Frank LoMonte was named director of the Brechner Center in August 2017.
Previously, he was the executive director of the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) in Washington, D.C. since 2008. During his tenure, he launched a number of major programming initiatives, including the “New Voices” initiative that has resulted in enactment of fortified legal protections for student journalists in 13 states, and the “Active Voice” fellowship program for college undergraduates to design “press freedom service projects” amplifying the voices of young women, who experience the brunt of school censorship.
Before joining the SPLC, LoMonte practiced law with Sutherland Asbill and Brennan LLP in Atlanta and clerked for federal judges on the Northern District of Georgia and the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Prior to embarking on his legal career, he was an investigative journalist and political columnist. He was the capitol correspondent for the Florida Times Union (Jacksonville), Washington correspondent for Morris News Service and the Atlanta bureau chief for Morris.
He was the Otis Brumby Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the Georgia Law School in spring-summer 2014 and has been a lecturer since 2015 in the University of Georgia Washington Program, teaching a course for undergraduates on “Law of Social Media.”
Frank received his B.A. from Georgia State University in 1994 and his J.D., from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2000 magna cum laude. His work on behalf of open government and journalists’ rights has been recognized with numerous awards, including the American Library Association’s “Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor” and the National Press Photographers’ Association First Amendment Award. The College Media Association offers an annual award in his name to honor special distinction in ethical journalism.
Legal Fellow Rachael Jones joined the Brechner Center staff in June 2019 after completing a legal clerkship with Florida’s First District Court of Appeals. She has worked as a fellow at the Center for Media Law and Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. In fall 2020, she will become the law clerk for Judge W. Louis Sands of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. Jones graduated from UF with a B.A. degree in Theater and a J.D from the Levin College of Law.
Legal Fellow Imani Jackson, a recent graduate of the L.L.M. program at the University of Florida’s Levin School of Law, is focusing her research on assessing the information needs of nonwhite communities and exploring ways in which those communities mobilize to advocate for greater government transparency, particularly on issues of public safety. She is currently a policy adviser at the Dynamic Education Foundation in Jacksonville and has been a writer for the University of Chicago’s Black Youth Project; Politic365, a multicultural policy web site; and a freelancer on criminal justice stories for USA Today Digital. She holds a B.A. from Grambling State University, a J.D. from Florida A&M College of Law, and an LL.M in Environmental and Land Use Law from the University of Florida.
Research Coordinator Tori Whidden graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Journalism in May 2019. She has worked as a reporter for WUFT-FM, the Independent Florida Alligator and the Gainesville Sun, where she reports and produces stories for print and digital publications as well as for social media. At the Brechner Center, Whidden coordinates a staff of student researchers gathering data through freedom-of-information requests to government agencies across the country.