Investigative Reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Gina Barton is an investigative reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Her narrative series, “Fatal Identity,” was followed by charges against a longtime murder suspect. Her book on the case was published in September 2008 and featured on MSNBC. Barton holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a master’s degree from Indiana University – South Bend. She has worked at the Indianapolis Star, the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune and the Huntington (WV) Herald Dispatch. She has received numerous awards for her work, including an IRE certificate, a Casey Medal, the John Jay College award for excellence in criminal justice reporting and the Al Nakkula Award for police reporting.
Assistant Director, OpenTheGovernment.org
Amy Bennett is the assistant director at OpenTheGovernment.org, where she works extensively on the organization’s coalition partner outreach and on policy issues, including improving access to government information and increasing openness and accountability of the federal government. Prior to joining the coalition, she earned a Master’s in Public Policy from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute (GPPI). Amy has previous experience working for a small start-up nonprofit, as a lobbyist for government relations firms, and as an aide for Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).
President, Public Communications Management Strategies
Dan Bevarly is president of Public Communications Management Strategies. Dan’s 28 years of experience in marketing, communications, public engagement and social media spans the public, private and non-profit sectors. Dan leverages traditional management practices with emerging social media technologies to increase the value and impact of organizations by advancing their communication, collaboration and information sharing processes. A native Kentuckian, Dan holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration and resides in Southwest Florida.
Supervisory Correspondent, The Associated Press
Jeri Clausing is supervisory correspondent for The Associated Press in Albuquerque, overseeing the state news report in New Mexico. Clausing has more than 20 years of experience managing, reporting and editing for major news outlets. She worked for the AP in Dallas and as an AP news editor in Wisconsin from 1993-1996. She was the political editor and capitol bureau chief for The Denver Post from 2005-2007, and The New York Times‘ technology correspondent in Washington, D.C., from 1997-2000. Clausing also worked for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Dallas Times Herald and for United Press International in New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana. Prior to returning to the AP last May, Clausing was based in Denver and traveling the world as Travel Weekly‘s senior editor for coverage of the hotel and hospitality industry. She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University with a degree in journalism.
Executive Director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Lucy A. Dalglish is the Executive Director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a voluntary, unincorporated association of reporters and news editors dedicated to protecting the First Amendment interests of the news media. Prior to assuming the position in January 2000, Dalglish was a media lawyer for almost five years in the trial department of the Minneapolis law firm of Dorsey & Whitney. From 1980 to 1993, Dalglish was a reporter and editor at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Dalglish was awarded the Wells Memorial Key, the highest honor bestowed by the Society of Professional Journalists, in 1995. A year later, she was one of 24 journalists, lawyers, lawmakers, educators, researchers, librarians and historians inducted into the charter class of the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. Dalglish earned a juris doctor degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1995. She lives in McLean, Va., with her husband, Mark McNair.
Communications Director and Spokesman for Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe
Matt DeCample is Communications Director and Spokesman for Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. He has worked for Governor Beebe since 2003, when Beebe was elected Attorney General. Prior to that, DeCample worked as a television news reporter and anchor, both in Washington State and Arkansas. Originally from Renton, Washington, he is also a founding member of ImprovLittleRock, an improvisational comedy troupe.
Professor of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Robert Drechsel is professor of journalism & mass communication and affiliated professor of law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He teaches intermediate reporting and courses in mass communication law at the undergraduate and graduate levels. His research has focused on tort and constitutional law affecting mass communication, and on reporter-source interaction in state trial courts. Drechsel is the author of one book, News Making in the Trial Courts, and articles in a variety of legal and communication journals. He is a public member of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council.
Law Fellow, Center for Media and Democracy
Brendan M. Fischer is a law fellow with the Center for Media and Democracy and graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School in December 2011. He has worked as a summer law clerk for the Inter-American Foundation and the Texas Civil Rights Project, and prior to law school, Brendan served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a rural community in Northeastern El Salvador.
Public Policy Director, Tennessee Press Association
Frank Gibson is the public policy director for the Tennessee Press Association, a post he has held since November, 2011. He was the founding director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government (a member of NFOIC) in 2003. TCOG is a press and citizen alliance that works to improve and preserve Tennessee’s public records and open meetings (sunshine) laws. Gibson is a veteran Nashville journalist who worked 40 years as a reporter and editor at The Tennessean in Nashville, covering and supervising coverage of local, state and federal government beats and the courts. He retired as the newspaper’s political editor in 2005 to become executive director of TCOG and held that position until joining TPA. He is past president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition and is a former national president of the Society of Professional Journalists. SPJ’s Project Sunshine was established during his presidency, replacing SPJ’s Project Watchdog, a four-year First Amendment education campaign that ran between 1987 and 1991.
