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Reporters Committee mourns passing of founding member Fred Graham

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Fred P. Graham helped found the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Fred P. Graham, a founder of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, legal affairs reporter and television anchor, passed away on December 28 at 88.

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Reporters Committee founder Fred Graham,” said Reporters Committee Chairman Stephen J. Adler.  “Graham was instrumental in creating the organization that we are today, and ensuring that reporters have the legal support they need. The Reporters Committee is committed to honoring his legacy through the work we do. Our sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.”

In 1970, Graham helped found the Reporters Committee amid hostility from the Nixon administration and a wave of government subpoenas asking reporters to name confidential sources.

In 2012, the Reporters Committee presented Graham with its Distinguished Service Award, renaming it the Fred P. Graham Distinguished Service Award.

“Fred was among a small group of reporters who organized to fight the subpoena [to New York Times reporter Earl Caldwell] and others like it,” NPR Legal Correspondent Nina Totenberg remarked at the First Amendment Awards in 2012. “Indeed, for the first few years of the Reporters Committee’s shoestring existence, it operated in essence, out of Fred Graham’s desk at the Supreme Court, where all the organizational papers were kept.”

“His life has been a kaleidoscope of achievement,” she said.