Tag Archives | Students

Media Law Dual Degree Programs at UNC-Chapel Hill

Hey students, have you thought about what you want to do after you graduate with your undergraduate or master’s degree? Thinking about law school and a career in media law and policy? A strong background in law and mass communication can be a launching pad for a career in law, media, business, entertainment, government, public policy or academia. For a sampling of the jobs available in these growing fields, check out our Media Law Jobs Board.

The nationally renowned UNC School of Media and Journalism and UNC School of Law have brought together these two dynamic fields to offer two exciting dual degree programs in media law and policy that allow students to earn simultaneous M.A./J.D. or Ph.D./J.D. degrees in less time than it would take to earn the individual degrees separately (an earned master’s degree is required to apply for the dual Ph.D./J.D. degree program). Students who apply to the dual degree program can use their LSAT score in lieu of the GRE for admission to the M.A. or Ph.D. program. Dual degree students often work with the Center for Media Law and Policy and receive extensive mentoring from the Center’s affiliated faculty.

We will be holding two information sessions for the Dual Degree Program over the next two weeks.  The first, which is geared primarily for current law students, will take place on October 22 at 5:00 PM in Room 5048 at the UNC School of Law.  The second session will be on October 29 at 5:00 PM in the Freedom Forum Conference Center in Carroll Hall at the UNC School of Media and Journalism. For more information on the October 29 session, please see our separate event listing.

Anyone interested in joining the active and vibrant media law community here at UNC is invited to attend either session. Members of the program’s faculty and current dual degree students will be there to answer questions. Pizza will be served!


Privacy by Design: A Student Guide for Collecting and Protecting User Data

As we start the new semester at UNC – Chapel Hill, I want to reflect briefly on a class I taught last spring and highlight the great work of some of the students in that class.

For the past six years, I’ve taught a class called Media & Internet Law Practicum.  This is a class I designed shortly after joining the faculty at the UNC School of Law.  My goal was to give students the chance to see what it is like to work in the legal department at a diversified media company. I play the role of  “general counsel” and the students, who are assigned to 3-4 person teams, serve as “associate counsel.” In addition to their classroom work, the teams are embedded in one of several ongoing news-producing projects at the UNC School of Media and Journalism, including Carolina Week (television program), Carolina Connection (radio program), Media Hub (multimedia), and Reese News Lab (startup incubator), where the law students work with undergraduate and graduate student journalists.  Through a combination of in-class simulations and real-world problems arising from their projects, the students gain substantial insight into how in-house lawyers provide legal counseling to media and Internet clients.

At the end of the semester I ask each student team to create a tangible resource/guide that addresses an ongoing legal need for their project.  Over the years, the students have created some fantastic things, including copyright and fair use guides, a primer on FERPA, a pocket summary of a reporter’s legal rights when engaged in newsgathering, fair use training aids, and most recently, a guide titled “Privacy and Security by Design: Best Practices for Collecting and Protecting User Data.” This very useful brochure was created by Amber Lee, David Mansor, and Lauren Russell to help the students in the Reese News Lab avoid legal problems when developing new apps and services. They graciously agreed to allow me to share their work with all of you.

Here is a snippet from the introduction:

No matter what your product is, whether it be an app to inform users on local elections, or a payment service for 20-something drinkers trying to avoid long lines at the bar, you will likely be collecting information from your users. Collecting information about your users allows you to better personalize services and marketing, and sharing the information in an appropriate way could potentially be a revenue stream for your company. Almost all websites—including the Federal Trade Commission’s, the federal agency that polices private companies’ cybersecurity—collect some information on its visitors. But startups should tread carefully. Successful tech companies ranging from Uber to Google to Facebook have gotten into trouble with the FTC and have lost public trust for mishandling user data. It is important to think about users’ privacy throughout your product design and development process.

You can download the entire guide here.  Great work Amber, David, and Lauren!



UNC Media Law Students Receive Awards, Present Research, Accept Jobs, and more

Our media law graduate students are the heart of what we do at the Center for Media Law and Policy. Daily, they impress us with their knowledge, curiosity and passion. Among their many accomplishments and successes, we are proud to highlight the following items:

Third-year PhD student and Park Fellow Kyla Garrett Wagner was awarded UNC’s 2018 Student Excellence in Mentoring Award. The award recognizes graduate and professional students who engage in outstanding peer mentorship across campus. Wagner is an interdisciplinary student who studies sexual expression as a free speech and public health issue. She recently served as first author on a study about citizen support for a California law requiring adult film actors to wear condoms. The article titled, “My sexual entertainment, my vote: How attitudes toward condom use in pornography related to support for California’s condom law.” The paper was written with Dr. Joe Cabosky, a faculty member in the School of Journalism and Media, and was published in the journal Sexuality & Culture.