Executive Director, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
Andy Hall, a former Investigative Reporters and Editors board member, won dozens of awards for his reporting in 26 years at the Wisconsin State Journal and The Arizona Republic. At The Republic, Hall helped break the “Keating Five” scandal involving Sen. John McCain. At the State Journal, Hall’s stories held government and the powerful accountable and protected the vulnerable through coverage that addressed the racial achievement gap in public schools and helped spark the creation of the nationally noted Schools of Hope volunteer tutoring program, revealed NCAA violations by University of Wisconsin athletes, and exposed appalling conditions in neglected neighborhoods such as Allied Drive and Worthington Park. Hall won a first-place award in 2008 for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association. He currently serves on the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council Board and the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism Board of Directors, in addition to the Indiana University Journalism Alumni Advisory Board. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.
Executive Director, Investigative Reporters & Editors
Mark Horvit is the executive director of Investigative Reporters & Editors. He oversees training, conferences and services for more than 4,300 members worldwide, and for programs including theNational Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR) and DocumentCloud. Horvit also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, where he teaches investigative reporting. He serves as a member of the board of directors of the National Freedom of Information Coalition. Horvit worked as a reporter, editor and on the projects teams at newspapers in Texas, North Carolina, Missouri and Florida.
President, Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council
Bill Lueders has served since 2004 as the elected president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council (a member of NFOIC), a statewide group that works to protect public access to meetings and records. He is a veteran Wisconsin newspaper editor and reporter who worked for the Madison weekly newspaper Isthmus from 1986 to 2011, before taking his current job as Money and Politics Project Director at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. He has received national awards for editorial writing and reporting on animal issues and state awards for investigative, legal, interpretative and business reporting. He is the author of three books: An Enemy of the State: The Life of Erwin Knoll, Cry Rape: The True Story of One Woman’s Harrowing Quest for Justice and Watchdog: 25 Years of Muckraking and Rabblerousing.
Executive Director, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Mike McCabe is executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks the money in state politics and works for clean, open and honest government. Along with being a leading voice for political reform in Wisconsin, the Democracy Campaign manages the state’s only searchable online database of contributors to state campaigns. Before joining WDC’s staff in 1999, Mike was the Madison Metropolitan School District’s communications director and legislative liaison. He also formerly worked as a state legislative aide and newspaper reporter. He was raised on his family’s dairy farm and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in journalism and political science.
Executive Director, National Security Counselors
Kel McClanahan is an attorney specializing in national security law and information and privacy law. He is Executive Director of National Security Counselors, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering awareness of national security legal issues and providing legal assistance to clients entangled in the national security apparatus. He received his Master of Arts cum laude in Security Studies from the Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, his Juris Doctorate from the American University Washington College of Law, and his Master of Laws in National Security Law from the Georgetown University Law Center. In addition to his work with NSC, he serves as counsel to the whistleblower protection law firm of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP, and he teaches National Security Law at Point Park University. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the National Military Intelligence Association and serves as Associate Editor for the American Intelligence Journal.
Toby Nixon is president of Washington Coalition for Open Government (a member of NFOIC), and a member of the city council in Kirkland, Washington. He served in the Washington State House of Representatives from 2002 through 2006 where he was ranking member of the committee with responsibility for Washington’s open government and election laws. He received the “Freedom’s Light Award” from Washington Newspaper Publishers Association for his work to protect and advance First Amendment interests in Washington. A 35-year computer industry veteran, Toby works in the Windows group at Microsoft, manages relationships with other companies in the computer industry, and represents Microsoft in technical standards development organizations.
Mickey H. Osterreicher
Counsel to Hiscock & Barclay, LLP, and general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA)
Mickey H. Osterreicher is of Counsel to Hiscock & Barclay, LLP in the Media & First Amendment Law Practice Area and serves as general counsel to the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). He is an award winning photojournalist with almost forty years experience in print and television. His work has appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Time, Newsweek and USA Today as well as on ABC World News Tonight, Nightline, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News and ESPN. As a lawyer, Mr. Osterreicher has been actively involved in such issues as cameras in the courtroom, the federal shield law, media access, public photography and copyright infringement. Mr. Osterreicher graduated cum laude in 1973 from SUNY at Buffalo with a Bachelor of Science degree in Photojournalism/Photography and received his Juris Doctor, cum laude from the University of Buffalo Law School in 1998.
Mitchell W. Pearlman
Executive Director Emeritus, Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission
From 1975-2005, Mitchell Pearlman was Executive Director and General Counsel of the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, the world’s first Freedom of Information enforcement agency. He now holds the title of Executive Director Emeritus of that organization. In 2005, Mr. Pearlman also served as the first Executive Director of Connecticut’s Office of State Ethics and the following year was appointed to the Connecticut Governor’s Commission on Judicial Reform. Mr. Pearlman has practiced law for over 40 years and is currently a Lecturer in Law and Journalism at the University of Connecticut. Mr. Pearlman is a Director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government, the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information, the Connecticut Public Affairs Network, and the New England First Amendment Coalition. Author of Piercing the Veil of Secrecy: Lessons in the Fight for Freedom of Information.
