First Amendment Watch is a project of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. Our mission is to document threats to the First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and petition, all rights that are critical to self-governance in a democratic society. We agree with James Madison, author of the First Amendment, who recognized the “right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon, which has ever been justly deemed the only effectual guardian of every other right.”

First Amendment Watch will highlight threats to the freedom of expression as they arise and provide continuing updates as news develops.

The startup phase of First Amendment Watch is entirely funded by New York University as a nonpartisan project in the public interest.

 

Partners

 

Stephen D. Solomon, Editor

Stephen Solomon is founding editor of First Amendment Watch. He is Marjorie Deane Professor at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, where he teaches First Amendment law. His most recent book, Revolutionary Dissent: How the Founding Generation Created the Freedom of Speech (St. Martin’s Press, 2016), explored the birth of freedom of expression in America’s founding period. It was named First Amendment book of the year by the legal blog Concurring Opinions. Another of his books, Ellery’s Protest: How One Young Man Defied Tradition and Sparked the Battle Over School Prayer, told the story of the controversial Supreme Court case that declared state-sponsored prayer and Bible reading in the public schools to be a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. His work has won the Hillman Prize, the Gerald Loeb Award, and the John Hancock Award. He is founder and director of NYU’s M.A. program in Business and Economic Reporting. He is a graduate of Penn State University and Georgetown University Law Center.

 

Tatiana Serafin, Managing Editor

Tatiana Serafin has covered issues of press freedom for various publications, including her latest “I, Journalist” for The Seventh Wave. She was a staff writer at Forbes and then co-editor of the magazine’s billionaire’s list, initiating coverage of billionaires in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. She continues as a Forbes Contributor and is an Adjunct Professor at Marymount Manhattan College. Ms. Serafin is currently working on two book-length projects, including a biography of the founder of New York’s first women’s college, Gorham Abbott, and translations of Ukrainian poetry. Ms. Serafin won the 2014 Front Page Award for her coverage of the crisis in Ukraine and continues to write about the region’s billionaires. Ms. Serafin has an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School, an MA in Business and Economic Reporting from New York University, as well as an MA in Central European and Russian Studies and BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. You can find more on www.tatianaserafin.com.

 

Research Assistant

John Barna, a Research Assistant with First Amendment Watch, is a Presidential Honors Scholar and Global Leadership Scholar pursuing studies in History and Public Policy at New York University. Hailing from Albany, John has interned for The Times Union, upstate New York’s largest daily newspaper. He plans on attending law school following the completion of his undergraduate education.

 

“Central Meaning of the First Amendment”

“. . . a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”

—Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., writing for the Court in New York Times v. Sullivan, 1964