Harold W. “Hal” Fuson concluded more than 40 years as a newspaperman after negotiating the sale of one of the nation’s 25 largest dailies, The San Diego Union-Tribune. The sale by San Diego-based Copley Press was completed in May 2009. For more than two decades, Hal was Copley’s chief legal advisor and in 2007 he became the company’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. Hal continues to serve on the Copley board as it unwinds its remaining assets. Previously, he was senior staff counsel at The Times Mirror Company, where he was legal advisor to The Los Angeles Times news department, and had an 11-year career as a college journalism teacher.

Hal played leadership roles in a number of media trade organizations, including membership on the boards of the Newspaper Association of America, California Newspaper Publishers Association (where he was vice president and chair of the government affairs committee) and Media Law Resource Center (where he served as chair).

His book, “Telling It All: A Legal Guide to the Exercise of Free Speech,” was described by Publishers Weekly as an “admirable easy-to-read handbook on how to avoid the legal pitfalls that can accompany free expression.” His work to expand and protect First Amendment rights has been recognized nationally by the Media Law Resource Center and by state associations in California and Illinois. In 2006 the California Press Association named him California Newspaper Executive of the Year.

Hal is a trustee of his alma mater, Grinnell College, a director of the First Amendment Coalition and past chair of San Diego’s Tony-winning Old Globe Theatre.

Published Work


Telling It All: A Legal Guide to the Exercise of Free Speech.” “The tone of this book may be witty and conversational, but its purpose is dead serious: to keep practitioners of free speech, especially journalists, out of court.” Library Journal


The First Amendment: Strongly protected free speaking but dangerously closed ears. Published in Transatlantic Relations: The Regent’s Report 2014. “The right to speak freely in the US today is strong, but the capacity of the audience to hear is dangerously deficient.”


Hal Fuson

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