Managing Editor, The Valley Journals
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 member of NFOIC), a citizen coalition that works to educate and advocate for open government. She is the SPJ national FOI committee chair. A past president of the SPJ 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 2011 SPJ national Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Chapter Member Award along with the Utah League of Women Voters 2012 Community Service Award.
Senior Vice President/Executive Director, First Amendment Center
Gene Policinski, senior vice president/executive director of the First Amendment Center, has worked as a journalist in newspapers, radio, television and online operations. Co-author of the weekly syndicated newspaper column, “Inside the First Amendment,” and executive producer and a narrator of the touring multimedia stage production, “Freedom Sings,” Policinski came to the Freedom Forum in 1996 from USA TODAY, where he was a founding editor in 1982. He is a member of the board of directors of the Association of Opinion Journalists Foundation; a national trustee of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; a member of the American Society of News Editors and co-chair of the 2012 ASNE convention. Policinski is an adjunct faculty member at Winthrop University; will teach as an adjunct instructor in 2012 at Middle Tennessee State University; and is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Institute for Media, Culture and Ethics at Bellarmine University.
Journalist and Consultant
Hyde Post is a journalist who currently consults on digital product development, and on designing and executing communications strategies for business. Previously, he was vice president, media strategy, for News Distribution Network, a national digital video aggregation and distribution company based in Atlanta. He also served as Vice President, Internet for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and its web portfolio, including ajc.com, and accessatlanta.com until 2009. He was one of the original developers of ajc.com in 1998. Prior to focusing full-time on the web, he worked at the AJC as a reporter, special projects editor and assistant managing editor for local news. Projects he edited and/or directed garnered a number of awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes. He serves as a board member for NFOIC and is a founder of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation (a member of NFOIC).
Executive Director, First Amendment Coalition
Peter Scheer is executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, which is based in California. A lawyer and journalist, Scheer was editor and publisher of The Recorder, a daily legal newspaper in San Francisco, and publisher of Legal Times, a Washington, DC-based weekly on law and lobbying. Scheer practiced appellate law in Washington, DC, both in the U.S. Justice Department and in private practice. He was a partner in the Washington, DC firm of Onek, Klein & Farr, and was general counsel to the National Security Archive. Scheer writes regularly for the HuffingtonPost and his articles on First Amendment issues have appeared in numerous publications. Scheer has received the Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award (from the national Sigma Delta Chi Foundation) and the James Madison Freedom of Information Award (from the Society of Professional Journalists). He serves on the board of directors of NFOIC.
Assistant Professor of Law, Stetson University College of Law
Ciara Torres-Spelliscy is an Assistant Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law where she teaches Constitutional Law and Election Law. Previously she was Counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, working on campaign finance reform and fair courts. Ms. Torres-Spelliscy earned her B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard. She earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School. She is the editor of the 2010 Edition of Writing Reform: A Guide to Drafting State & Local Campaign Finance Laws, and the author of “Has the Tide Turned in Favor of Disclosure? Revealing Money in Politics After Citizens United and Doe v. Reed.” She provides constitutional and legislative guidance to lawmakers who are drafting bills. In 2010, she testified before Congress. She worked as an associate at the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP and was a staff member of Senator Richard Durbin.
J.B. Van Hollen
John Byron (“J.B.”) Van Hollen, Wisconsin’s 43rd Attorney General, was elected on November 7, 2006, and took office on January 1, 2007. After winning re-election by an overwhelming majority, he began his second four-year term on January 1, 2011. Since taking office, Attorney General Van Hollen has prioritized forensic DNA analysis at the State Crime Lab by adding 37 new positions and cutting the average turn-around time for sexual assault cases in half. A philosophy of first principles, limited government, and the Department’s role as an “exist to assist” state agency has guided his tenure as Attorney General. In 2011, General Van Hollen’s peers nationwide elected him to the office of Vice President of the bipartisan National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). In June of 2013, he will become President of NAAG.
Kenneth F. Bunting
Executive Director, National Freedom of Information Coalition
Kenneth F. Bunting became the first full-time executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition in July, 2010. Before joining the NFOIC and the Missouri School of Journalism, he spent parts of four decades as a journalist, executive and leader in the newspaper industry. Most recently, he was Associate Publisher at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where he had also been Executive Editor and Managing Editor. A native of Houston and an alumnus of Texas Christian University, Bunting also worked at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, Cincinnati Post, San Antonio Express-News and Corpus Christi Caller-Times. His passion and advocacy on open government issues goes back decades. He and his wife, Juli, a former broadcast journalist, have one son.