Our Advisory Board

Members of the First Amendment Coalition Advisory Board are leaders and experts in areas of importance to FAC, including First Amendment law, journalism, the internet’s impact on free speech, Freedom of Information, philanthropy and the media industry. The initial nine members of the Advisory Board are listed below (in alphabetical order):

Floyd Abrams, FAC Advisory Board MemberFloyd Abrams, partner at the New York law firm Chaill Gordon & Reindel, has been called “the most significant First Amendment lawyer of our age.” He has argued frequently before the Supreme Court, and been at the center of landmark free press cases, including representing The New York Times in the 1971 Pentagon Papers case and in 2005 representing reporter Judith Miller in her effort to protect confidential sources in the Valerie Plame leak case.


Lowell Bergman, FAC Advisory Board MemberLowell Bergman, a Pulizer-prize winning journalist, is Professor of Investigative Reporting at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Bergman is also a producer and correspondent for the PBS documentary series “Frontline,” and an advisor to non-profit investigative news organizations like the Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica.


Tom Blanton, FAC Advisory Board MemberTom Blanton, is Director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University in Washington, D.C, which the Los Angeles Times described as “the world’s largest nongovernmental library of declassified documents,” including the CIA’s “Family Jewels,” over 700 pages of previously classified documents released to the NSA in 2007. The NSA specializes in the use of FOIA, declassification review, and other legal means to obtain national security records.


Erwin Chemerinsky, FAC Advisory Board MemberErwin Chemerinsky is the dean of the law school at the University of California, Berkeley.  Prior to being named dean at Berkeley Law, he was the founding dean at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. An expert in the areas of constitutional law, civil rights and civil liberties, he frequently argues cases before the nation’s highest courts. He is also a commentator on legal issues for national and local media and is author of ten books, most recently Free Speech on Campus (with Howard Gillman).


Simone CoxeSimone Coxe is a philanthropist and investor committed to quality journalism.  She is the co-founder and chairman of CALmatters, a nonprofit nonpartisan journalism venture covering California state politics and policy.  She is also a director at KQED and Internews, a Washington, DC, based nonprofit building sustainable local media in over 80 countries.  She also serves on the advisory board of the UC Berkeley Journalism school.  Previously, Simone co-founded Blanc & Otus, a public relations firm firm serving the technology industry, and served as its CEO from 1985-2000.


Rebecca Mackinnon, FAC Advisory Board memberRebecca MacKinnon is Director, New America Foundation’s Ranking Digital Rights Project working on global Internet policy, free expression, and the impact of digital technologies on human rights. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, she served as CNN’s Bureau Chief first in Beijing and later in Tokyo from 1998 to 2003. Her book, Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom, was published in January 2012.


Craig Newmark, Founder of craigslistCraig Newmark, self-described “nerd,” is the founder of craigslist, the extraordinarily successful and pioneering classified advertising site. Having retired from active management, in 2011 Craig launched craigconnects as a platform to support organizations involved in work for veterans and military families, open government, public diplomacy, trustworthy journalism, consumer protection, election protection, and voter registration.  Craig also serves on the board of directors of the Poynter Foundation, Center for Public Integrity, Sunlight Foundation, Consumers Union/Consumer Reports, Blue Star Families, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.


Dana Priest, FAC Advisory Board MemberDana Priest is a two-time Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter for the Washington Post. She won the Pulitzer in 2008 for reporting on unsafe conditions at Walter Reed Hospital and the 2006 Pulitzer for her reporting on on CIA secret prisons and counterterrorism operations overseas. In 2010, the Post published a special report by Priest and fellow reporter William Arkin called “Top Secret America,” detailing the national security buildup in the US following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.


Gary Pruitt, FAC Advisory Board MemberGary Pruitt is the new CEO of Associated Press, a job he’ll start in July after a 28 year tenure with McClatchy Company where he currently holds the titles of Chairman, President and CEO. In 1984, Pruitt started as general counsel at McClatchy, the third largest US newspaper publishing company, which includes the Sacramento Bee, Modesto Bee and Fresno Bee. He was named president in 1995. During that time, he also served on the AP Board of Directors for nine years, and he is the former chair of the Newspaper Association of America.


Jeffrey Toobin, FAC Advisory Board memberJeffrey Toobin has written on legal affairs for The New Yorker since 1993. He is also senior legal analyst for CNN, which he joined in 2002 after seven years with ABC News. In 2000, he received an Emmy Award for his coverage of the Eliàn Gonzàlez case. His most recent book, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, was published in 2007.