News Gathering

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders takes questions while holding the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Reporters Persona Non Grata at White House

Donald Trump has often called out news organizations as “fake news,” excluded reporters from rallies, and limited press access both on the campaign trail and after assuming office. But many are condemning the White Houses’ move to revoke the press credentials of CNN’s Jim Acosta unprecedented and dangerous. Larger questions still remain: can reporters be barred from news conferences because the Trump administration objects to coverage? And will reporter’s boycott White House press briefings in solidarity with Acosta and in defense of press freedom?

November 7, 2018 Access, News Gathering
A police officer walks up the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington March 2, 2015. The Supreme Court will hear "King v. Burwell" on March 4, a challenge on whether residents in at least 34 U.S. states are eligible for federal tax subsidies to help them buy health coverage under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.    REUTERS/Joshua Roberts    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH BUSINESS)

Ballard Spahr: What Does the “New” Supreme Court Portend for Media Lawyers?

Reprinted with Permission from Ballard Spahr Much ink has been spilled over the potential ramifications of now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court across a broad range of issues—from executive power and reproductive rights to redistricting and gun control. That commentary has included multiple examinations of his likely impact on the wide spectrum of recurring First Amendment questions[Read More…]

October 11, 2018 News Gathering, Top Stories
Knight Institute Urges Facebook To Change Policy To Create “Safe Harbor” For Journalists And Researchers

Knight Institute Urges Facebook To Change Policy To Create “Safe Harbor” For Journalists And Researchers

August 7, 2018: Knight Institute Requests And Suggests Amendments To Facebook’s Terms Of Service In Letter To Zuckerberg In a letter sent to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, The Knight First Amendment Institute called on the platform to amend its terms of service to allow journalists and researchers to safely operate on the platform. The letter, sent on behalf of three journalists[Read More…]

August 9, 2018 News Gathering, Press, Top Stories
Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz walks back in court as his attorney Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill (L) looks on in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. April 27, 2018.      Taimy Alvarez/Sun-Sentinel/Pool via REUTERS

Florida School Board Wants To Hold Newspaper In Contempt For Publishing Parkland Shooter’s Records

August 15, 2018:”I find it shameful”: Judge Reprimands Newspaper For Publishing Redacted Material A Broward County judge lambasted the Sun Sentinel for publishing disclosed information contained in a redacted report that the paper says it obtained legally, because the information was already made public.  In response to the judge’s claim that she was under the impression that the newspaper would[Read More…]

Newly printed  Detroit News newspapers run thru the printing presses at the newspapers printing plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan December 16, 2008. The Newspapers Partnership announced a plan to reduce home-delivery of the papers to three days a week and a push for their on-line editions.   REUTERS/Rebecca Cook   (UNITED STATES)

Are Newsprint Tariffs Repressing The Free Press?

The U.S. International Trade Commission is considering whether to permanently institute a 30 percent tariff on newsprint from Canada, the largest source for US newspapers. In light of recent layoffs at the New York Daily News and many other newsrooms tapering their staff and product, how will this looming tariff threaten the operation and publication of newspapers of all sizes across the country?

August 6, 2018 Below the Fold, News Gathering, Press
Gene Policinski, Chief Operating Officer, Newseum Institute and First Amendment Center of Newseum Institute

Gene Policinski Commentary: The First Amendment Was Meant For Times Like Now

The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment expert, Gene Policinski, originally published this commentary on August 1, 2018, on the Newseum blog, and has given First Amendment Watch permission to reprint.           Donald Trump is working the old political shell game again — one that journalists must refuse to play and that every citizen should take as a[Read More…]

August 1, 2018 News Gathering, Press, Top Stories
BuzzFeed News Demands Access To Texas Detention Facility On First Amendment Grounds

BuzzFeed News Demands Access To Texas Detention Facility On First Amendment Grounds

June 20, 2018: BuzzFeed Is Calling On The U.S. Customs and Border Protection To Grant Its Reporters Access To The Facility BuzzFeed News sent a letter sent to the Chief Counsel of U.S. Customs and Border Protection requesting access to a centralized processing center in McAllen, Texas for a previously scheduled tour after a reporter’s request for attendance was rejected. [Read More…]

June 21, 2018 News Gathering, Press, Top Stories
Lata Nott, Executive Director of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center

Lata Nott: The Biggest Threat To Democracy Might Be The Loss Of Local Newspapers

The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment expert, Lata Nott, originally published this op-ed on the Newseum blog and in local newspapers across the country, and has given First Amendment Watch permission to reprint.         If you’re reading this column in your local newspaper, congratulations!  Just by skimming your eyeballs over this page, whether it’s in print or online, you’re[Read More…]

June 19, 2018 News Gathering, Press, Top Stories
Jeff Sessions

Crackdown on Leakers Ramps Up With NYT Journalist Targeted in Leaks Investigation

Journalists often publish information taken from leaked classified documents. Does the First Amendment protect them from prosecution for doing so? The Supreme Court has not considered that exact question, but Bartnicki v. Vopper suggests that journalists would indeed be protected as long as they were innocent recipients of the information—that is, they did not participate in or encourage the illegal activity of leaking classified information. Under the Espionage Act of 1917, the government would have to prove that the journalists published with the intent to hurt the United States, a requirement that would likely be difficult to satisfy. The leakers, of course, do risk prosecution, and journalists can be ensnared in an investigation to discover the names of the confidential sources who provided the information to them. Aggressive prosecution of leakers began under President Obama – with the most famous case, Edward Snowden, still in hiding in Russia – and continues under President Trump. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rumored to even be considering a lie detector test to ferret out leakers.

June 13, 2018 Below the Fold, Leaks, News Gathering
Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel (screenshot from Providence Journal video 2012)

Newspaper Challenging RI Judge In Federal Court For Banning Juror Contact

June 12, 2018: Newspaper Seeking Clarification On Free Press Principles The Providence Journal is moving a First Amendment complaint against a Superior Court judge to federal court for declaring a ban on reporter contact with jurors after a trial. The newspaper’s lawyers, the state Superior Court, and the judge could not reach an agreement about reporter’s access to jurors and[Read More…]