MNCOGI provides public education on government transparency, government information policy, and related issues.
James Barnum is Deputy General Counsel for KSTP-TV.
John P. Borger is a partner at the Minneapolis office of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, where he represents leading news organizations and individual journalists. He served as editor-in-chief of the Michigan State University daily student newspaper, graduated from Yale Law School, received the 2002 Peter S. Popovich Freedom of Information Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and since 1991 has been listed in the First Amendment category of “The Best Lawyers in America.” He twice represented the Star Tribune before the United States Supreme Court.
Helen Burke is the Federal Depository Librarian at Minneapolis Central Library in the Hennepin County Library System. A librarian since 1985 for Minneapolis Public Library, now the Hennepin County Library System, Helen works with documents at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as the Patent & Trademark Depository collection. Helen has served as chair of MN Library Association’s Government Documents Round Table and MNCOGI, and currently serves as a MNCOGI Treasurer.
Bill is a civic nerd – a software developer, policy advocate, and community organizer who works where technology meets society. During the day he is a Software Engineer at GovDelivery, a provider of online communications, training, and open data portals for governments of all sizes. Bill is also involved in the Twin Cities’ civic technology community as a co-founder and co-organizer of Open Twin Cities, a grassroots group that holds community focused ideation and technology development events, and advocates for open public access to government data. Bill earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Clarkson University and an M.S. in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Hal Davis is the retired team leader for public safety at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He held a similar position at the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News. Prior to that, he was assistant editor at the National Law Journal, news editor at Bloomberg Business News, a reporter at the New York Post, where he covered state courts for 15 years, and a reporter at United Press International.
Pat Doyle reported for the Minneapolis Star Tribune from 1984 to 2014, covering a wide variety of local and state government agencies. He was assigned to the newspaper’s Capitol bureau from 2005 through 2010, covering budgets, casino gambling, pensions, transportation and politics. He has made extensive use of the Minnesota Data Practices Act and the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. He was a winner of the John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award for investigating the 2007 collapse of the Interstate 35-W bridge in Minneapolis and of a Minnesota Associated Press Freedom of Information Award for “Inside MnDOT,” a series in 2003 on a state transportation agency that broke contracting laws and manipulated public opinion.
Matt Ehling is a writer and television producer, and the president of Public Record Media. His broadcast documentaries include “Urban Warrior” and “Intent: Searching for Meaning in the Constitution,” and have been seen on PBS, the Bravo Channel, and at film festivals worldwide. He has been part of several Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Award-winning teams. His written work has appeared in the on-line news magazine Minnpost.com and other outlets.
His organization Public Record Media (PRM) uses government documents to produce public affairs media. PRM is a frequent user of government records laws at the state and federal level, and seeks to encourage government compliance with such laws through administrative actions and litigation when appropriate.
Don Gemberling began working, professionally, with issues of transparency, governmental accountability, the implications of technology on humans, and data privacy in 1973. For over thirty years he was the only staff or managed functions in the state Department of Administration that involved helping government agencies comply with the Data Practices Act and related law and citizens with exercising their rights under those laws. He is currently on the Board of the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information and is the Board’s secretary. He is also MnCOGI’s spokesperson and testifies before the legislature. He graduated from Macalester College and William Mitchell College of Law. He is available to answer questions and enjoys training citizens about how to best use transparency and data privacy laws.
Nancy Herther is the Librarian for Sociology, Anthropology, American Studies, and Asian Studies at the University of Minnesota. She received her MLS from the University of Minnesota with a minor in Adult and Continuing Education.
Nancy has published numerous articles and was book review editor for Computers in Libraries (Mecklermedia) in the 1980s. She collaborated on John Weeks’s highly regarded Introduction to Library Research in Anthropology (Boulder: Westview Press, 1991, 1998). From 1986-1988, she was a columnist in the journals Online and Database. In 1986 she became the founding editor of Laserdisc Professional (later CD-ROM Professional). From the early 1990s to 2004 she coordinated the library column for the University’s OIT Newsletter, as a method of outreach and education for the University of Minnesota community. Currently Nancy serves on the editorial boards for The Electronic Library (Emerald), and does occasional peer-review for a range of professional publications. She tries to keep links to her recent articles and news blogs on her UThink blog @ Information on a Stick
In 2010 she was presented the 2010 Outstanding Reviewer Award from Emerald for her work on The Electronic Library. In June 2009 she was awarded the Missouri Valley Adult Education Association’s Achievement Award for her contributions to the field. From 2001 to 2007 she served on the University Senate Committee on Information Technologies, which she chaired in 2006/7.
Gary Hill serves as Chair of the MNCOGI Board. Previously, he was the Director of Communications and Media Relations for Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin, and worked as the Communications Director for the office of the Majority Leader of the Minnesota Senate. He also worked for over 32 years as a broadcast journalist at KSTP-TV. During that time he held positions ranging from photographer and field producer to managing editor and director of investigations. His volunteer positions included Chairman of the Ethics Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists, co-Chair of the Minnesota SPJ Chapters Freedom of Information Committee and Vice-President of the Minnesota Joint Media Committee.
Jane E. Kirtley
Jane Kirtley is the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, where she directs the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law and is an affiliated faculty member at the University of Minnesota Law School. Prof. Kirtley was Executive Director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Arlington, Virginia from 1985-1999. She is a member of the National FOIA Hall of Fame and recipient of the John Peter Zenger Award from the University of Arizona, and is admitted to the New York, Virginia and District of Columbia bars.
Professor Heidi Kitrosser has been a member of the University of Minnesota Law School faculty since 2006. She is an expert on the constitutional law of federal government secrecy and on separation of powers and free speech law more broadly. She has written, spoken, and consulted widely on these topics. Her book, Reclaiming Accountability: Transparency, Executive Power, and the U.S. Constitution, was published in 2015 by the University of Chicago Press. It was awarded the 2014 IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law / Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize. She also has authored numerous law review articles.
Sharon Schmickle has been a journalist for MinnPost.com since 2007, and before that she reported for the Minneapolis Star Tribune where her beats included the Washington Bureau and covering wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her awards include Pulitzer Prize finalist for coverage of the U.S. court system, National Press Club’s Washington Correspondent of the Year for coverage of the federal budget as it affected one Minnesota community, Overseas Press Club of America award for coverage of trade friction. She has taught writing and journalism at Macalester College, the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute. Since 2011, she also has worked as a journalism mentor in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania. She graduated from the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism, and she has studied under fellowships including the Templeton-Cambridge fellowship in science and religion at Cambridge University, England.
James Eli Shiffer
James Eli Shiffer is the watchdog and data editor for the Star Tribune. He’s been a journalist for more than 20 years at newspapers in Minnesota, North Carolina and Connecticut. At the Star Tribune, he created the Whistleblower column and now oversees the paper’s use of public records and data.