An assistant professor in the University of Arizona School of Journalism is among three honorees to receive the 2010 First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.
The UA’s David Cuillier, Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald, and Herschel Fink of the Detroit law firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn will be honored at SPJ’s national convention in October “for their extraordinary efforts to preserve and strengthen media freedoms.”
The three were selected by the SPJ Board of Directors to recognize individuals and groups for efforts to preserve and strengthen the First Amendment. Previous recipients have included former National Public Radio news analyst Daniel Schorr, former U.S. Supreme Court Justices William Brennan and William O. Douglas, and former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank X. Gordon Jr.
The organization recognized, in particular, Cuillier’s efforts to educate journalists and other citizens about their rights to access government records. Cuillier is chair of the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists and testified before Congress last spring about government information issues. He traveled the country by car earlier this year to provide information-access training for SPJ chapters, news organizations and open-government coalitions as part of his Access Across America tour. The tour covered 15,000 miles through 33 states and reached more than 1,000 people.
Cuillier’s research focuses on factors that affect public attitudes about access to government information. His articles have appeared in top-ranked journalism journals such as Communication Law & Policy and Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. Cuillier had a Udall Center Public Policy Research Fellowship in 2009 to further this research.
Cuillier, who joined the UA faculty in 2006, teaches graduate and undergraduate classes on information access. He is co-author of The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records, a textbook being used by students in journalism programs around the country.
Cuillier received the Nafziger-White Dissertation Award for the best doctoral dissertation in the country in 2007 from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Two years later he won first place in the organization’s Most Promising Professor competition. He also has received national teaching awards.
“Professor Cuillier exemplifies the academic ideal that excellent research contributes to excellent teaching, and that work in both areas can serve the community, the state and the nation,” said School of Journalism Director Jacqueline Sharkey.
Cuillier will be honored with two other winners at an Oct. 5 banquet in Las Vegas. The other winners are Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald, and Herschel Fink of the Detroit law firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn. Rosenberg has spent the past eight years providing extensive coverage of the Guantanamo Bay detention camps in Cuba. Attorney Herschel Fink fought to keep Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter out of jail for refusing to reveal sources. Fink also represented the Free Press in a 2008 freedom of information lawsuit that helped expose corruption by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.