Staff

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Reporters Committee Staff

Katie Aune

Development Director
Email · (202) 795-9319

As the development director for Reporters Committee, Katie Aune directs the fundraising efforts to advance RCFP’s mission and works to build relationships with supporters, including foundations, corporations and individuals. 

Katie joins RCFP from the National Geographic Society, where she worked with donors to structure planned gifts such as bequests, charitable gift annuities and charitable trusts. Prior to National Geographic, she oversaw alumni engagement and annual giving for IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and helped coordinate the school’s 125th anniversary celebration.

Before joining Chicago-Kent, Katie spent a year traveling and volunteering throughout the former Soviet Union and ran a travel blog chronicling her experiences. Previously, she launched the alumni relations program at DePaul University College of Law and worked on the school’s $30 million fundraising campaign.

Katie holds a B.A. from the University of Iowa, a JD from the University of Minnesota Law School and an LL.M. in Taxation from Northwestern University School of Law. Before transitioning into development, she practiced tax law at two Chicago law firms. 


Rick Blum

Policy Director
Email · PGP key · (202) 795-9305

Rick Blum is the Policy Director of the Reporters Committee, and coordinates the News Media for Open Government, a coalition of media groups promoting open government policies and practices.

Founded in 2005, the coalition actively supported passage of the 2007 amendments to the Freedom of Information Act that created the Office of Government Information Services, which is the first independent office designed to mediate FOIA disputes and recommend improvements. Blum and the coalition discovered the provision buried in the president's 2009 budget that would have eliminated the ombudsman office before its creation, and helped the coalition ensure Congress established OGIS within NARA as originally intended. He coordinated an ultimately successful coalition effort to confront growing government criticism of the media for unauthorized disclosures of classified information throughout 2006 and throughout WikiLeaks disclosures in 2010-11.

Blum has testified before House and Senate committees several times on transparency issues. He has appeared on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and has promoted open government through radio show appearances and interviews in newspapers and broadcasts. He is a member of the Advisory Committee on Transparency.

Blum was the founding director of OpenTheGovernment.org, a broad coalition of journalists, labor, and free-speech and environmental advocates. There he launched the Secrecy Report Card, an annual report of quantitative indicators of secrecy and openness in the federal government. As a policy analyst at OMB Watch from 1997-2001, he worked with environmental groups, librarians, freedom-of-information advocates and others to maintain public access to chemical accident risk management plans.

He holds a master's degree from Indiana University, where his studies focused on democratization efforts in Russia, and a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Silver Spring, Md., with his wife and two children.


Bruce D. Brown

Executive Director
Email · PGP key · 202-795-9301

Bruce D. Brown, a former journalist and partner in the Washington office of Baker & Hostetler, became executive director of the Reporterss Committee for Freedom of the Press in September 2012.

He is a lecturer at the University of Virginia Law School, co-directing its First Amendment Clinic, and a former adjunct faculty member in Georgetown University’s master’s program in professional studies in journalism.

Brown has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Economist, USA Today, and The National Law Journal, among other publications.

Prior to joining Baker & Hostetler, Brown worked as a federal court reporter for Legal Times and as a newsroom assistant to David Broder at The Washington Post.

Brown received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a master’s in English Literature from Harvard University, where he was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities, and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Stanford University.

Brown and his wife, Amy B. Rifkind, an attorney at Arnold & Porter, live in Washington with their two children. 

Admitted to practice in Washington D.C. and Massachusetts. 


Shawna Chen

Intern
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Shawna Chen is a Bay Area native studying English and psychology at Amherst College, where she manages The Amherst Student as news editor.

Before joining the Reporters Committee, she worked as an editorial intern at Palo Alto Weekly, a local publication in Northern California, communications intern at Science Philanthropy Alliance, and editor-in-chief of her award-winning high school newspaper.

She hopes to pursue a career in journalism after finishing her undergraduate education and enjoys binge-watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine in her free time.


