Author Archive | Cathy Packer

New Media Law PhDs

UNCThe UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication will welcome three new media law students to its Ph.D. program this fall.  All of them have expressed interest in working in the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy.  Welcome, law dawgs!

These are the students and a brief description of each student’s background and research interests:

Nicholas Gross.  Coming to Carolina from San Jose, Calif., Nicholas earned a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in economics and international relations from the University of California, Davis. Currently Nicholas is a legal research attorney for The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara. He also has been a staff attorney with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, GaHis research interests include freedom of expression, internet policy and governance, advertising, intellectual property law, privacy and security law, and telecommunications regulation.

Taeho Lee.  A native of Korea, Taeho earned a J.D. from Emory University and a bachelors in communication from Seoul National University in Korea. He has practiced law in Nashville and Chattanooga, Tenn., and he has advised Fox Television Stations Inc. in Atlanta on diverse legal matters, including state shield laws. He also has assisted lawyers in drafting copyright license agreements between cable networks in Atlanta. He is interested in studying the relationship between protection of privacy, freedom of expression, and potential harm from offensive speech (e.g., violent, indecent, and racially discriminative speech).

Kristen Patrow is coming to Carolina from Minneapolis, Minn. She earned a master’s degree in mass communication from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s in journalism from Bethel University. She has been a teaching assistant for several journalism courses at the University of Minnesota and guest lectured in classes. Her professional experience includes being an events coordinator and social media associate for Christians for Biblical Equity. She organized conferences and wrote articles for newsletters and magazines. She is planning to study media law, especially the First Amendment and how low-value speech, such as pornography, contributes value to a community.


Students Presenting at AEJMC Conference in August 2014

AEJMC LogoThree Carolina students have had media law research papers accepted by the Law and Policy Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) for presentation at the group’s annual conference in Montreal in August.  Congratulations!

These are the authors, theory paper titles, and their paper abstracts:

Kevin Delaney, a student in the dual-degree program earning a J.D. and a master’s in mass communication, wrote “Rube Goldberg-Like Contrivances and Broadcasting:  The Litigation Challenging Aereo.”

Abstract:  The broadcast industry has been abuzz over Aereo, a company that streams broadcast content without a license over the Internet to subscribers.  The nation’s broadcasters have sought to enjoin Aereo by arguing that Aereo’s service violates their right under the Copyright Act of 1976 to perform works publicly.  This paper explores Aereo’s service in the context of the public performance right and offers an argument for how courts should interpret the public performance right.

Kylah Hedding, a Roy H. Park Fellow and Ph.D. student in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, wrote “Does Access to Environmental Information have a Critical Problem?:  Interpretation of FOIA’s Exemption 4 after the Critical Mass III Decision.” This paper won a prize for being the second best student paper in the Law and Policy Division.

Abstract: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is one of the top agencies to invoke Exemption 4 when denying FOIA requests, which exempts from disclosure “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential.” However, the exemption provides no definitions for these key terms, which has been problematic for federal agencies and forced the federal appeals courts to define them. The first major case to establish an Exemption 4 precedent was National Parks v. Morton decided by the District of Columbia Circuit in 1974. The second major case, which either clarified or overturned this precedent, depending on which legal scholar is writing about it, was Critical Mass v. NRC decided in 1992 by the same federal appeals court. This paper examines how Critical Mass v. NRC has influenced the interpretation of Exemption 4 by the federal appeals courts.

Brooks Fuller, another Roy H. Park Fellow and PhD. student in the J-School, wrote “Evaluating Intent in True Threats Cases:  The Importance of Context in Analyzing Threatening Internet Messages.”

