Graduating Media Law Ph.D. Student Lands Faculty Position at LSU

Brooks Fuller headshotUNC media law Ph.D. student Brooks Fuller will begin work as an assistant professor in the Manship School of Communication at Louisiana State University in the fall. Brooks will teach classes in media law, ethics, and First Amendment issues.

Brooks will graduate from the Ph.D. program in the UNC School of Media and Journalism in May.

Brooks’s dissertation is titled “Words, Wounds, and Relationships: a Mixed-Method Study of Free Speech and Harm in High-Conflict Environments.” His work uses a mixed-method approach – legal analysis and ethnographic fieldwork – to better understand the importance of contextual analysis in determining whether potentially harmful speech is protected by the First Amendment. Brooks has conducted extensive fieldwork at an abortion clinic, where he observed and interviewed protestors on both sides of the abortion issue.

“I can’t really say enough about how important the growing attention to interdisciplinary research has been in positioning me for the job at LSU,” Brooks said. “Opportunities made available through the Park Fellowship and the Center for Media Law and Policy allowed me to explore outside my discipline and make connections with scholars similarly exploring at other institutions. The mentorship I received from the faculty in the MJ-School helped me find a path that I think will make me truly happy.

Congratulations, Brooks!

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Summer Grants for UNC Law and Graduate Students Interested in Media Law and Policy

summer-job-pictureAre you interested in pursuing a career in media law or policy?  Are you worried that you won’t be able to take that plum summer job in New York, Washington, or Los Angeles because it’s just too expensive to live there.  Well, the Center for Media Law and Policy is here to help.  For the sixth year in a row, the Center will be providing stipends to UNC law and graduate students who have a summer job in the field of media law or media policy.  In past years, UNC students have received Center stipends while working at a wide range of organizations, including the Federal Communications Commission, National Public Radio, Electronic Frontier FoundationFoundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Future of Privacy Forum, and Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

The Center’s summer grants program is administered in conjunction with the UNC School of Law’s Public Interest Summer Grants Program, which provides funds to law students taking unpaid or low-paying public interest jobs. Funding for these grants comes from several sources, including the Carolina Public Interest Law Organization (CPILO), private funds given by generous donors, law school funds allocated by the Dean, and student organizations that fundraise to support students working in a particular area of interest.  In 2016, the law school awarded more than $160,000 to 64 students. 

Wait, you don’t have a summer job yet?!  Head over to our media law and policy Jobs Center, where you will find dozens of summer (and post-graduate) employment opportunities. You can easily find the perfect job for you by using our advanced search feature to search by location, keyword, or practice area.  Also, try browsing by job type or category for a more expansive look at the jobs listed. Still not sure what you want to do for the summer?  You can read about the summer experiences of your fellow students on the Center’s blog.

Requirements and Information on How to Apply for a Summer Grant

For UNC law students interested in both a Center grant and a law school grant, the deadline for applying is March 12, 2017.  The application process and general requirements for both grants is the same. Simply check the box on the  application for the law school’s Summer Public Interest Grant indicating “Media Law or Policy” under the heading “Substantive Areas Your Summer Employment Will Involve” and you will be automatically considered for Center funds in addition to the law school grant.  If you have already filled out an application, just log back in and check the box for “Media Law or Policy”; you can make changes to your application until the application deadline.

For UNC graduate students and law students who are not eligible for law school funds, the deadline for applying for a summer grant is also March 12, 2017, but you will need to download the application form and send it directly to us at medialaw [at] unc.edu along with the other supporting material described below. 

Please note that you must have a job offer from one of the following types of organizations to be eligible for law school funds: a nonprofit organization (an organization that is described in section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Code), a legal aid office, a state or federal government agency, a public defender office, or a district attorney office. If are a UNC graduate student or law student who is not seeking law school funds, your employer does not need to meet the requirements described directly above.

Applications will be evaluated based on (a) your demonstrated commitment to working in the areas of media law or policy and (b) the quality of your essays (each essay must not be more than 500 words).

Required documents include:

  1. Resume (without grade information)
  2. Offer letter from your employer
  3. Essays (no more than 500 words each) *

* Essay questions:

  • Essay #1: Describe your work responsibilities and how they relate to media law or media policy.
  • Essay #2: Describe your commitment to public service. How have your past interests and work experiences contributed to your proposed summer internship responsibilities?
  • Essay #3: How do you see this summer work experience contributing to your long-term career goals?