Kelsey Fraser

Legal Intern
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Kelsey Fraser joins us after finishing her first year at Harvard Law School. Prior to law school, Fraser spent nearly five years working in strategy consulting in Washington, D.C. Originally from the Boston area, she graduated from Duke University with a bachelor's degree in public policy.


Anna Gutierrez

Communications Coordinator
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Anna Gutierrez is the communications coordinator at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. She works closely with the communications team to further promote the organization’s mission through social media outreach efforts and other messaging strategies.

Prior to joining the Reporters Committee, Anna worked as the communications coordinator for the Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s oldest and most broad-based journalism organization. At SPJ she managed and generated content for SPJ’s social media channels; wrote, designed and managed SPJ’s weekly and monthly newsletters; drafted and distributed press releases; and wrote for Quill magazine.

A Texas native, Anna graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a bachelor’s degree in communications studies, with a focus on organizational communication. While at UTA, Anna served as the editor-in-chief of The Shorthorn, the student-run, award-winning multi-platform news agency.

Anna has also edited for and contributed to Indulge Magazine in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Bulletin, the monthly magazine for American Mensa. She is passionate about digital strategy and the First Amendment, and loves planners, pineapples and all things Texas. Connect with her on Twitter, @annaxgabriela.


Adam Marshall

Knight Foundation Litigation Attorney
Email · PGP key · (202) 795-9308

Adam A. Marshall is the Knight Litigation Attorney at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a position supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Marshall previously served as the Jack Nelson-Dow Jones Foundation Legal Fellow at the Reporters Committee from 2014 to 2016. He graduated from The George Washington University Law School with high honors and is a member of the Order of the Coif. During law school, Marshall served as an associate for the George Washington International Law Review, volunteered for the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, worked as a research assistant for Alan B. Morrison, and served as the president of the GW ACLU student group. He a recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award and the GW Law Pro Bono Service Recognition Award.

Before attending law school, Marshall received a bachelor's degree from Kalamazoo College where he graduated magna cum laude, and studied abroad at the London School of Economics.

Admitted to practice in Maryland and Washington D.C.


Sarah Matthews

Staff Attorney
Email · PGP key · (202) 795-9318

Sarah Matthews is a staff attorney with the Reporters Committee, where she focuses on supporting First Look Media's Press Freedom Defense Fund and assisting with the Reporters Committee's amicus and litigation practices.

Before joining the Reporters Committee, Sarah was associate principal counsel at The Walt Disney Company. Prior to that, she was a litigation associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP, where she focused on First Amendment, media law, and entertainment cases and represented the Reporters Committee on a pro bono basis. Before joining Gibson Dunn, Matthews clerked for the Honorable Renée Marie Bumb on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Matthews earned her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was an editor and contributing writer for the Journal of Law & Liberty. During law school, Matthews clerked at media law firms Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP and Levine Sullivan Koch and Schulz, LLP, as well as at Human Rights Watch. Prior to law school, Matthews interned as a reporter at Newsweek and served as communications director for a national education nonprofit. Matthews earned her bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Admitted to practice in California, New York, and Washington D.C. 


Jennifer Nelson

Stanton Foundation Media Litigation fellow
Email · PGP key · 202-795-9312

Jennifer Nelson is a staff attorney with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. 

Prior to joining the Reporters Committee, Nelson was an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where she focused on complex litigation and congressional investigations.  Before law school, Nelson was an editorial assistant and freelance reporter at The Boston Globe, where she covered breaking news for the City & Region section.

Nelson earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia in 2011, where she was a managing editor of the Virginia Journal of International Law.  During law school, Nelson traveled to Egypt as a Cowan Human Rights Fellow to research government-imposed restrictions on journalists, bloggers, and social media activists.  Nelson earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2007 from Northeastern University.

Admitted to practice in New York and Washington, D.C. 


Amelia Nitz

Communications Manager
Email · 202-795-9307

As the communications manager for the Reporters Committee, Amelia helps shape and implement media relations and social media outreach efforts to raise awareness of the organization's mission and promote its work to a wider audience.