Three Carolina students presented at the 2018 Association for Educators in Journalism in Mass Communication (AEJMC) Southeast Colloquium. Third-year PhD student and Park Fellow Kriste Patrow presented on the issue of government speech after a Supreme court ruling on the topic; Third-year PhD student and Park Fellow Kyla Garrett Wagner presented her research on sexual expression; and MA/JD student and Pruden Fellow Mariam Turner presented on artificial intelligence and copyright law. Wagner’s paper was selected as the top student paper for her division. The conference took place March 8-10 at the University of Alabama.

MA/JD student and Pruden Fellow Mariam Turner was recently offered a legal internship at National Public Radio (“NPR”). Mariam will spend the summer at NPR’s office in Washington, D.C. where she will work on audio licensing and copyright issues for NPR’s general counsel.



MA/JD student and Park Fellow Lindsie Trego, our resident expert on student expression, has accepted a legal fellowship with the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press, and will begin work with them early next fall. In the meantime, Lindsie will present her thesis research on college media censorship at the AAUP’s Annual Conference on the State of Higher Education in Arlington, VA, June 14-15. This year’s conference has a special focus on free speech on campus. Lindsie is looking forward to presenting to an audience that deals with the practical aspects of student expression in higher education every day. Lindsie was also a recently featured speaker on the Student Press Law Center’s Facebook live webcast celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier Supreme Court decision on student speech.

Third-year Ph.D. student Shao Chengyuan has been invited to present at the International Association for Media and Communication Research conference in Eugene, Ore. in June. She will present two proposals: “Thirty-Seven Years of Comparative Legal Studies on Speech Laws between the United States and China: A Content Analysis,” and “Cybersecurity Law of China and the Chinese Cybersecurity Framework”

Congratulations to our wonderful graduate students!


UNC Students attend NCPA Dinner with NC Supreme Court Justices

UNC students with Senior Associate Justice Paul Martin Newby at the 2018 NCPA dinner.

On Feb. 21, the UNC Center for Media Law co-sponsored the North Carolina Press Association’s (“NCPA”) annual dinner with the North Carolina Supreme Court. The dinner is a staple of the NCPA’s annual convention. One of the goals of the dinner is to offer students a chance to mingle and dine with members of the NCPA Board of Directors and the justices on the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Nearly a dozen Carolina students attended the dinner. Each of the students was placed at a table with a Supreme Court Justice (six of whom attended) and several members of the NCPA. During dinner, the tables were given a list of discussion questions that addressed current issues regarding media access and the courts.

Kyla Wagner, a UNC doctoral student, poses a question to the panel of NC Supreme Court Justices.

The students made wonderful contributions to the conversations thanks to their unique perspective as young lawyers, scholars and journalists who work with the industry and the legal system. The result of each discussion was presented by a student representative from each table.

In addition to the dinner discussions, the students were given the opportunity to ask questions of the justices in an informative panel. The entire event served as a wonderful opportunity for the students to interact with and learn from the justices and NCPA board members.

Many thanks to the NCPA for inviting our students to this event!


UNC Media Law Doctoral Student Wins Top Paper Award for NCA 2017

We are pleased to announce that UNC  doctoral student Shao Chengyuan has won the top student paper award from the Communication and Law Division of the National Communication Association (NCA) this year. Chengyuan will present her paper at the NCA’s annual conference in Dallas, Texas in November. Congratulations, Shao!

Chengyuan studies media law in the UNC School of Media and Journalism. She joined the program in 2015 after earning a master’s in communication from Beijing Foreign Studies University and a bachelor’s in English from China Agricultural University in Beijing. She has now studies media law issues in China, specifically new media-related legislation and the legal boundaries of online free speech.

Chengyuan’s paper, which was blind-reviewed in the NCA’s paper competition,  is titled “Internet Defamation in China: Criminal Cases Since the 2013 Supreme People’s Court Judicial Interpretation.” Here is the abstract.

“This paper examines the recent development in Chinese defamation law, specifically the establishment of a 2013 judicial interpretation by the Supreme People’s Court that criminalized Internet defamation. This paper uses the language of Chinese law and analyzes eight Internet defamation cases decided after the 2013 judicial interpretation on Internet defamation. The criminal cases analyzed in this paper showed how Chinese public prosecutors have employed the new legal rules in cases deemed as threats to public order and state interests, as well as how Chinese individuals, acting as private prosecutors, have pursued criminal defamation prosecutions against online speakers. This paper takes into consideration the cultural and historical background of Chinese criminal defamation law and argues that, in addressing the lack of free speech protection under the current criminal defamation law, Chinese legislators need to consider raising the standard of fault for public officials and eventually abolishing the “state interest clause” of the criminal defamation statute.”