The First Amendment is under attack. Fight back with us. Visit fight.spj.org to find out how.

Member Login | Join SPJ | Benefits | Rates

> Latest News, Blogs and Events (tap to expand)


Advertisement
— ADVERTISEMENT —
Advertise with SPJ
2

News and More
Click to Expand Instantly

SPJ News
Events and Deadlines
SPJ Blogs
Quill Online
Journalist's Toolbox

— ADVERTISEMENT —


Stay in Touch
Twitter Storify Facebook Google Plus
RSS Pinterest Pinterest Flickr


Legal Defense Fund
About the Fund
LDF in action
Federal Shield Law
LDF Auction
LDF Committee
Committee Reports
Legal Advocacy Network


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
Update: One FOIA Request Another Day
When POTUS wants journalism to be a crime, he tweets
Truth is Freedom


Legal Defense Fund Committee Chair

Hagit Limor
Professor of Electronic Media, University of Cincinnati
E-mail
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.


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
Update: One FOIA Request Another Day
When POTUS wants journalism to be a crime, he tweets
Truth is Freedom

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

Danielle McLean
Investigative reporter
ThinkProgress
E-mail
@DanielleBMcLean
Bio (click to expand) picture Danielle McLean is an investigative reporter at ThinkProgress and chair of SPJ’s Freedom of Information Committee. Over the past five years, McLean has worked as an investigative reporter at the Bangor Daily News and has been published in the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, the MetroWest Daily News, the Milford Daily News, and dozens of weekly Massachusetts publications. She was ranked no. 13 in Scout Somerville magazine’s list of the top 40 local leaders in the City of Somerville, Massachusetts for her reporting at the Somerville Journal newspaper and has won the New England Newspaper and Press Association’s government, transportation, business and economic, and courts and crime reporting awards. McLean previously served as president of SPJ’s New England chapter, pushing for public records reform and a free press. Under her watch, the chapter won SPJ’s 2014-15 Circle of Excellence award for Freedom of Information.

Home > Freedom of Information > Legal Defense Fund > First Amendment Forever Fund

First Amendment Forever Fund
A permanent endowment for press advocacy


Rally for the First

It isn’t getting any easier to fight for press freedom. It’s getting worse. Government officials threaten journalists with libel suits, SLAPP suits and subpoenas. Public information officers manage the message, and officials are increasingly gaming freedom of information laws to increase secrecy at all levels of government. Meanwhile, we have fewer and fewer sustainable resources to litigate and advocate for press freedom. The Forever Fund is a sustained war chest to guarantee someone is always fighting for press freedom. If we don’t do it, who will?


Building on the Legal Defense Fund

Since 1972, SPJ's Legal Defense Fund has awarded thousands of dollars to journalists embroiled in disputes over public records, open meetings and the First Amendment. The LDF continues to be a crucial tool for journalists. However, the LDF is sustained annually by contributions, and it can be depleted, and that has happened in the past. The Forever Fund is a permanently endowed account that will always provide a press-freedom war chest, long after we are gone. If you can’t give money now, designate a percentage of your estate in your will toward the fund. We don’t need it when we are dead, but future journalists will!


So many possibilities

In addition to helping journalists sue for public records or defend against subpoenas, we can do so much to fight, advocate and litigate for journalism. Interest earnings from the fund could pay for:

— Trips by SPJ leaders to lobby Congress on FOIA, the shield law, FERPA, or any number of federal issues.
— Grants for other journalism organizations to advocate. For example, the National Press Photographers Association is much better positioned than SPJ to fight for photographers’ rights.
— Proactive litigation to establish better case law, and advocacy for better freedom of information laws.
— Travel expenses to give out Black Hole awards and initiate other parachute offenses, such as the J-Team to fight for student press rights.
— Public education, such as PSAs, advertising, school curriculum development and outreach. If the public doesn’t support journalism, then the politicians certainly won’t.


The long game starts with you!

Creating an endowed fund is not easy, and it takes time. But if we start now we might just see the benefits in our lifetime, and the effects will reverberate long after we are dead.

Give now. Donations to the fund are not tax-deductible because SPJ is a 501(c)6 organization, but every dollar counts. Give online, set up auto-pay for monthly deductions or pay by check.

Legacy gift: Pledge all or a portion of your estate toward the fund in your will.

Press freedom isn’t free. And it isn’t forever, unless we make it so.

Pledge Your Support Now!

Stay in Touch
Twitter Storify Facebook Google Plus RSS Pinterest Pinterest
Flickr LinkedIn Tout


Legal Defense Fund
About the Fund
LDF in action
Federal Shield Law
LDF Auction
LDF Committee
Committee Reports
Legal Advocacy Network


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
Update: One FOIA Request Another Day
When POTUS wants journalism to be a crime, he tweets
Truth is Freedom

 

Copyright © 1996-2017 Society of Professional Journalists. All Rights Reserved.

Legal | Policies

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center
3909 N. Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789

Contact SPJ Headquarters
Employment Opportunities
Advertise with SPJ