Amelia comes to the Reporters Committee from GMMB, a full-service communications firm. As a senior account executive with the firm's media relations and brand positioning practices, she worked with mission-driven nonprofits, foundations, and trade associations to help them sharpen their identity, craft compelling content, and reach their audiences through traditional and digital media. Prior to GMMB, Amelia worked for Capstrat, a strategic communications firm based in North Carolina, as well as interned for the former Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina and in the U.S. Senate. 

Amelia graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor's degree in journalism, specializing in political communication, and a bachelor's degree in peace, war, and defense, focusing on national and international defense and security. While at UNC, Amelia worked as a staff reporter for the independent student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel.


Victoria Noble

Google Policy Fellow
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Victoria Noble is a Stanford Law Student interested in the intersection between the First Amendment, technology, and democracy. At Stanford, Victoria is involved with the Stanford Law Association, the Stanford Law and Technology Review, the Stanford Artificial Intelligence & Law Society, and the Tax Pro Bono Project.

She received Gerald Gunther prizes for outstanding performance in Legal Research and Writing and Constitutional Law and is currently researching the impact of law and technology on local news organizations. Victoria grew up in Michigan and earned her B.A. from the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy in 2017.

At Michigan, Victoria worked as an Opinion Columnist and Editor for the campus newspaper, the Michigan Daily. She also studied abroad at the London School of Economics and interned with Washington D.C. policy and communications consultancy Hamilton Place Strategies, Viacom Media Networks, and the Washtenaw County Public Defender’s office.

Victoria enjoys rock climbing, sailing, and web design. 


Kirsten Poole

Director of Business Operations
Email · (202) 795-9306

Kirsten Poole has 20 years of small business and non-profit operations and business management experience. 

Prior to joining the Reporters Committee, Poole served as Business Manager for The Global Biological Standards Institute and consulted with several local small businesses, implementing systems for improved operations resulting in increased efficiency and profitability.  

Previously Poole held the position of Business Manager at the National Cherry Blossom Festival non-profit organization, where she oversaw finance, provided support to the board of directors and managed the earned income programs through five Festival cycles, including the 2012 “Gift of Trees” celebration.

For 12 years, Ms. Poole was chef/owner of Kirsten’s Café in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Kirsten is a graduate of Rice University and the Culinary Institute of America.


Gabe Rottman

Technology and Press Freedom Project Director
Email · 202-795-9316

Gabe Rottman is the director of the Reporters Committee’s Technology and Press Freedom Project, which integrates legal, policy and public education efforts to protect newsgathering and First Amendment freedoms as they intersect with emerging technological challenges and opportunities.  
 
Rottman comes to RCFP from PEN America, where he opened the organization’s Washington, D.C., office and served as its first Washington director.  He also was the deputy director for the Center for Democracy and Technology’s Freedom, Security and Technology Project.  At CDT, he led efforts on cybersecurity policy, and worked extensively on electronic surveillance and the rights of security researchers.
 
From 2012 to 2015, Rottman served as the lead federal legislative and regulatory counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union on open government, press freedom and the First Amendment.  While at the ACLU, Rottman directed federal advocacy on the Espionage Act and its implications for journalist source protection.
 
Following law school, Rottman was a litigation associate in the D.C. office of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP with a focus on antitrust matters and national security foreign investment review.  Prior to and during law school, Rottman worked as a media relations staffer, senior writer and consultant for the ACLU.
 
Rottman is a frequent commentator on technology and civil liberties issues.  He has been published in, among other outlets, the New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, CNN and Roll Call, and has testified before Congress.  Rottman is a 2017 cyber fellow in the Fellowship in Advanced Cyber Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
 
He has a joint honors B.A. from McGill University in political science and history, and a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center, where he was notes editor on the Georgetown Law Journal.
 
Admitted to practice in New York and Washington D.C.
 

Michael Shapiro

Jack Nelson/Dow Jones Legal Fellow
Email · 202-795-9312

As Jack Nelson-Dow Jones Legal Fellow, Shapiro focuses on state and federal freedom of information law and assists journalists and news organizations with records requests. Shapiro is also involved in Reporters Committee's trial and appellate court practices and assists with amicus and policy work.

