FALR Symposium 2019

On November 8-9, the First Amendment Law Review will be joining the Center for Media Law and Policy and the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) to present a symposium and workshop focused on fostering an informed society. This two-day event at the UNC School of Law and UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media will examine the role of the First Amendment in creating an informed society and explore legal and policy interventions that support the creation and dissemination of information that meets the needs of American democracy. The interdisciplinary event will bring together a wide range of media professionals and scholars, including experts on the First Amendment’s speech and press clauses, media business models, antitrust law, FCC’s media ownership rules, net neutrality, intellectual property, journalism, and others whose work deals with media business and First Amendment issues.

Day one kicks off with a symposium hosted by the First Amendment Law Review that will examine the role of the First Amendment in creating an informed society. It will take place at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center at the University of North Carolina. The symposium is free and open to the public, but we do ask that you register in advance.  There also is an option to purchase lunch or receive CLE credit (online or in person).

The second day will consist of an invitation-only workshop/summit at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. It will focus on potential legal and policy responses to the decline of local news reporting, the growth of news deserts, and the rise of mis/disinformation online.

Day One – November 8, 2019

In partnership with the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, the First Amendment Law Review will host a symposium that will bring together lawyers and scholars from across the country to examine the role of the First Amendment in creating an informed society, including whether the First Amendment places affirmative obligations on the government to ensure that American citizens are informed about their world and what can be done, commensurate with the First Amendment, to ensure that public discourse is robust and informed.

Keynote:

A conversation between Leonard Downie Jr., Weil Family Professor of Journalism at the Cronkite School at Arizona State University and former executive editor and vice president of The Washington Post, and Robert Kaiser, former managing editor at The Post and author of eight books, who will discuss the challenges facing American journalism.

Downie and Kaiser co-wrote “The News About the News: American Journalism in Peril” in 2002 and are working on a follow-up to that important, but sobering, examination of journalism at the turn of the century. Downie is also the author, along with Michael Schudson, of a major report on the state of the news media, “The Reconstruction of American Journalism,” published by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2009.

Panel 1: The First Amendment’s Structural Role in Our Democracy

This panel will discuss whether the First Amendment places affirmative obligations on the government to ensure that American citizens are informed about their government and the world. Spurred in part by Jerome Barron’s classic article on First Amendment rights of access to the press, scholars have debated whether the First Amendment merely provides a shield against the government or whether it requires the government to pursue policies that further an informed electorate.

Confirmed Panelists:

  • David Ardia, Reef C. Ivey II Excellence Fund Term Professor of Law & Co-Director of the Center for Media Law and Policy, University of North Carolina School of Law
  • Jerome Barron, Harold H. Greene Professor of Law Emeritus, George Washington University School of Law
  • Amy Gajda, Class of 1937 Professor of Law, Tule University School of Law
  • Gregory Margarian, Thomas and Karole Green Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law

Panel 2: The First Amendment and the Declining Fourth Estate

This panel will examine whether the First Amendment is indifferent to journalism as a means of informing society and to the broader changes in the institutional landscape of free expression, including the proliferation of private platforms that facilitate and moderate public debate. Panelists will also discuss what government, private parties — and individuals themselves — can do to ensure that public discourse is informed.

Confirmed Panelists:

  • Dawn Nunziato, William Wallace Kirkpatrick Research Professor, George Washington University School of Law
  • Jonathan Peters, Assistant Professor of Journalism, University of Georgia
  • Jared Schroeder, Assistant Professor, Southern Methodist University

Panel 3: The First Amendment, Antitrust, and Competition Policy

This panel will consider whether the First Amendment limits government’s ability to regulate the media and communications industries and assess whether government should use antitrust and competition policy to foster a robust and informed public sphere. Unprecedented consolidation has swept the media industries. At the same time, court rulings have severely hampered the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) ability to impose net neutrality and to limit corporate control of radio, television, and newspapers. This panel will discuss whether the government can and should use antitrust and competition policy to foster a robust public sphere.

Confirmed Panelists:

  • Maurice Stucke, Professor of Law, University of Tennessee College of Law
  • Adam Candeub, Professor of Law & Director of the Intellectual Property, Information & Communications Law Program, Michigan State University College of Law
  • Andrew Gavil, Professor of Law, Howard University School of Law
  • Robert Picard, Senior Research Fellow, Reuters Institute at University of Oxford

Day Two – November 9, 2019

This invitation-only workshop/summit entitled “Thwarting the Growth of News Deserts: Strengthening Local News and Democracy” will address the potential legal and policy responses to the decline of local news reporting, the growth of news deserts, and the rise of mis/disinformation online. This second day is a partnership between the UNC Center for Media Law and PolicyUNC Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media; and Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP).