Tag Archives | Student Jobs

A UNC Student’s Summer Experience at the Berkman Center’s Digital Media Law Project

IMG_4639This summer, I was fortunate enough to intern for the Digital Media Law Project (DMLP) at the Berkman Center in Cambridge, MA. Our office facility — fondly referred to as the “big yellow house” — was home to a large number of Berkman Center projects, of which the DMLP was one.

The Berkman Center is a wonderful place to work, as the house is constantly filled to the brim with scholars in a variety of fields. It seemed that wherever you went, from the front porch to the kitchen, you were welcomed in eavesdropping on a conversation about an interesting new research project or developing body of law. Berkman also houses a number of fascinating software development projects.

My day-to-day life as a DMLP intern was filled with media law — a complex world of legal issues like defamation, copyright, trademark, anti-SLAPP motions, Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act, DMCA takedown notices, shield laws for reporters, first amendment issues, and more.

I worked on a number of projects for the DMLP throughout the summer. In my legal threat research, my supervisors, Jeff Hermes and Andy Sellars, encouraged me to delve into complex litigation procedures while analyzing court documents for recent media law cases. Through this research, I gained an understanding of how pervasive media law issues are in our court system and in our lives.

On another project, I researched and wrote detailed legal guides on issues such as how to form a journalism cooperative in Pennsylvania and how to operate under Tennessee’s recording laws. The legal guide work is essential for reporters and citizen journalists who need to understand in non-legalese the legal implications of publishing within their state.

IMG_4737Finally, every two weeks, I was encouraged to develop a blog post on my topic of choice. The DMLP blogs provided me the freedom to delve into specific areas of media law including a patent on podcasts, the federal shield law, and how journalist organizations are using Instagram.

My research at the DMLP wasn’t all that Berkman had to offer. One week, my supervisors, my fellow DMLP interns, and I were invited to attend a Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education course at which our supervisor, Jeff Hermes, was presenting. This experience was certainly one of the highlights of my summer as I was able to hear first-hand about the most recent issues and case law in this field.

Each week, my fellow “Berkterns” and I were invited to attend lunchtime and afternoon seminars on a variety of topics, legal and otherwise, given by scholars at the top of their fields. These presentations were followed by intellectually stimulating discussions which often challenged me to consider new ideas and viewpoints. (Another summer highlight: at one such lunchtime presentation, representatives from Google Glass came by and let us try on Glass(es)! The demo led to a great discussion about the legal, social, and privacy implications of the new technology.)

IMG_6199I would highly recommend an internship at the Digital Media Law Project to anyone interested in studying recent media law cases and understanding the protections needed to prevent chilling effects. I made great friends, had a wonderful time traveling around Boston and Cambridge, and embraced everything the area had to offer. Through the DMLP’s collaborative work environment, I was able to learn so much about media law and witness first-hand how this relatively new area of law is influencing a wide range of people across the country.

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Looking for a Job in Media Law?

jobsLooking for a job can be time consuming and frustrating.  Often the best opportunities are found through networking and word of mouth.  But what if you are a student or recent grad? Or are trying to change fields or areas of practice and you don’t have a network?  Breaking into a new field, or even trying to find new opportunities in a field you already occupy, can be challenging.  This is why the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy has created its new media law and policy Job Center.

We Bring Our Network to You

Over the years, the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy has a built up a large (and growing) network of media law and policy minded folks and they are often looking for people just like you.  From an undergraduate internship at the Brookings Institution to a director position at Harvard’s Digital Initiative our network of contacts are constantly making us aware of openings and opportunities in the field of media law and policy.  Our Job Center database brings that network to you.  For free.  Just like that.

Easy to use

Not only does our database instantly plug you into our network of contacts and opportunities it is easy to use. You can browse by job type or category or use our advanced search feature to search by location, keyword, or practice area. Looking for a fellowship? Bam. Got it: Fellowships. How about an internship? Yep, that too: Internships.  An academic teaching position? Also covered: Academic – Journalism and Academic – Law.

Wide Variety

Don’t be deceived by the few examples of categories I just offered in the previous paragraph.  There are job opportunities from almost every field even remotely under the media law and policy umbrella.  IP, Copyright, Photo Journalism, Broadcast, FTC listings, Cyber Law, Trademark—you name it there are job opportunities.  Whatever you are looking for, chances are there is something for you on our page.  Here is a list of some of my favorite recent postings:

William Smith is a 2L at the University of North Carolina School of Law

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A UNC Student’s Summer Experience at NPR

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I have always admired NPR’s style of broadcast journalism. Through their use of compelling voice-overs, descriptive writing styles, and natural sound, the organization’s reporters have a way of bringing life to stories that lack pictures. Naturally, as one of UNC’s law and journalism dual-degree students, I jumped at the opportunity to spend my summer working in NPR’s Office of the General Counsel.

At NPR, I received exposure to all aspects of media law. On a typical day, I could do anything from answering fair use questions to investigating international broadcasting issues to assisting with FOIA requests. By working at NPR, my knowledge of First Amendment, intellectual property, and administrative law increased immeasurably.

The staff at the OGC also encouraged me to attend legal events outside NPR. I heard Gary Pruitt, Chairman and CEO of the Associated Press, speak at the National Press Club about the Department of Justice’s decision to subpoena, without notice, phone records from the AP’s reporters. I also interacted with prominent members of the media law community at events held at The Washington Post and other venues around D.C. My days were rarely, if ever, filled with a dull moment.

I had the added benefit of working in NPR’s brand-new building located at 1111 North Capitol Street, NE. From my office desk, I had this amazing view of the Capitol Building.

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Being located at NPR’s new headquarters also enabled me to interact with members of the newsroom and watch broadcasts of Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Talk of the Nation.

Through these activities, I left the classroom setting and observed how media law issues impact real journalists.

I would recommend NPR’s internship program to anyone interested in media law. The organization has many intelligent and talented people who are eager to help interns learn. I am honored to have been an intern in the OGC and am proud to have represented Carolina at NPR!

Kevin Delaney is a 2L at the University of North Carolina School of Law and a second-year master’s student at the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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A UNC Student’s Summer Experience at the FCC

FCC-LogoAs I mentioned back in March, the Center provides summer grants to UNC law and graduate students who have unpaid or low-paying public interest jobs in the field of media law or media policy. (I hope some of you will apply for a grant next year!)  If you have been reading Natasha Duarte’s posts this summer, you have a sense of the amazing experience she had at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Well, Natasha wasn’t the only UNC student who had a great summer experience. Below you will find a summary of Minisha Patel’s internship at the Federal Communications Commission.  Minisha is a 3L at the UNC School of Law.

The summer of my second year of law school, I worked as an intern for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). While at the Commission, I worked in the Wireline Competition Bureau, the Commission’s largest and most important bureau. I worked on the Lifeline program, which is a FCC program created in order to aid low-income individuals by providing them with the opportunity to have discounted phone service. The sole purpose of the Lifeline subsidy is to enable low-income individuals to have the same access to telecommunications as the rest of the population. The Lifeline program’s goal is to connect low-income individuals and aims to enable them to access jobs, health care services, schools, and emergency contacts. The program was created by the Reagan administration but is more popularly known as the Obamaphones.

This summer was a very critical time for the Lifeline program as the telephone carriers and subscribers receiving discounts from the program were defrauding the program. This summer, I worked alongside the FCC attorneys to help create a database and stop the carrier’s that are most liable for frauding the system. In addition, I Engaged in legal research and writing in conjunction with several major rulemakings and adjudicatory proceedings, drafted public notices, small business compliance guides, and comment summaries. I also analyzed specific areas of telecommunications law and administrative law and produced memoranda to assist FCC attorneys. Throughout the course of the internship, I worked directly with attorneys on assigned subject matter and attended meetings on a bi-weekly basis.

This internship helped me gain knowledge about interpreting regulations and taught me about the inner workings of the Federal Communications Commission. The internship further enabled me to understand how the government operates with respect to media and telecommunications law.

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