National FOIA Hall of Fame

In 1996, the Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame, co-sponsored by SPJ and the Freedom Forum, inducted its first 24 honorees.

The FOI Center is proud to say that four of those persons either worked for or had strong associations with the Center.

Be sure to visit the First Amendment Center for more information regarding the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame.

freedom of press stampEarl English—Dean of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and founder of the Freedom of Information Center in 1958, he testified extensively before numerous Senate committees in the ‘50s and ‘60s on the need for FOIA. He vigorously pushed the Missouri congressional delegation, particularly Sen. Edward Long, to pass the necessary legislation. What, he asked, was the point of training reporters to look for information, if the information itself was not made available?



Paul FisherPaul Fisher—Director of the Freedom of Information Center for 31 years and a protege of Earl English, the founder, he worked with English to persuade Missouri senators to vote for FOIA legislation. As head of the Center, he established freedom of information as an academic study and opened the Washington office of the FOI Center.





Samuel J. ArchibaldSamuel J. Archibald—As chief of staff of the Government Information Subcommittee in the House, he helped draft the original FOIA legislation. A former reporter with the Sacramento Bee, he was hired by California Rep. John Moss as an aide and became a key player in Moss’ investigation of government secrecy, which led to the passage of the FOIA in 1966. He later became director of the Washington office of the Freedom of Information Center.





Harold L. CrossHarold L. Cross—He is widely credited with being the author of the language of the FOIA. His 1953 book “The People’s Right to Know: Legal Access to Public Records and Proceedings,” written as legal counsel to ASNE, laid the groundwork for the legislation. ASNE President James Pope lauded the book, the first ever published by ASNE, as presenting “a vision clearer than ours” and as a “potent manual-of-arms” for battle. Cross was legal counsel for the New York Herald Tribune and served on the faculty of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. The Freedom of Information Center published the second edition of Cross’ “The People’s Right to Know.”








John E. MossJohn E. Moss—California Democratic Congressman John Moss was not part of the Missouri connection to FOIA, but the man considered the “Father of the FOIA” is well worth remembering here. From 1953 on, Rep. Moss led the battle for access that eventually led to the passage of the Freedom of Information Act in 1966. His career in passing such groundbreaking legislation as the FOIA and the Consumer Product Safety Act can be viewed at the John E. Moss Foundation website.