassing Rosenberg, a Pentagon official filed a baseless sex discrimination complaint in 2009 and leaked it to The Washington Post. Many journalists and military officers scoffed at the complaint and the Herald declared its confidence in Rosenberg.
“Our country’s founders knew that secret courts can abuse their authority and saw a transparent judiciary and independent press as the way to ensure that justice was done,” McClatchy Newspapers Managing Editor Mark Seibel said in his nomination letter. “Carol Rosenberg has fought to make sure that tradition lives on.”
David Cuillier has served as an SPJ newsroom trainer for FOI topics since 2005 and is chairman of SPJ’s national FOI Committee. A former newspaper journalist, Cuillier teaches classes on access to records and conducts research in FOI. He is co-author with Charles Davis of “The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records.”
Cuillier traveled the country by car earlier this year to provide training for SPJ chapters, newsrooms and open government coalitions as part of his Access Across America tour. The tour, which covered 33 states in 45 days, was sponsored by SPJ through a grant by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. You can read more about the tour at http://blogs.spjnetwork.org/aaa/?page_id=2
Cuillier is an assistant professor at the University of Arizona School of Journalism. He is currently a Udall Center for Public Policy research fellow, a recipient of the Nafziger-White Dissertation Award for top Ph.D. dissertation, and first-place recipient of the Promising Professor Award by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is also a recipient of the 2008 SPJ President’s Award.
Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information on SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.