Deborah Fisher, executive director of Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, was elected to the National Freedom of Information Coalition Board of Directors at the organization’s annual FOI summit in Denver Oct 9-10.
Fisher was among three new additions to the NFOIC board. Also elected to three-year terms were:
- David Cuillier, Director of the University of Arizona School of Journalism and chair of the Society of Professional Journalists,
- Jeff Roberts, executive director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, and
- Justin Silverman, executive director of New England First Amendment Coalition.
Fisher has been executive director of TCOG, a non-partisan non-profit organization devoted exclusively to promoting and preserving access to government information and proceedings, since November 2013.
Prior to that, she spent 25 years as a journalist, holding positions of reporter, city editor, business editor, managing editor and executive editor at newspapers in Texas and Tennessee. Most recently she worked 10 years at The Tennessean, where she was senior editor for news. She is a past president of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and is currently on its board as treasurer.
The NFOIC board also announced its 2016 officers. They are:
• Mal Leary, President Vice President, (Maine Freedom of Information Coalition)
• Katherine Garner, Vice President (Executive Director Florida First Amendment Foundation)
• Mark Horvit, Treasurer (Executive Director, Investigative Reporters and Editors)
• Megan Rhyne, Secretary (Executive Director, Virginia Coalition for Open Government)
Mal Leary has been a journalist throughout his life, working in both Washington D.C. and in Maine as both a reporter and editor. He has won numerous awards for his reporting, both in broadcast and in print and currently reports on government in Maine for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network. Mal has been a long time member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Katherine Garner serves as executive director of the Florida First Amendment Foundation. She has also worked with Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas for more than 14 years. Katherine also has her own communications and nonprofit consulting firm. She has a background in reporting, copy-editing and layout design from several colleges and local papers.
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 the National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR) and DocumentCloud. Mark also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, where he teaches investigative reporting.
Megan Rhyne has worked for the Virginia Coalition for Open Government since 1998 and became its executive director in 2008. Before that, she served as an opinions editor for Texas Lawyer in Dallas, as a freelance writer and reporter for Androvett Legal Media and the National Law Journal, and as an adjunct professor of media law at Hampton University’s journalism school.
Veteran newspaper editor and FOI pioneer Pete Weitzel was inducted into the State Open Government Hall of Fame.
Recognizing the summit’s financial sponsors, NFOIC thanked Bloomberg and the Associated Press for their generous help to make the summit possible. NFOIC also thanks the official summit sponsors Ethics and Excellence in Journalism, Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, and the John S. and James L Knight Foundation, particularly for its support of the Knight Litigation Grant program administered by NFOIC.