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Passings : Jack Landau

Reporter worked for media rights

August 23, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Jack Landau, 74, a founder of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, died Aug. 9 of complications from emphysema at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va.

The committee, a Washington-based legal defense and research center for reporters, was created in 1970, when the nation's news media were facing increasing government subpoenas demanding that reporters name confidential sources.

Landau, a reporter-lawyer covering the U.S. Supreme Court for the Newhouse News Service, was an early member of the steering committee and was quickly appointed executive director, a post he held until 1985. During that time period the organization filed suit for access to more than 40 million White House documents and tapes held by former President Nixon as well as phone transcripts of former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.

Landau also spoke out on 1st Amendment issues and was heavily critical of the Reagan administration's decision to allow a pool of only 20 or 30 reporters to cover the invasion of Grenada.

Born in Englewood, N.J., Landau received his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his law degree from New York University. His journalism career included stints at the Bergen Evening Record, the Associated Press and the Washington Post.

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