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   Committee to Protect Journalists Records, 1978-2008

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Committee to Protect Journalists Records; Box and Folder; Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information

Abstract

The records of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) document the organization's work in promoting press freedom around the world and include clippings, correspondence, minutes, planning materials, publications, and research materials.

At a Glance

Call No.:HR#0010
Bib ID:7745809 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Committee to Protect Journalists
Title:Committee to Protect Journalists Records, 1978-2008
Physical description:214.75 linear ft. (171 record storage cartons and 1 video box)
Language(s):English, but material in case and country files may also be in local languages including Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, French, German, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, and Turkish .
Access: This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. This collection has no restrictions.  More information »

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in twelve series and several subseries.

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Description

Scope and Content

The records of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) primarily document the Board of Directors, the International Press Freedom Awards Dinner, coverage of CPJ in the press, and actions, cases, programs, research, and publications related to the organization's work in documenting press conditions and promoting press freedom in individual countries and regions.

The coverage of the collection extends through 2008, but is most comprehensive through the early 2000s for most series of records at this time.

The Board of Directors' records include correspondence (1980-1994) and materials related to board meetings and minutes (1981-1995), as well as Executive Committee (1989-1997) and other committee records (1990, 1995-1997). The Board of Directors' records also include the organization's articles of incorporations and several versions of its bylaws. Records such as members' biographies and members' lists are included in this series, but are incomplete. The collection does not currently include any board records for 1998-present.

The International Press Freedom Awards Dinner (IPFAD), which was started in 1991, is well-documented in the collection, particular for 1994-1999. The files include information on the awardees, event planning, and press coverage of the event. The coverage of other CPJ events is less comprehensive; most of these files can be found in Series IV: CPJ Office Files.

The collection also contains good documentation of the press' coverage of CPJ. CPJ kept clippings of instances where CPJ's work was discussed in the press or where CPJ was cited as a source of information, and used a clippings service to assist in this documentation effort. The collection contains both chronological and topical clippings for 1981-2008.

The collection's largest portion of records deals with actions, cases, programs, research, and publications related to the organization's work in documenting press conditions and promoting press freedom in individual countries and regions. There is a separate series of that documents only country actions and protest letters in Series V. The majority of the other records related to this work are filed in Series VI. Much of the documentation is Series VI consists of records related to CPJ's data-gathering activities, conducted for the purpose of investigating and documenting cases and press conditions. Many of these records consist of research materials gathered from secondary sources. Other records - correspondence, documentation of telephone calls, press releases, protest letters, etc. - tend to be mixed in with the research materials in the same files. CPJ publications that document CPJ's activities and press conditions in particular countries are filed in Series VII: Publications.

Series VII: Publications contains published newsletters, serial publications, reports, and other publications issued by CPJ. The collection's coverage of these publications is best before the mid-1990s, when CPJ began to regularly distribute publications and reports through its website.

There is a lack of certain types of records in the collection which would provide more comprehensive documentation of the organization as a whole. In particular, there is a lack of Executive Directors' records, financial records, membership records, policy documents, and press releases in the collection.

There are few records from Executive Directors, and a small set of records related to William Orne is incomplete and was probably created and maintained by secretarial staff. There are no complete and identifiable sets of records kept by Executive Directors currently present in the collection.

The collection includes a small amount of CPJ policy documents, procedural manuals, and informational materials outside of the Board of Directors records. Materials of this type were gathered together and placed in Series IV: CPJ Office Files. There are additional materials of this type found with Alice Chasan's files that were kept with her materials in Series VIII.1.

The collection also lacks financial records, including annual financial statements, budgets, and tax documents. There are no annual reports in the collection. Existing financial records are included in Series IV: CPJ Office Files. These primarily include records from 1981-1984, although there are a few records from the mid-1990s. There are records related to development efforts and grants in Series IX: Development, but they are incomplete.

There are few membership records in the collection; these are also filed in Series IV: CPJ Office Files. The few existing files date from 1989-1990 and 1999-2000.

The documentation of activities related to communications and publicity is incomplete and the coverage is uneven. The majority of existing files date from the 1990s. Most problematic is the lack of a single series of press releases; these are scattered in files related to country and program work, events, and publicity throughout the collection.

There is also little audiovisual material in the records. This is primarily because CPJ does not produce much of its own audiovisual material, and instead obtains material from news organizations such as the Associated Press for many of its publications. The collection does have some audiovisual material, particularly photographs, filed in Series VI, VIII, and XI.

Series I: Board of Directors, 1981-1997

This series includes board and committee meeting minutes and related materials, correspondence, lists of board members, subject files, and files related to individual board members. The files include CPJ’s articles of incorporation and several versions of its bylaws.

