First Look Media's Press Freedom Defense Fund Announces Advisory Committee And Leadership Team


Kate Myers Named Deputy Director of the Press Freedom Defense Fund; David S. Bralow Named Its Legal Director

NEW YORK, NY – August 9, 2018 – The Press Freedom Defense Fund (PFDF), a program from First Look Media, today announced the formation of its first advisory committee, comprised of a diverse group of First Amendment, journalism and legal experts who will offer valuable guidance to the Fund.  The PFDF provides legal support to journalists, news organizations and whistleblowers targeted for bringing to light information that is in the public interest and necessary for a functioning democracy.

The Press Freedom Defense Fund’s advisory committee includes:

·       Jameel Jaffer - Director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University;

·       Sandra Mims Rowe - Former Editor-in-Chief of The Oregonian & former Chair of the Board for the Committee to Protect Journalists

·       Tom Rosenstiel – Executive Director, The American Press Institute; Founder of the Project for Excellence in Journalism

·       David Schulz – Senior Counsel at Levine, Ballard and Spahr; Co-Director, Media Freedom & Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School; and

·       Nabiha Syed – Vice President of Legal and Associate General Counsel at BuzzFeed.

The advisory committee will work closely with Jim Risen, Director of the Press Freedom Defense Fund and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who spent several years fighting government efforts to force him to reveal a confidential source.

In making the announcement, Risen said, “We are incredibly honored for this prestigious group of legal and first amendment experts to join us as we work to provide this vital support system to fearless journalists and whistleblowers who are unjustly threatened or challenged in pursuit of a free and open society and press.”

Last year, First Look Media announced the expansion of the Press Freedom Defense Fund, increasing its funding by two million dollars and committing an additional two million in matching funds, totaling six million dollars in funding at the fully subscribed level.  The PFDF is also partnering with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) to help evaluate requests for support from the Fund.

Recently, The Press Freedom Defense Fund provided grants to support the legal cases of U.S. Army intelligence analyst turned whistleblower Chelsea Manning, whose sentence was ultimately commuted by former President Obama, and Reality Winner, the NSA contract employee who was arrested and unreasonably prosecuted for a violation of the Espionage Act. In June, Winner accepted a plea agreement and her sentencing hearing has been set for later this month.

Kate Myers Named Deputy Director of Press Freedom Defense Fund; David S. Bralow Appointed Fund’s Legal Director  

As part of the continued expansion of the Fund, Kate Myers has officially taken on the additional role of Deputy Director of the Press Freedom Defense Fund, overseeing the fundraising strategy and operations for the Fund with Jim Risen. 

She takes on this added responsibility while continuing to lead First Look Media’s new revenue opportunities and partnerships to support its not-for-profit journalism entities including the award-winning investigative news site The Intercept and the documentary unit Field of Vision.

Veteran media attorney David S. Bralow has also been appointed Legal Director for the Press Freedom Defense Fund.  He adds this role to his duties as First Amendment Counsel at First Look Media’s not-for-profit divisions where he provides legal oversight for the organization’s journalism operations, including the investigative news site The Intercept and the documentary unit Field of Vision.

“Kate’s passionate vision and David’s expert guidance have already helped to expand the impact of the Press Freedom Defense Fund,” Risen said.  “I look forward to partnering with them further to extend our support to more of the journalists and newsrooms who are trying to share information essential for our democracy.”

Prior to First Look Media, Kate Myers led growth strategy at Inside Higher Ed, a digital-first start-up covering higher education as the Vice President for Business Development. There, she oversaw new product development, including launching specialty newsletters and new advertising products created specifically for the higher education community.

Before Higher Ed, Myers was at National Public Radio in Washington, D.C., where she held a succession of roles in digital product, business development and audience and corporate strategy.  While there, she helped develop and launch a new platform that grew to support NPR’s podcast business, ultimately increasing podcast sales by ten times in just two years.  She was also responsible for internal strategy work on NPR’s next generation projects like NPR One, and external partnerships with leading companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and others.

David S. Bralow brings a wealth of experience in media law including national security issues, First Amendment expertise, intellectual property, FOIA prosecutions and appeals, defamation, and privacy.  Prior to joining First Look Media, Bralow was of counsel in the Media, Communication and Entertainment Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton LLP. Previously, he was Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Digital First Media, a multi-platform media company with the second largest newspaper circulation in the United States, managing the legal, regulatory and governance requirements of the company. Bralow also served as Assistant General Counsel for 13 years at the Tribune Company, where he provided legal advice to their newspapers, websites and television stations.

In addition, he is a former board member of the Media Law Resources Center; former Regional Director of the ABA Communications Law Committee; and former member of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association First Amendment Committee. He has also taught media law at The City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism and New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies.


About First Look Media

A bold, independent spirit defines everything we do at First Look Media – from journalism that holds the powerful accountable, to art and entertainment that shape our culture. Launched by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, First Look Media is built on the belief that freedom of expression and of the press, diverse voices, and fiercely independent perspectives, are vital to a healthy democracy and a vibrant culture.

For more information contact:

Brett Henne for Press Freedom Defense Fund



Jeannie Kedas

Chief Communications Officer at FLM


Press Freedom