Tag Archives | Reporter’s Privilege

Media law dissertation best in nation

A recent Ph.D. graduate of the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication has won the 2012 Nafziger-White-Salwen Dissertation Award for the best dissertation in the field of mass communication.

The winner is Dr. Dean Smith, an affiliated scholar of the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy. The dissertation award is given by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and will be presented during the association’s national convention in August.

The title of Smith’s dissertation is “Legislating the First Amendment: Statutory Shield Laws as Non-Judicial Precedents.” The work will be published as a book next year by LBF Scholarly Publishing.

Smith’s dissertation adviser was Dr. Cathy Packer, co-director of the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy.

In the fall, Smith will join the faculty at N.C. State University as a teaching visiting professor of journalism in the English Department. He also will teach as an adjunct professor at High Point University.


Ph.D. Grad to Publish Shield Law Research

Dean Smith, who received his Ph.D. in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication in May 2011, has had an article accepted for publication in the “Journal of Media Law and Ethics” this summer. The article is “Journalist Privilege in 1929: The Quest for a Federal Shield Law Begins.”

In his article, Smith uses a critical legal history approach to explore the first attempts to persuade Congress to adopt a federal shield law and explains the lasting impact of those events. This is the first scholarly treatment of the events, and the article incorporates original historical research. The theoretical lens through which the events are viewed is borrowed from Michael Gerhardt, a well-known constitutional-law scholar on the faculty of the UNC School of Law.  The article is based on Smith’s dissertation research.

Smith is an adjunct professor in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  He teaches media law and newswriting.