Toni Locy, a veteran of 25 years covering the American justice system at all levels, has been named Washington and Lee’s first Donald W. Reynolds Professor of Legal Reporting.
Locy, currently a visiting professor and Shott Chair of Journalism at West Virginia University, will join W&L’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications on July 1. She will teach courses in reporting on the civil and criminal justice systems. Some of those courses will be offered in collaboration with the university’s School of Law and its legal clinics.
Locy’s three-year position is made possible by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. The Reynolds Foundation began the department’s Business Journalism program with an endowment in 1999 that established the Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Business Journalism. The foundation’s gifts to Washington and Lee now total more than $4 million.
Dean of the College Hank Dobin appointed Locy upon a recommendation by a search committee headed by Reynolds Professor of Business Journalism Pam Luecke. Locy was selected from a nationwide pool of applicants.
“We are delighted that Toni Locy will be joining us,” said Department Head Brian Richardson. “Her experience, her energy, her love for her profession and especially her courage will serve as a guide and inspiration to our students and her new colleagues.”
Locy is currently appealing a contempt citation by a federal district judge after refusing to reveal the names of several confidential sources. She face fines of up to $5,000 a day. She was recently recognized by the American Society of Newspaper Editors at its annual convention, and she has met with Capitol Hill staffers to voice her support for a federal shield law pending before Congress.
The contempt citation arose from Locy’s coverage of the Justice Department for USA Today in 2001 and 2002. Unidentified sources told several reporters, including Locy, that former Army scientist Steven Hatfill was a possible suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people. In 2002 then-Attorney General John Ashcroft called Hatfill a “person of interest” in the investigation.
Hatfill sued, with his lawyers contending that his reputation had been damaged. On March 7, in response to a motion by Hatfill’s lawyers, Federal District Judge Reggie B. Walton ordered Locy to reveal her sources or pay up to $5,000 a day in fines from her own pocket. Four days later a higher court granted a stay while Locy appeals the ruling. A hearing is set for May 9.
In addition to her five years at USA Today, Locy has covered the Supreme Court and legal affairs for the Associated Press, federal courts for The Washington Post, criminal justice for The Philadelphia Daily News and federal courts for The Pittsburgh Press. She has also worked for The Boston Globe and U.S. News & World Report. She has a master’s degree in the studies of law from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.