A.Jay Wagner is an assistant professor of journalism and media studies at Marquette University, He previously taught at Bradley University, Butler University and Indiana University, where he also earned his doctorate of mass communications. His research focuses on media law with a special interest in access to government information and freedom of information laws.

Since defending his dissertation, A.Jay has won the 2017 Robert M. O'Neil Top Paper Award in the Freedom of Expression Division at NCA, the 2017 Top Debut Faculty Paper in the Communication Law & Policy Division at AEJMC and a 2016 top paper prize in the Communication & Law Division at NCA. His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals and law reviews, and his dissertation was cited widely by the FOIA community, including in a Knight Foundation report, "Forecasting Freedom of Information"; James T. O'Reilly's definitive legal guide, "Federal Information Disclosure"; and Access Reports, a trade publication for access professionals.

During the summer of 2017, he conducted a grant-funded audit of Illinois FOIA compliance with a journalism student, which resulted in publishing an opinion piece in the capital's paper, the State Journal-Register, and coverage by NPR Illinois and in local press throughout the state. A.Jay received two grants to continue his work auditing state FOI compliance, beginning with the state of Wisconsin in spring of 2019 and expanding to six more states over the summer.

A.Jay has taught a range of courses at Marquette University, Indiana University, Butler University and Bradley University to undergraduate and graduate students, including journalism skills, communication law, critical media studies, access to government information and an honors section on transparency theory. He has worked professionally as a journalist, primarily writing for Sun-Times Media in the Chicagoland and the Herald Times in Bloomington, Indiana. He has also worked in press rights advocacy, as a summer fellow at the International Press Institute in Vienna, Austria, and for six months at the McCormick Foundation in Chicago. 

He received his PhD from Indiana University, an MA from DePaul University and a BS from the University of Dayton.

View CV


A Structural Imperative: Freedom of Information, the First Amendment and the Accountability Function of Expression
Quinnipiac Law Review (forthcoming)

“Longstanding, Systemic Weaknesses”: Hillary Clinton’s Emails, FOIA’s Defects and Affirmative Disclosure
University of Florida Journal of Law & Public Policy, 2019 (in press)

A Socialist Newspaper, the First Amendment and the Espionage Act
Journalism History First Amendment Essay Series (2019)

“Courts Coverage” in The International Encyclopedia of Journalism Studies (2019)

A Secret Police: The Lasting Impact of the 1986 FOIA Amendments
Communication Law & Policy, 2018 (doi: 10.1080/10811680.2018.1516441)

Essential or Extravagant: Considering FOIA Budgets, Costs and Fees
Government Information Quarterly, 2017 (doi: 10.1016/j.giq.2017.09.001)
Appendix to Essential or Extravagant

Controlling Discourse, Foreclosing Recourse; The Creep of the Glomar Response
Communication Law & Policy, 2016 (doi: 10.1080/10811680.2016.1216690)
Republished in The U.S. Freedom of Information Act at 50, 2018

Evaluating FOIA's Annual Reports
An excerpt from Access Reports, a FOIA trade journal, November 2016

A Most Essential Principle: Use and Implementation of the Freedom of Information Act, 1975-2014
Unpublished dissertation

Criminal Libel in the Land of the First Amendment
A special report for the International Press Institute (co-author Dr. Tony Fargo)