About the Brechner Center

"The Brechner Center is an invaluable, hands-on resource not only for working journalists -- but for future journalists, as well. For my journalism courses at the University of Miami, I copy large sections of Brechner's A Citizen's Guide to Government in the Sunshine for students, and heavily cite the Guide's contents while lecturing on the importance of Florida's Public Records Law."

Ronnie Greene,
Veteran investigative reporter & Urban Affairs Editor, The Miami Herald
Adjunct Professor of Journalism, University of Miami

About Executive Director

The Brechner Center answers queries about media law from journalists, attorneys, and other members of the public. The Center is prepared to explain issues relating to media law, provide educational and training materials, react to current developments, and offer speakers for meetings and conferences.

The Brechner Center is a non-profit educational center. Although The Brechner Center does not provide legal advice, its executive director answers general questions about libel, privacy, prior restraints, freedom of information, Florida's Government in the Sunshine Laws, access to courts and other First Amendment issues.

In order to better serve you, we ask that you telephone The Brechner Center at (352) 392-2273 or alternatively, email us at brechnerreport@jou.ufl.edu.

Learn more about our: Resources, Academic Affiliation, Graduate Studies, History

 

Resources

The Brechner Center houses a variety of resources, including:

A comprehensive collection of newspaper clippings about Florida media law since 1976

Publications summarizing media law in individual states

Online legal databases

An extensive book collection

Academic Affiliation

The Brechner Center, a unit of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida, is relied upon by media organizations nationwide for information about media law developments in Florida. The Center is a member of the National FOI Coalition.

The Center's executive director regularly discusses freedom of information issues with public officials, the media, and individual citizens. As one of the few freedom of information centers housed in an academic institution, the Center also sponsors research and produces publications.

History

The Brechner Center is the successor to the Florida Freedom of Information Clearinghouse, established in 1977. For nearly 10 years, the Clearinghouse operated under the direction of Professor Jo Anne Smith. Many of the funds for the Clearinghouse endowment were provided by the Florida news media.

Joseph L. Brechner, an Orlando broadcaster and advocate of freedom of information, provided more than $1 million for the eminent scholar endowment, funds to construct a suite of offices, and funds to enlarge the operational endowment. In 1986, the Clearinghouse was renamed the Joseph L. Brechner Center for Freedom of Information to honor Mr. Brechner's contributions to freedom of information. The Center's founding director, Dr. Bill F. Chamberlin, ran the Center until 1999, when he initiated the Marion Brechner Citizen Access Project and the Center's assistant director, Sandra F. Chance, Esq., was named executive director of the Center.