about us

Board of Special

Our Board of Special Advisors are leaders and experts in areas of importance to FAC, including First Amendment law, journalism, freedom of information, philanthropy and the media industry. They are listed below in alphabetical order.

Floyd Abrams

Floyd Abrams

Senior Counsel at Cahill Gordon & Reindel

Floyd Abrams has been called “the most significant First Amendment lawyer of our age.” He has argued frequently before the Supreme Court, and has 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.

Anne Avis

Anne Avis

Board Member of Global Press, KQED and Internews

Anne Avis serves on the boards of Global Press, KQED, and Internews. Formerly Chair of the Board of KQED Public Media, she now co-chairs KQED’s Campaign to transform KQED’s infrastructure and expand original programming. She is a former trustee of MASS MoCA, Fund for Global Human Rights, and the NPR Foundation.  Anne lives in Palo Alto, Calif., with her husband Greg. They have three grown children. She was raised in Massachusetts and is a graduate of Williams College.

Lowell Bergman

Professor Emeritus, uc berkeley graduate school of journalism

Lowell Bergman, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, is Emeritus Professor of Investigative Reporting at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He spent three decades working in national television news with ABC, then CBS’ “60 Minutes,” and PBS’ documentary series “Frontline.”

Tom Blanton

Tom Blanton

Director of the National Security Archive, Washington, DC

Tom 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.

Bruce B. Brugmann

Cofounder, Editor, & Publisher, San Francisco Bay Guardian (retired)

Bruce B. Brugmann cofounded the San Francisco Bay Guardian in 1966 and was its editor and publisher until the publication was sold in 2012. He published the Guardian for almost 50 years under a masthead declaring a newspaper’s duty was “to print the news and raise hell.” The Bay Guardian news philosophy continues on in two independent websites under former editor Tim Redmond: 48hills.org (news) and sfbg.com (endorsements).

Brugmann, representing FAC and the Society of Professional Journalists, also organized four statewide FOI/ free press conferences.  He initiated an SPJ/FOI committee and an annual James Madison FOI Award dinner. Brugmann and the Guardian also led the fight for a citizen’s sunshine task force in San Francisco’s city hall.

Brugmann has a master’s degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism. He taught journalism and investigative reporting at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism and California State University, Hayward. He was a reporter at the Milwaukee Journal, the Redwood City Tribune, and the Bureau Chief for the Korea edition of Stars and Stripes

Brugmann and his wife Jean are members of three international free press groups: the International Press Institute based in Vienna, the InterAmerican Press Association based in Miami, and the World Association of Newspapers based in Paris.

Duffy Carolan, Jassy/Vick/Carolan

Duffy Carolan

Attorney, Jassy Vick Carolan, LLP, San Francisco, CA; FAC Board of Directors, 2002-2023

Duffy Carolan represents news, online and entertainment content providers in a variety of matters, including defamation, invasion of privacy, right of publicity, prior restraint, copyright, trademark, and Internet law issues at both the trial and appellate levels.   She is newsroom counsel to over 40 California newspapers, providing 24/7 advice to reporters and editors on deadline.   She often defends reporters and companies against subpoenas seeking unpublished source information, and regularly represents newspapers under the state’s adjudication statutes.   Duffy has extensive experience representing news organizations and private citizens seeking to obtain access to public records and public meetings under the California Public Records Act, Freedom of Information Act, and Ralph M. Brown Act.  

Simone Cox

philanthropist and investor, co-founder and chairman of CALmatters

Simone 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.

Harold W. Fuson Jr.

Attorney, Executive Vice President, The Copley Press, Inc. (retired), San Diego, CA; FAC Board of Directors, 2009-2023

Trained as a journalist, Hal Fuson has defended the First Amendment since he began teaching journalism in Houston in 1968. He left the University of Illinois to become newsroom lawyer at The Los Angeles Times in 1979 and moved to San Diego as Copley Press general counsel in 1983. He received the California News Publishing Executive of the Year Award and FAC’s Bill Farr award. Hal retired in 2009 after negotiating the sale of Copley’s last newspaper, The San Diego Union-Tribune. He was chair of Copley’s board when the company dissolved in 2016. Since he retired, he has devoted time to board service, including chairing those of the San Diego Symphony and the Old Globe Theatre.

Rebecca Mackinnon

Rebecca MacKinnon

Vice President for Global Advocacy, Wikimedia Foundation

Rebecca MacKinnon is Vice President for Global Advocacy at the Wikimedia Foundation. She was previously Director for the 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 one of the first books to publicly discuss the contemporary rise of “networked authoritarianism” and its threat to human rights and democracy.

Craig Newmark, Craigslist.com founder

Craig Newmark

Founder, Craigslist and the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Foundation

Craig Newmark is the founder of craigslist, the 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

Jim Newton

Lecturer, UCLA, Luskin School of Public Affairs; FAC Board of Directors, 2013-2023

Jim Newton is a veteran journalist, best-selling author and teacher. He worked at the Los Angeles Times for 25 years as a reporter, editor, bureau chief and columnist, covering government and politics. He is the recipient of numerous national and local awards in journalism and participated in two staff efforts, coverage of the 1992 riots and the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, that were awarded the Pulitzer Prize. He teaches at UCLA and founded Blueprint magazine.

Dana Priest

investigative reporter for the Washington Post

Dana 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

Gary Pruitt

President and CEO of the Associated Press (retired)

Gary Pruitt served as President and CEO of the Associated Press from 2012-2021, a position he took after a 28-year tenure with McClatchy Company, where he held the titles of Chairman, President, and CEO. In 1984, Pruitt started as general counsel at McClatchy, the third largest U.S. 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.

headshot of Dick Rogers

Dick Rogers

Reader Representative, San Francisco Chronicle (retired), FAC Board of directors, 1997-2023

Dick Rogers has devoted most of his career to journalism and the First Amendment. He has been a reporter and editor for small, medium and large newspapers. At the San Francisco Examiner, he created the computer-assisted reporting program and later became the metro editor. When the Hearst Corporation purchased the San Francisco Chronicle, he was the metro editor and in 2001 became the paper’s ombudsman. After retiring in 2008, he built and edited a Northern California online media museum, and he coaches high school journalists.