Be sure to check out these Tips for Writing a Strong Grant Application. You will be notified of a decision in early April.

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Dual-Degree Student Wins ACLU Award

Chanda Mimg_0598arlowe, a fourth-year student in Carolina’s dual-degree program, recently was awarded the ACLU of Northern California’s 2016 Paine Award. The Paine Award is given annually to an “especially deserving” summer intern who demonstrates a commitment to public interest work.

The Paine Award is named for Robert Paine, who passed away just as he was graduating from law school with plans to practice public interest law. Chanda earned the award, which provides her with a $1,000 stipend, after spending a summer interning with the ACLU of Northern California.

As a litigation intern, Chanda conducted legal research and writing in support of active and potential impact litigation on issues of student privacy. She also toured the San Joaquin Valley and gained new insights into the ACLU’s subtle but important work supporting local organizations.

After she graduates in May 2017 with both a J.D. and a master’s in mass communication, Chanda plans to pursue a career practicing public interest privacy law.

“I was incredibly honored to learn that I was chosen as the recipient of this year’s Paine Award,” Chanda said. “I loved my summer working with the ACLU and am looking forward to continuing to work in public interest law.

Congratulations, Chanda!

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Center to Hire Media Law and Policy Fellow

UNCI’m excited to announce that the Center will be hiring a Media Law and Policy Fellow!  The fellow will play a critical role in supporting a major research initiative at the Center focused on examining various legal and policy issues related to improving government transparency, including the impact government transparency can have on privacy, cybersecurity, equality, and other important interests.

This is a two-year position with a possible renewal for a third year. The salary is $47,476 annually and is accompanied by the standard UNC benefits package and health care insurance for postdoctoral research scholars.

Applicants must hold a J.D. or a Ph.D. We will give preference to applicants with demonstrated interest in the Center’s areas of focus, including journalism, First Amendment, government transparency, and privacy. Applicants should also have experience working with students, organizing events, and managing complex projects. 

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A J.D. and Ph.D.;
  • Knowledge of and interest in the Center’s work;
  • Excellent research, writing, editing, and analytical skills, including empirical legal research experience;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills;
  • Experience with program planning, administration, and fundraising; and
  • Experience with website, blog, and social media design and content creation.

Applications will be reviewed beginning immediately and will continue until the position is filled. The successful candidate should be prepared to start no later than July 1, 2017, with a potential commencement date as early as January 1, 2017.  

For more information on the position as well as instructions on how to apply, please visit the official position posting on the University of North Carolina’s human resources site, available at: https://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/108165. You can download a PDF version of the job posting here.

Questions about the position should be directed to medialaw[at]unc.edu.

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Congratulations, #uncfree Instagram Contest Winner Christine Bang

“We all have the right to [RAP]PS.” RAPPS stands for religion, assembly, petition, press and speech. — Christine Bang, UNC ’17

“We all have the right to [RAP]PS.” RAPPS stands for
religion, assembly, petition, press and speech.
— Christine Bang, UNC ’17

UNC student Christine Bang is the winner of the 2016 #uncfree Instagram Contest. The contest was part of Carolina’s eighth-annual First Amendment Day celebration, which is designed to both celebrate the First Amendment and explore its role in the lives of Carolina students. Anyone who filled out an “I believe in the First Amendment because…” mini poster, took a picture with/of the poster, and posted it to Instagram with the hashtag #uncfree on First Amendment Day was eligible to win. 

Christine posted, “I believe in the First Amendment because… we all have the right to (RAP)ps.” RAPPS stands for religion, assembly, petition, press and speech. Her winning photo and caption earned her a First Amendment Day t-shirt, a $20 Starbucks gift card, and a chance for her quote to be featured on next year’s First Amendment Day t-shirt.  

Christine is a senior from Fayetteville, N.C., majoring in advertising. She was previously Dr. Ekstrand’s student in MEJO 340, “Introduction to Media Law.”  When asked about why she chose advertising and what she hopes to do after graduation, Christine said, “I am passionate about visual storytelling, and I was happy to find a major that combined my interests in art and writing into one. I was drawn to advertising because it embodied qualities that I value: collaboration, community, and creativity. After graduation, I’d love to work at an agency for a couple years and learn from work experience and move out to the west coast one day.”

First Amendment Day is organized by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy. The center is a collaboration between the School of Media and Journalism and the School of Law. Generous funding for the day’s events is provided by Charter Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable).

Congratulations, Christine! 

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