Series II: Chronological Files, 1984 November-1994

This series contains chronological correspondence files for the organization.

Series III: Clippings Files, 1981-2008

CPJ kept clippings files of stories that either mentioned the CPJ’s work or cited CPJ as a source. CPJ used a clipping service to help document this news coverage.

Subseries III.1: CPJ in the News, 1996 December-2006 June

CPJ created, photocopied, and distributed sets of clippings via a quasi-publication called CPJ in the News. These sets are filed chronologically; if specific topics were noted on the cover page of the set, the topics are noted in the container list.

Subseries III.2: Chronological Clippings, 1981-2008

This subseries contains clippings files that are arranged chronologically.

Subseries III.3: Topical Clippings, 1981-2008

This subseries contains clippings files that are arranged alphabetically by topic.

Series IV: CPJ Office Files, 1978-2004

This series contains CPJ brochures, information sheets, manuals, and mission statements, as well as files related to CPJ events, finances, policies, training programs, and projects. The series also contains general subject files and several files kept by the office of Executive Director William Orne.

Series V: County Action Files and Protest Letters, 1978-1999

This series contains documentation regarding country-specific actions. The documentation primarily consists of press releases, protest letters, and responses.

There are additional records of this type in the files in Series VI: Country and Regional Program and Research Files.

Subseries V.1: Alphabetical by Country, 1978-1997

This subseries consists of action files that are arranged alphabetically by country.

Subseries V.2: Chronological, 1992-1999

This subseries consists of action files that are arranged chronologically.

Series VI: Country & Regional Program & Research Files, 1981-2007

This series contain files related to both regional and country-specific programs and research activities. These files primarily document the data-gathering activities of CPJ for the purposes of investigating and documenting cases and press conditions. As such, most of the material in these files consists of research material obtained from secondary sources, although the files also contain some correspondence, research notes, and documentation of telephone calls.

These files also contain records that document CPJ actions, campaigns, missions, and protests, and include clippings, correspondence, field notes, planning documents, photographs, and protest letters.

Additional information on case lists, cases, imprisoned and killed journalists, missions, programs, publications, and reports can be found in Series VII: Publications and Series VIII: Communications and Publicity.

The series is divided into six subseries based upon the regional divisions currently used by CPJ:

-Subseries VI.1. General, 1990-2001

-Subseries VI.2. Africa, 1981-2007

-Subseries VI.3. Americas, 1979-2004

-Subseries VI.4. Asia, 1981-2006

-Subseries VI.5. Europe and Central Asia, 1981-2005

-Subseries VI.6. Middle East and North Africa, 1981-2007

Series VII: Publications and Reports, 1982-2007

This series contains published newsletters, serial publications, reports, and other publications issued by CPJ. The collection’s coverage of these publications is best before the mid-1990s, when CPJ began to regularly distribute publications on its website.

Subseries VII.1: Newsletters and Serial Publications, 1982-2007

This subseries includes CPJ’s current and historical serial publications and newsletters: Attacks on the Press , Backgrounder , CPJ Update , and Dangerous Assignments . These publications are arranged by title, and then chronologically.

Subseries VII.2: Reports and Other Publications, 1983-1999, 2008

This subseries contains books, reports, and other publications by CPJ that are not serial publications. These publications are arranged chronologically. These publications are final versions unless noted otherwise in the container list.

Series VIII: Communications and Publicity

This series contains both the files of staff members who had responsibility for communications and general subject files related to communications, contacts, distribution, missions, programs, publicity pieces and events, and publication projects. The records include case lists, contact lists, correspondence, drafts, lists of killed and imprisoned journalists, photographs, press releases, and planning documents.

Subseries VIII.1: Alice Chasan Files, 1990-1999 [Bulk Dates: 1995-1999]

This subseries contains the files of Alice Chasan, Program and Editorial Director. The files contain material that documents her work on programs and publications projects, including Attacks on the Press , Dangerous Assignments , and the CPJ website. These files also include records related to her work with the Board of Directors, CPJ committees, and policy discussions. These records include correspondence, drafts, manuals, meeting notes, research materials, and planning documents.

Subseries VIII.2: Judy Clark Files, 1999-2001

This subseries contains the files of Judy Clark, Director of Media Relations. The majority of the files in this subseries relate to publicity projects, including articles, events, mailing lists, newsletters, op-eds, and press releases.

Subseries: VIII.3: Subject Files, 1982-2007

This subseries contains general subject files related to communications and publicity. These files include contact and distribution lists, correspondence, lists of cases and killed journalists, and files related to various cases, events, missions, op-eds, publicity pieces, publications, and reports.

