First Amendment Clinic leads freedom of the press workshop

1A Students
Abigael Miles, The Athens County Independent
L to R: Jonathan Robe (Robe Law Office, Athens, OH), Certified Legal Interns Hannah Scifres, Brooke White, Patrick Elliott, Jacob Cohen, Nneka Onyekwuluje Crouching: Corinne Colbert, Athens County Independent.

On Nov. 17, third-year law students with the First Amendment Clinic led a workshop on the freedom of the press at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. The workshop was attended by local journalists and by journalism students at the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University, and co-hosted by The Athens County Independent, an independent nonprofit news source and The Post, an independent student-run news publication at Ohio University.

The First Amendment Clinic students—certified legal interns Nneka Onyekwuluje, Hannah Scifres, Patrick Elliott, Jake Cohen and Brooke White—presented on a variety of topics that directly affect journalists and their rights. The topics included editorial control and prior restraints; special rules that apply to speech in the school setting; access to court proceedings and records; newsgathering rights; and defamation law in Ohio.

“The First Amendment not only protects communication, it safeguards the conditions under which the press can meaningfully gather and share information pertaining to matters of public concern,” said Siobhan Gerber, fellow at the First Amendment Clinic. “We are pleased to have had the opportunity to share information about these First Amendment rights with journalists and journalism students.”

The training was very well-received and prompted thoughtful discussion both during the presentations and afterwards.
“We’re very proud of our students’ diligence and hard work putting this training together,” said Sara Coulter, senior fellow at the First Amendment Clinic. “In a time when local news outlets are becoming increasingly scarce, it was important to us to travel to southeast Ohio and support the crucial work of journalists and aspiring journalists there who are bringing vital news and access to their communities.” 

The First Amendment Clinic would like to extend special thanks to Andrea Lewis and The Post for hosting the workshop at Ohio University, and to Corrine Colbert and Jonathan Robe with The Athens County Independent for their help planning the event. The Clinic would also like to thank the Revada Foundation and the Tyler Weymouth Endowment for funding a livestream and recording of the event.