The Florida Bar

First Amendment Foundation Founding President Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

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Barbara Petersen, the founding president of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation who is retiring after 25 years leading the organization, received the Susan Spencer-Wendel Award for Lifetime Achievement on Monday for her contributions in support of a free press and Floridians’ right to have access to their government.

Spencer-Wendel was a longtime Palm Beach Post courts reporter who died in 2014 from ALS. She received a lifetime achievement award from The Florida Bar in 2012 and numerous media awards throughout her career.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized by those I admire most – journalists and the attorneys who represent and protect them,” said Petersen. “The First Amendment is under assault unlike anything I’ve seen in my lifetime. It’s critical to our democracy, to our fundamental desire for a free and fair society, that we support and protect a free and independent press, that we demand access to information that allows us to oversee our government and hold it accountable for its actions.”

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