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Freedom of Information
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FOI FYI: SPJ’s FOI Committee Blog
Journalist Handcuffed For Public Records Is Unacceptable
State legislatures veer toward secrecy
The secret state of Massachusetts

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

Jonathan Anderson
Public issues investigative reporter
Marshfield News-Herald
Marshfield, Wisc.
Phone: 920-676-5399
E-mail
@jonathanderson
Bio (click to expand) picture Jonathan Anderson is a public issues investigative reporter for the Marshfield News-Herald in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Before joining the News-Herald, in 2015, Jonathan was a reporter for a pair of newspapers in northern Wisconsin for nearly two years. He has held internships at the First Amendment Center, Wisconsin Law Journal, Wisconsin Public Radio and WISN-TV, and was also editor in chief of his college newspaper, the UWM Post.

Jonathan is an avid requester of public records, and his work in the FOI arena has also entailed advocacy and research. He has been the plaintiff in two lawsuits challenging improper government secrecy. He helped obtain a legal opinion from the Wisconsin attorney general that found University of Wisconsin System student government groups subject to the state’s open meetings law. His master’s thesis, “Resolving Public Records Disputes in Wisconsin: The Role of the Attorney General's Office,” investigated how the Wisconsin attorney general reviews and sometimes intervenes in access disputes. And he has volunteered for the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council.


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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Ethics

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.”

Jonathan Anderson
@jonathanderson | 920-676-5399 | Email

Jonathan Anderson is a public issues investigative reporter for the Marshfield News-Herald in Marshfield, Wisconsin. He is an avid requester of public records, and his work in the FOI arena has also entailed advocacy and research. He has been the plaintiff in two lawsuits challenging improper government secrecy. He helped obtain a legal opinion from the Wisconsin attorney general that found University of Wisconsin System student government groups subject to the state’s open meetings law. His master’s thesis, “Resolving Public Records Disputes in Wisconsin: The Role of the Attorney General's Office,” investigated how the Wisconsin attorney general reviews and sometimes intervenes in access disputes. And he has volunteered for the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council.

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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.

Georgiana Vines
@georgianavines | 865-577-6612 | Email

Georgiana Vines is retired associate editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee. She continues to write a political column twice a week for the paper and does other stories on assignment, including a monthly feature, “Where Are They Now.” After retiring in 2005, she became the Frank Ahlgren Distinguished Lecturer in Journalism and Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee, teaching public affairs reporting, media management and business journalism. She has nearly 50 years experience as a journalist, including as the last editor of the Herald-Post in El Paso, Tex., when The E.W. Scripps Co. closed the paper in 1997. She also worked for newspapers in Florida and Wisconsin. She was inducted into the Friends of Literacy’s East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame with the Lifetime Achievement award on Oct. 22, 2015.

She has been active in the Society of Professionals Journalists, serving as national president in 1992-93. She received SPJ’s Wells Key, its highest honor for volunteerism and the profession, in 1996. She also served was a member and secretary of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation board of directors. She is a board member and a past president of the SPJ East Tennessee Pro Chapter, and a board member of the Front Page Foundation, a new 501c3 formed to assist the East Tennessee SPJ chapter and support other journalism activities.

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Digital Media

Alex Veeneman
@alex_veeneman | Email

Alex Veeneman is SPJ's Community Coordinator, developing the SPJ's community network. He also blogs on social media for Net Worked, SPJ Digital's blog. Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is Co-Student Life Editor and contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK, where he writes extensively on British media trends and social media's future in journalism.

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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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Freedom of Information
About/History
News/Articles
Covering Prisons
Project Sunshine: Find FOI Help
Accessing Government Records
Shield Law Campaign
FOI Audit Tookit | PDF
Anti-SLAPP: Protect Free Speech
Official Secrets Act bill
FOI Groups
Annual FOI Reports
FOI Committee Roster
GovernmentAttic.org

FOI FYI: SPJ’s FOI Committee Blog
Journalist Handcuffed For Public Records Is Unacceptable
State legislatures veer toward secrecy
The secret state of Massachusetts

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.
 

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