Team

Stephen D. Solomon, Editor

Stephen D. SolomonStephen 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.

You can reach Prof. Solomon at sds1@nyu.edu


Sally Stapleton, Managing Editor

Sally StapletonSally Stapleton has held newsroom leadership roles covering the most far-reaching stories, including the Chilean plebiscite which voted out dictator Augusto Pinochet, funerals for Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and Princess Diana, the terror attacks of September 11, the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, which received the 1995 Feature Photography Pulitzer Prize for an Associated Press staff entry.

She was with AP Photos from 1990 until the end of 2003. As deputy executive photo editor, she was responsible for all editorial aspects of the U.S. and international photo operation, which included more than 400 staff photographers and editors. In 2002, she received a Fulbright scholarship to work with Rwandan journalists that led to her involvement to establish a media training center for working journalists in Kigali.

She worked at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from October 2016 until April 2019, first as the assistant managing editor for Visuals and months later, as managing editor. The staff of the Post-Gazette won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for its coverage of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre. She returned to the AP in 2019 to launch its global religion department.

She received bachelor and master’s degrees from the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri – Columbia.

You can reach Sally Stapleton at ses9694@nyu.edu


David Hudson, Legal Fellow

David Hudson
David L. Hudson, Jr. is the author, co-author, or co-editor of more than 40 books, including First Amendment: Freedom of Speech (Thomson Reuters, 2012), Let the Students Speak!: A History of the Fight for Free Expression in American Schools (Beacon Press, 2011), and the two-volume set The Encyclopedia of the First Amendment(CQ Press, 2008). He also is the author of a 12-part lecture series on the First Amendment entitled Freedom of Speech: Understanding the First Amendment. He serves as an assistant professor of law at Belmont University College of Law.


Charles Slack, Contributor

Charles SlackCharles Slack is the author of four mainstream nonfiction books, most recently Liberty’s First Crisis (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2015), described by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham as “a terrific piece of history.” Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America’s First Female Tycoon, won the 2005 Connecticut State Book Award for Biography and the Elle Magazine Reader Prize for Biography. His mainstream journalism has appeared in many national publications. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and family.


Research Assistants


Jaewon Baek, Cornell ‘20 

Jaewon BaekJaewon Baek graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Philosophy. Her past internships included working at law firm Cohen & Gresser in New York and the NY State Office of Court Administration. Jaewon also sought to confront international human rights abuses through her volunteer work, while heading a large Cornell dance group. Jaewon plans to attend law school and pursue a career in international law.


Mercedes Harvell

Mercedes HarvellMercedes Harvell is a rising junior double majoring in Journalism and Politics with a minor in Spanish at NYU. She is apart of NYU’s Puerto Rican Student Association and WEST. Upon completing her undergraduate studies in the spring of 2022, she plans to attend law school. Mercedes looks to pursue a career in constitutional law.