Online News Association’s “Law School for Digital Journalists” Stimulates Discussion

Last week, my colleague Ilana Bergstrom and I attended a session called “Law School for Digital Journalists” at a conference hosted by the Online News Association. Although both of us went to law school, the session seemed like an opportunity to learn about the unique issues that online journalists face. Indeed, the session promised “classes [on] the full range of legal issues that impact the professional lives of digital journalists: copyright, newsroom law, international media law, access and FOIA, and the legal issues involved in launching and running a digital news operation.” The instructors were experts on digital media law, presented in conjunction with the UNC Center for Media Law & Policy, the Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Both of us found the speakers dynamic, the discussions interesting, and the material familiar yet refreshing. From First Amendment rights to U.K. copyright law to journalism/news business law, the topics covered reiterated the need for an ongoing dialogue between professionals in different fields. As a contributor to Justia’s Verdict and Onward Blog and with aspirations of writing more, I found the level of engagement to be stimulating, combining two of my own passions: writing and the law. Ilana writes for Justia’s Onward Blog and expressed similar satisfaction with the session’s treatment of the union of law and journalism.

As a side note, but of no less importance, we both thoroughly enjoyed the lunch presentation by Pulitzer Prize-winning political animator Mark Fiore. His presentation combined humor, politics, and a no-holds-barred commentary on some oft-overlooked aspects of our society.

Thanks to all who contributed to the conference and to those who made it happen!