Series IX: Development, 1981-2001

This series contains records related to organizational fundraising efforts.

Subseries IX.1: General, 1982-1988

This subseries documents general contributions, roughly by year, and also contains a few general files on foundations, fundraising, and individual donors.

Subseries IX.2: Foundations and Others, 1981-1995

This subseries documents contributions and outreach efforts related to foundations, news organizations, and press organizations.

Subseries IX.3: Grants, 1992-2001

This subseries includes grant files and proposals for several grants, including grants related to the Campaign to End Criminal Defamation in the Americas and other CPJ programs in the Americas. The series includes budgets, correspondence, planning documents, proposals, and reports.

Series X: International Press Freedom Award Dinners (IPFAD), 1991-2007, Undated

The International Press Freedom Awards are presented annually by CPJ to journalists or publications that have courageously provided independent news coverage and viewpoints despite facing attacks, threats, or imprisonment. The dinner also serves as a benefit that raises funds for CPJ's operating needs. The files include information on the awardees, event planning, press coverage, and include attendee information, biographical statements, correspondence, press packets, photographs, press releases, transcripts, and videotapes.

Series XI: Audiovisual Materials, 1980s-2001, Undated

This series contains audiovisual materials such as audiotapes, photographs, and videotapes, as well as electronic files on computer disks.

Subseries XI.1: Photographs, 1980-2000, Undated

This subseries contains contact sheets, photographs, and negatives. It is likely that most of these were used or gathered for publication purposes. CPJ does not use many of its own photographs in publications; most of the photographs in the collection were obtained from either the Associated Press or other services such as Archive Photos.

Subseries XI.2: Videotapes, 1995-1997, Undated

This subseries contains videotapes in both Beta and VHS formats. The majority are related to either the CPJ Mission to Turkey (1997) or Veronica Guerin.

Subseries XI.3: Computer Disks and Cassette Tapes

This subseries contains audio cassettes and computer files. Most are labeled to some extent. There are 15 audio cassettes of seminars, press conferences, and speeches. The subseries also contains several 3.5” computer disks and three ZIP disks; these primarily contain editorial files and reports, but it is unclear how much these records duplicate the material in Series VIII: Communications and Publicity and Series VII: Publications.

Series XII: Organization Files, 1978-2002

The files in this series contain a combination of correspondence and informational materials related to other organizations. Except for a few major organizations, the files are primarily small in size.

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Using the Collection

Offsite

Access Restrictions

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

      offsite requestMore information and link to off-site request form

This collection has no restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Committee to Protect Journalists Records; Box and Folder; Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Finding aid in repository and online; folder level control.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Papers processed by Catherine C. Ricciardi 2010-2012

Finding aid written by Catherine C. Ricciardi September 2012

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion August 31, 2012 Finding aid written in English. Finding aid adheres to that prescribed by Describing Archives: A Content Standard
    2012-08-31 File created.
    2013-06-27 File updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi
    2012-09-05 XML document instance created by Catherine C. Ricciardi

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Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Subjects

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
CensorshipPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Committee to Protect JournalistsPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Freedom of the PressPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Government and the PressPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Human Rights advocacyPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Journalism--Political aspectsPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Journalists--Crimes againstPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Journalists--DeathPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Journalists--ProtectionPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Journalists--Violence againstPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Press and politicsPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Press lawPortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) was founded at a time when violence against journalists was escalating, particularly in Latin America. A particular case, involving Alcibiades Gonzalez Delvalle, inspired the founding of CPJ. In 1980, Gonzalez, a prominent Paraguayan newspaper columnist, was touring in the United States when he was informed that a warrant for his arrest had been issued in Asuncion, and his case was publicized prior to his return to Paraguay. The case continued to receive media attention upon Gonzalez's arrest, and the resulting pressure on the Paraguayan government led to his release. But in working on this case, journalists who had helped Gonzalez in the United States also realized that there was no organization of American journalists dedicated to assisting their colleagues working in foreign countries. This group approached other reporters, columnists, and editors who had demonstrated an interest in freedom of the press. The most prominent of these was Walter Cronkite, who agreed to serve as the honorary chairman for the newly formed CPJ.

CPJ has grown tremendously since its founding in 1981. Its work has expanded to deal not only with freeing imprisoned journalists, but also working for their safety, and arranging safe conduct for those in immediate danger. The CPJ continues to work for freedom for journalists, the press, and other media outlets by documenting, publicizing, and protesting abuses of the press around the world.

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