Abstract:  Following the Supreme Court’s most recent ruling on the true threats doctrine, Virginia v. Black (2003), significant conflict emerged among the federal circuit courts. The primary issue is whether an objective or subjective standard should apply to statutes that criminalize threats.  Speakers’ use of social networking websites and Internet forums for the purposes of posting violent and intimidating communications raises significant questions regarding the posture of the true threats doctrine and its application to modern modes of communication.  This paper utilizes legal research methods to examine federal courts’ treatment of Internet threats and highlights aspects of Internet speech that are particularly problematic for the doctrine.  Ultimately, this paper calls for the Supreme Court to revisit the true threats doctrine in light of significant inconsistency among the circuits regarding the impact of the Internet on recipients of threatening communications.
Papers for this national competition are double-blind reviewed, and student papers compete for acceptance on equal footing with faculty and co-authored papers.

All these paper were written for media law classes in the Journalism School.


J-School PhD Student awarded Google Policy Fellowship

woolery_liz-150x150UNC Center for Media Law and Policy staffer Liz Woolery has been awarded a Google Policy Fellowship to work at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute in Washington, D.C., this summer.  Congratulations, Liz!

Liz was one of 20 chosen to work at 20 U.S. public interest and technology policy organizations.  She is a Ph.D. student in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication and has organized events for the media law center for three years.

Liz says her time this summer will be spent developing best practices for transparency reporting by tech and telecom companies. She also will examine issues related to information gathering and data collection in public places — her dissertation topic.

The New America Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy institute that invests in thinkers and ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States, specifically challenges brought on by the information-age economy.

The Google Policy Fellowship program was inspired by Google’s Summer of Code with a public policy twist. The Google Policy Fellowship program offers undergraduate, graduate and law students interested in Internet and technology policy the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to the public dialogue on these issues, and exploring future academic and professional interests.


Students Receive Support Grants for Summer Internships

The UNC Center for Media Law and Policy has awarded $1,000 summer grants to two students in the center’s dual-degree program.

The grants went to Natasha Duarte and Kevin Delaney to support their summer internships. Kevin will be at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Arlington, Va.  Natasha will be at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington, D.C., working in the Internet Public Interest Opportunities Program.

The media law center grant program, which is in its second year, supports journalism and law students doing unpaid and low-paying summer internships in the field of media law and policy.  In conjunction with a similar program at the law school, the center ensures that each student has at least $5,000 in summer pay.

Students in the dual-degree program earn both a J.D. and a master’s in journalism.

Congratulations to Natasha and Kevin!


Congratulations to UNC Students: Publications and Conference Papers

What’s more fun that sharing good news about our great media law students?  Absolutely nothing!  So here it goes. . . .

UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication Ph.D. student Karen McIntrye has had an article accepted for publication in the Newspaper Research Journal.  The title of her paper is “Drone Journalism: Exploring the Potential Privacy Invasions of Using Unmanned Aircraft to Gather News.”

Also, three other students and a University of Oklahoma student who will join the J-School faculty next fall had papers accepted for presentation in the Law and Policy Division at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Southeast Colloquium at the University of Florida in March.  The papers went through a process of blind review, with students and faculty competing in the same category.  UNC student papers will represent 25 percent of the papers to be presented at this conference.

These are the students and the titles of their papers:

Kevin Delaney:  “Rube Goldberg-Like Contrivances and Broadcasting: The Litigation Challenging Aereo and FilmOn.”  Kevin is in our dual-degree program, earning an M.A. in mass communication and a J.D.

Natasha Duarte: “I Know Whom You Called Last Summer: Government Collection of Telephony Metadata and the Freedom of Association.”  Natasha is in our dual-degree program.

Liz Woolery:  “The Element that Ate the Tort: Newsworthiness and the Public Disclosure of Private Facts.”  Liz is a Ph.D. student in the J-School.

Also, Adam Saffer, a Ph.D. student at the University of Oklahoma and a soon-to-be public relations professor in the J-School, had this paper accepted:  “Practitioners as Publishers: Examining Public Relations Practitioners’ Claims for Legal Protections Traditionally Associated with the Institutional Press” (with co-author Jared Schroeder from Augustana College).

Congratulations Tar Heel scholars!