David Cuillier

About David Cuillier

Researches citizen and press access to government information, including public attitudes toward freedom of information, the state of access, and strategies for increasing transparency. He also teaches data journalism and public affairs reporting. He has served as freedom of information chair and national president of the Society of Professional Journalists, and was awarded the Wells Key Award, the highest honor given by SPJ. He has testified three times before Congress regarding the Freedom of Information Act. He is currently president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, a member of the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona board, and editor of the Journal of Civic Information. He co-authored "The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records" (second edition out in July 2019). He served as director of the school from 2012 to 2018.                                      


  • B.A., Western Washington University;
  • M.A., Washington State University;
  • Ph.D., Washington State University.

Courses Taught at the UA

  • J 105 Principles of Journalism
  • J 109 Introduction to Journalism
  • H 195 Honors Seminar
  • J 150 News in the Digital Age
  • J 209 Media Law and Ethics
  • J 306 Advanced Reporting
  • J 313 Reporting Public Affairs
  • J 419 Watchdog Journalism
  • J 433 Digging with Data
  • J 447 Government Secrecy
  • J 490 Arizona Sonora News

See course descriptions

Selected Publications

  • Cuillier, D., & Davis, C. N. (2019, second edition). The art of access: Strategies for acquiring public records. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, a division of Sage (first edition 2011).
  • Cuillier, D. (2016). The people's right to know: Comparing Harold L. Cross' pre-FOIA world to post-FOIA today. Communication Law and Policy, 21(3), 433-463.
  • Cuillier, D. (2015). Access to Information, in William Babcock & William Hein Freivogel (Eds.), Guide to Key Issues in Mass Media Ethics and Law. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Davis, C.N. & Cuillier, D. (2014). Transparency 2.0: Digital data and privacy in a wired world. Peter Lang Publishing.
  • Cuillier, D. (2013). Government information and leaks, in Daxton, R. Steward (Ed.), Social Media and the Law. New York: Routledge, pp. 120-133.
  • Cuillier, D. (2010, Summer). Honey v. Vinegar: Testing Compliance-gaining Theories in the Context of Freedom of Information Laws. Communication Law and Policy 15(3), 204–229.
  • Cuillier, D., & Schwalbe, C. B. (2010, Spring). GIFTed teaching: A content analysis of 253 Great Ideas for Teaching awards in journalism and mass communication education. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator 65(1), 22–39.
  • Cuillier, D. (2008). Access attitudes: A social learning approach to examining community engagement and support for press access to government records. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 85(3), 549-576.

Past Academic Positions

  • Director, University of Arizona School of Journalism, 2012-2018
  • Lecturer, University of Idaho, 2003 - 2006
  • Student media adviser, Washington State University, 2001 - 2003

Past Professional Positions

  • City Editor, The (Everett, Wash.) Herald, 1998 - 2001
  • Assistant City Editor, Tri-City (Kennewick, Wash.) Herald, 1995 - 1998
  • Public Affairs Reporter, The Idaho Statesman (Boise), 1994 - 1995
  • City Hall Reporter, The (Vancouver, Wash.) Columbian, 1990 - 1994

Professional Organizations

  • Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (Law & Policy Division head 2011-12)
  • National Freedom of Information Coalition (board member 2015 to present)
  • Society of Professional Journalists (president 2013-14; SPJ Foundation board member 2018 to present)
  • Investigative Reporters and Editors, member and writer of IRE Journal FOI Files column

Awards & Honors

  • Editor, Journal of Civic Information, 2019 to present
  • Wells Memorial Key, Society of Professional Journalists - highest honor given by the society, 2016
  • Sunshine Award, Society of Professional Journalists Valley of the Sun chapter, 2015.
  • Testified before Congress in 2010, 2014 and 2016 regarding the Freedom of Information Act.
  • Hugh and Jan Harelson Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Arizona, 2011.
  • Great Ideas for Teaching scholar 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2010, and GIFT grand prize winner 2006 and 2011, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
  • Top three paper, Communication Law & Policy Division of International Communication Association conference, June 2010, Singapore.
  • First Amendment Award, Society of Professional Journalists, 2010
  • Freedom of Information Award, Arizona Newspapers Association, 2010
  • Elected vice-head of the Law & Policy Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, 2010-11
  • Promising Professor Award (first place), Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, 2009
  • Udall Center for Public Policy research fellow, 2009
  • President's Award, Society of Professional Journalists, 2008, 2010, 2013.
  • Top faculty papers in media ethics (2008) and media law (2007), Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Nafziger-White Dissertation Award for top Ph.D. dissertation, by Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, 2007


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Contact Information

David Cuillier
Associate Professor
Telephone: 520-621-6223 (best reached by email)
Fax: 520-621-7557
Office: Marshall Room 337