Long, Burnham to receive NYCLU award
Long, Burnham to receive NYCLU awardMay 18, 2006Cynthia J. Moritzcjmoritz@syr.edu
On June 1, Syracuse University professors Susan Long and David Burnham, founders and co-directors of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), will receive the Kharas Award from the Central New York Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU).
Long is an associate professor in SU’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management. Burnham–a writer, investigative reporter and researcher–is an associate research professor in SU’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. In 1989, Long and Burnham founded TRAC to make available comprehensive information on federal enforcement, staffing and spending. The information, much of it obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, consists of more than a terabyte of data, the equivalent of about 500 million printed pages. TRAC makes this available through its public website, http://trac.syr.edu, and a subscription service, http://tracfed.syr.edu.
According to the NYCLU, Long and Burnham are being honored for their “strength, tenacity, and willingness to take direct action to protect the right of the American public to have comprehensive information about what the federal government is doing.”
In addition to teaching managerial statistics and research methods at SU, Long has spent her professional career using the Freedom of Information Act to provide public access to electronic records and administrative database systems to assess the performance of government.
Her active work on freedom of information matters began in 1970 when she and her husband, the late Phil Long, began a decade-long FOIA effort to reform long-entrenched secrecy practices at the Internal Revenue Service. During the 1980s her FOIA work continued as director of SU’s Center for Tax Studies.
Long earned a Ph.D. in sociology with a dual major in statistics and criminology at the University of Washington. She completed post-doctoral work in statistics at Princeton University. Her current research focuses upon data architecture, reliability and validity issues in database systems, and the design of data mining and analysis tools for non-statisticians.
Burnham started as a reporter in 1958, working for UPI, Newsweek, CBS and other organizations. From 1968 to 1986, he was an investigative reporter with The New York Times in New York and Washington, D.C. He has written three books and numerous magazine articles.
Burnham has received a number of professional honors, including the George Polk Award for Community Service from Long Island University (1968); the Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship (1987); the Best Investigative Book of 1990 from Investigative Reporters and Editors; and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in Bellagio, Italy (1992). In 2003, Burnham was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.