Shapiro graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served on the submissions review board of the Virginia Journal of International Law. Prior to law school, Shapiro was an investigative reporter at newspapers in South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. He is an alumnus of Haverford College and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
 

Admitted to practice only in Virginia.  Not admitted to D.C., but being supervised by a licensed D.C. Bar member pursuant to Rule 49(c)(8) of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Rules.
 

Jenn Topper

Communications Director
Email · PGP key · (202) 795-9304

As the communications director for Reporters Committee, Jenn oversees the development of communications and messaging strategies to advance the RCFP mission and leads efforts to engage more people with the organization’s work.

Prior to joining the Reporters Committee, Jenn was the communications director at the Sunlight Foundation, an organization that worked to make government more transparent and accountable. In addition to leading Sunlight's communications team, Jenn oversaw the organization's strategy around the 2016 election, and managed key projects on anticorruption efforts and criminal justice reform.

Jenn also managed media relations at Free Press, a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of the public on technology and media issues, and worked int he nonprofit practice of Rubenstein Communications, a public relations firm based in New York.

Jenn holds a Bachelor’s degree in studio art, and a Master’s in Media and Communication studies with a concentration in political communication, both from Florida State University. While at FSU, she served as a sports editor and editor-in-chief of the independent student newspaper, the FSView and Florida Flambeau.

 

Katie Townsend

Legal Director
Email · PGP key · (202) 795-9303

Katie Townsend is the Reporters Committee's Legal Director. She oversees the Reporters Committee’s legal services portfolio, including its direct litigation and amicus practices. She leads litigation efforts in public records, court access, and legal defense cases, and supervises the team of staff attorneys and legal fellows in both areas. 

She also manages partnerships where the Reporters Committee offers legal support and pre-publication review, particularly to documentary filmmakers and nonprofit newsrooms. 
 

Townsend has served as the first litigation director of the Reporters Committee since 2014, securing several key victories for journalists and the First Amendment overall. Under her leadership, in 2018 alone, Reporters Committee attorneys secured the dismissal of defamation claims against a journalist under the D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act, obtained a first-of-its-kind ruling from an Oklahoma state court making clear that delayed access to public records violates Oklahoma’s Open Records Act, and defeated an agency’s attempt to charge a reporter more than $174,000 to obtain records he had requested under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

Prior to joining the Reporters Committee, Townsend was a litigation associate in the Los Angeles office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where she specialized in media and entertainment litigation.  Prior to joining Gibson Dunn, Townsend spent a summer in the Washington, D.C. office of Levine, Sullivan, Koch & Schulz LLP.

In May 2014, Townsend was named a "Rising Star" – one of the nation's top media and entertainment attorneys under the age of 40 – by Law 360.  She was recognized in 2015 as a Washington, D.C. "Rising Star" by The National Law Journal and, in 2015, was named part of the "Next Gen - Hollywood's Up-and-Coming Execs 35 and Under" by the Hollywood Reporter.

Townsend is a 2007 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was a member of the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida in 2004 with a B.A. in English and a B.S. in broadcast journalism. While pursuing her undergraduate degrees, she worked as a reporter and news producer for a local AM news radio station.

Admitted to practice in California, New York, and D.C.


Caitlin Vogus

Staff Attorney
Email · PGP key · 202-795-9315

Caitlin Vogus is a staff attorney with the Reporters Committee. Vogus was previously an Attorney Advisor in the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission. Prior to working at the FCC, she served as law clerk to the Honorable Rossie D. Alston, Jr. of the Virginia Court of Appeals.

Vogus earned her bachelor's degree in American Studies in 2007 from the University of Virginia, where she was executive editor of The Declaration, a weekly news and humor magazine. She earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2010. She was previously a volunteer for the Digital Media Law Project and a summer associate at Levine, Sullivan, Koch, & Schultz, LLP.

Admitted to practice in D.C. and Virginia.