David Ardia to Join Center, UNC School of Law

David Ardia, director of the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard University, will join the UNC School of Law faculty and become co-director of the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy effective July 1, 2011.

The Citizen Media Law Project provides legal education, assistance and other resources for individuals and organizations involved in online journalism and citizen media. Ardia also is a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Prior to coming to Harvard, Ardia was assistant counsel at The Washington Post, where he provided pre-publication review and legal advice on First Amendment, newsgathering, intellectual property and general business issues. Ardia also served as a law clerk for Judge Conrad Cyr on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and practiced law at Williams and Connolly in Washington, D.C., where he handled a wide range of media law issues.

Ardia’s research focuses on examining the impact of new information technologies on law and society.  His recent publications include these two law review articles: “Free Speech Savior or Shield for Scoundrels: An Empirical Study of Intermediary Immunity Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act,” 43 Loy. L.A.L. Rev. 373 (2010), and “Reputation in a Networked World: Revisiting the Social Foundations of Defamation Law,” 45 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 261 (2010).

Ardia received his J.D. degree, summa cum laude, from Syracuse University College of Law and received an LL.M. from Harvard Law School.  Prior to coming to Harvard, he was assistant counsel at The Washington Post, where he provided pre-publication review and legal advice on First Amendment, newsgathering, intellectual property and general business issues.


First Dual-Degree Student Graduates in May

The first student to complete the dual-degree program offered under the auspices of the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy will graduate May 8, 2011.  The student, Nora Sullivan, will recieve a J.D. from the UNC School of Law and a master’s degree from the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Nora worked as a staff writer on the First Amendment Law Review during the 2009-2010 academic year and served as the journal’s executive editor in 2010-2011.  Her note, “Insincere Apologies: The Tenth Circuit’s Treatment of Compelled Speech in Public High Schools,” was published in the Spring 2010 edition of the journal.

Nora also was awarded the third- place student paper prize in the Law and Policy Division at the 2009 AEJMC Southeast Colloquium.

During the school year, Nora worked as the graduate assistant for the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy and was awarded a Roy H. Park Fellowship from the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  She held the following summer jobs: research assistant for UNC School of Law Professor Deborah Gerhardt; intern for Hon. Carol A. Dalton, associate judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; and summer fellow for the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau.

After graduation, Nora will serve as a law clerk for Hon. Carol A. Dalton in Washington, D.C.


Center joins Carnegie Media Law Project

The UNC Center for Media Law and Policy has joined the Carnegie Media Law Project on Journalism Schools as News Providers.

Funded with a grant from the Carnegie Corporation, the project aims to identify and address the legal needs and concerns of journalism schools whose students are publishing online.  The project is directed by Geanne Rosenberg, professor in the Department of Journalism and the Writing Professions at the Baruch College of the City University of New York.

Participating schools and organizations, in addition to the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, include Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, The Poynter Institute, Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center’s Citizen Media Law Project, Howard University, Arizona State University, Boston University, CUNY, American University, University of Missouri, University of Minnesota and USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism.

In February Professor Rosenberg met in Chapel Hill with members of the faculty of the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication to hear their thoughts about how to best protect the valuable journalism UNC students are contributing to the public.

On April 8, 2011, representatives of all the participating schools and organizations will meet at The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., to continue work on the project.  The UNC Center for Media Law and Policy will be represented at the meeting by Center Director Cathy Packer.


Research prizes and presentations

Six UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication graduate students and one faculty member have had media law research papers accepted for presentation at the Southeast Colloquium for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Columbia, S.C., March 17-19, 2011.  Among their papers are the first and second-place prize winners in the student paper competition.

These are the authors and the titles of their papers:

  • Jonathan D. Jones (M.A./J.D. dual-degree student), top student paper, “Personal Jurisdiction and Internet Libel:  Why the First Amendment Should Have a Role in the Decision to Exercise Jurisdiction.”
  • Roxanne Coche (Ph.D. student), second-place student paper, “Blurring and Tarnishment:  How Federal Court Have Applied the 2006 Trademark Dilution Revision Act Standards.”
  • Scott Parrott (Ph.D. student), “Does ‘Free Press’ Mean It’s Free to Use?  Fair Use and the Unauthorized Reproduction of News Content Online.”
  • Gillian Wheat (master’s student), “Retransmission Consent:  An Exploration of its Past, Present and Future.”
  • Lydia E. Wilson (master’s student), “Felony Use of an Audio-Enabled Video Phone or Political Speech?  All-party Consent Anti-Wiretapping Statutes and the Public’s Right to Monitor Police Work.”
  • Stephanie Soucheray-Grell (master’s student), “The Drug-Maker and the Doctor:  Recent FDA Warning Letters and Direct-to-Professional Promotional Speech.”
  • Debashis “Deb” Aikat, associate professor, with Nikhil Moro of the University of North Texas, “Adjudicating Libel:  Freedom of Expression Theory in the Digital Age.”

Congratulations, everyone!


Dinner with the N.C. Supreme Court

A group of students and faculty from the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication had dinner with members of the N.C. Supreme Court and the N.C. Press Association on Feb. 16, 2011.  After dinner the people at each table (there was a justice at each table) discussed one of these topics:

1.  Do you believe in the concept of judicial independence?  Should media endorsements be made on the basis of decisions made in certain cases?  If you believe in both, how can the two ideas be reconciled?

2.  Given that public financing limits the campaigns of judicial candidates, which results in most voters being uninformed (1/3 of voters do not vote for judges, and 1/2 of those who do vote for judges likely cast uninformed votes), should the media be more proactive in covering judicial races and helping in this aspect of civic education?

3.  What is the appropriate role of the media in covering appellate court decisions?  Does an incentive to cover the more controversial decisions conflict with a duty to inform the public of important, yet less intriguing, decisions?  Do controversial decisions receive too much editorial commentary, as opposed to general, fact based coverage?

4.  In the case of criminal trials, particularly high-profile crimes, where should courts draw the line on media coverage in order to ensure a fair trial, or should they draw a line at all? Could a trial closed to the public ever be fair to the defendant or the victims?

5.  Are voters qualified to elect appellate judges? Most have no real idea of who is on the ballot now. What might be better ways to select people to serve on the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court? Should they have life terms such as federal judges?