David Snyder, the First Amendment Coalition’s Executive Director, is a lawyer and journalist with more than two decades of experience. His work as a reporter spanned nearly 16 years, including time at the Albuquerque Tribune, the Dallas Morning News, the New York Times (as a freelancer), and the Washington Post, where he was a reporter on the metro staff from 2000 to 2005.
As a lawyer, Snyder represented journalists and news media for Sheppard Mullin, a global law firm with deep roots in California. His clients included Mother Jones magazine, Salon, California Sunday Magazine and the San Jose Mercury News. Snyder has represented FAC since 2009 in its litigation against the State Bar of California for access to data on applicants for admission to the Bar. He served one two-year term as the volunteer attorney member of the San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, which hears citizen complaints about violations of that city’s open-government law.
Snyder received his B.A. with highest honors from the University of Texas at Austin’s Plan II Honors Program. He holds a B.S. in Journalism with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Law (Boalt Hall). During law school, he worked for the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic on matters relating to civil liberties and technology, and served as a legal intern for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, where he worked on issues surrounding technology and the Fourth and First Amendments. From 2008-2009, he clerked for Justice Richard Bosson of the New Mexico Supreme Court. A native New Mexican, he is a member of the California and New Mexico Bars.
Deborah Fruin, The Coalition’s Program Coordinator, joined FAC in 2009. Fruin was previously employed as a community journalist in the Napa Valley. She was one of the founding editors at the launch of The Calistoga Tribune, Features Editor of The Napa Valley, and Editor in Chief of The Weekly Calistogan. In 2008, she edited the blog Poor Us: The Great Depression 2.0
Before moving to Northern California with her family in in 1993, Fruin worked in magazine and book publishing in New York for Conde Nast and the Sterling Lord Literary Agency. Later she worked as a story analyst at Creative Artist’s Agency in Los Angeles. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Donal Brown, volunteer reporter and editor, began work for The Coalition in January of 2009. From 1999 to 2009, he was a reporter and editor for the New America Media of San Francisco, previously know as the Pacific News Service. He taught English and journalism for 35 years in California’s public schools, 33 years at Redwood High School in Larkspur. He also taught for three summers at the Andover Summer Session in Massachusetts and was a Fellow in the Bay Area Writing Project.
Among his distinguished former journalism students are Laura McCorkindale, film producer and National High School Journalist of the Year 1984; Eric Schmitt of the New York Times winner of two Pulitzer prizes; Steve Fainaru of the Washington Post and a Pulitzer prize winner in 2008; Mary Anne Ostrom formerly of the San Jose Mercury News, a Pulitzer prize winner in 1989; Christopher Marquis (deceased) of the New York Times; Dan Kurtzman, political satire editor for the New York Times on About. com; Mark Fainaru-Wada of ESPN; Chris Bull winner of the Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship grant; and Dina Temple-Raston of NPR News.
He is a graduate of Stanford University and served two years in the Peace Corps in Nigeria from 1963-65.