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Articles by Jonathan Peters | Email the Author

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How two Florida reporters ‘watchdogged’ misuse of the state’s open-records law

Case highlights the media’s interest in monitoring how FOI laws are used

I teach journalism and media law courses at the University of Kansas, and part of my job is to help... More

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Why you can’t get strippers’ names with public records requests

An odd case highlights the tension between open government and personal privacy

Nightclubs featuring nude dancing and erotic entertainment. Government licensing of the club dancers. Open government. A civil engineer who wants... More

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The biggest threat to press rights may be a failure to understand them

Jeff Hermes of the Media Law Resource Center discusses the legal needs of a new generation of news organizations

It’s a cliché to say so, but we’re at a moment of transition for American journalism. The digital disruption that... More

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Why this news nonprofit is crowdfunding a police shootings database

New Mexico Compass hopes to build a comprehensive resource for a big issue in Albuquerque

The New Mexico Compass is creating a searchable, interactive database of public records related to fatal police shootings in Albuquerque—and it’s asking... More

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Will journalists get fined for photographing trees? (UPDATED)

The new US Forest Service rules explained

You’ve probably heard: The US Forest Service is savaging the First Amendment. It’s trying to codify a provisional rule, in... More

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The Reporters Committee is about to start suing people to help journalists

Katie Townsend joins the organization as its first litigation director

Fair warning, all ye who interfere with newsgathering: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is getting ready to... More

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Why California’s smartphone ‘kill switch’ law should concern journalists

An antitheft measure creates the risk that the government could interfere with newsgathering

Imagine this. You’re a journalist covering a street protest, and the local police chief doesn’t like the photos you’re tweeting... More

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Journalists in Ferguson: Know your rights

The First Amendment affords reporters broad but not perfect protection

Reporting on protests is no easy job--just ask the 16 journalists arrested so far while covering the events in Ferguson,... More

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Can Ferguson police legally withhold the officer’s name? (UPDATED)

A review of Missouri’s case law and ​open records ​statute suggests ​​courts might see it as a close call

Editor's note: Police in Ferguson on Friday, Aug. 15 released the name of the officer involved in the shooting. Our... More

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After murders raise questions about parole supervision, LA Times sues for records

Paper invokes Jaycee Dugard precedent to argue for access to parole documents

Registered sex offenders Franc Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, are accused of raping and murdering four women in... More

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What’s the matter with South Carolina?

The trend in the state turns against open government, but this debate shouldn’t be over yet

When it comes to secrecy in South Carolina, less more is more. In the last 90 days, the state Supreme... More

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Free Press takes its transparency dispute with the University of Michigan to court

An attempt to clarify state law—and establish a principle of openness for public universities

Investment commitments and funding of more than $120 million, a property purchase for $12.8 million, construction of a new biological... More

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Allowing police to shoot someone without creating a record you can see

… And other bad ideas. Monitoring press freedom in the laboratories of democracy

In the 1932 case New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, Justice Louis Brandeis dissented from the US Supreme Court’s decision... More

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Survey: One in five journalists has had a credential request denied

Freelancers, photographers, activists face the highest barriers to access

Last year, a former student asked me how her news outlet, an online startup that relies on freelancers to cover... More

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A coal magnate’s latest lawsuit was tossed—but Ohio can do more to defend free expression

Anti-SLAPP statute could offer greater protections to journalists and commentators

Michael Stark, a contributor to The Huffington Post. Ken Ward, a reporter for The Charleston Gazette. Margaret Newkirk, a former... More

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The First Amendment argument against lethal-injection secrecy laws

It’s stronger than you might think

Update, 5/15: A media consortium consisting of The Associated Press, Guardian US, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Kansas City Star,... More

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Why can’t SCOTUSblog get a credential?

It’s surprisingly hard to find out—and the journalists making the rules are as open as Chick-fil-A on Sunday

Around the country, credentialing organizations struggle every year to make decisions as journalists and news outlets apply for law-enforcement passes to cross... More

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What law did the Toledo Blade break? The Army won’t say

But we’ve got a guess—and the paper’s lawsuit could present the first challenge to the statute

After military police detained two journalists last month outside a military manufacturing plant, an Army spokesman said the journalists had... More

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Toledo Blade lawsuit alleges military guards detained journalists, deleted photos

Editor: “Everything that happened that day made it apparent we couldn’t sit back and take it.”

The Toledo Blade filed a federal lawsuit Friday against various government officials after military police reportedly detained two of the... More

Updating the Privacy Protection Act for the Digital Era

Law protecting journalists from searches didn’t anticipate cloud computing

Cloud computing is all the rage. Traditionally, people had to store, manage and process data on a personal computer or... More

Serial creators don’t know what will happen to Adnan Syed - New developments in his legal case suggest that the outcome is wide open

The press is responsible for ignoring Bill Cosby rape allegations - Where were journalists 10 years ago when claims originally surfaced against him?

Journalism has a plagiarism problem. But it’s not the one you’d expect - Fareed Zakaria’s case highlights news organizations’ ethical grey areas

4 topics John Oliver explained more clearly than television news - The political satirist brings explainer comedy to HBO viewers

Will radio save science journalism? - WNYC will soon have a new health unit


CNN reporters in Ferguson provide coverage of CNN reporters in Ferguson (Slate)

“[T]here was little that justified CNN’s egocentric coverage”

Which media outlets use ‘illegal immigrant’? (Fusion)

“[I]n spite of all the good reasons not to use the phrase, it is still very easy to find in the US press, even in headlines”

Jack Shafer on losing his job (Capital New York)

“Right now, my immediate plan is to go to work as a lay therapist at The Intercept to bring the healing there so John Cook and Matt Taibbi can return. I have great interpersonal skills.”

On outlets that continue to call unknown drone victims ‘militants’ (The Intercept)

“Like the US drone program itself, this deceitful media practice continues unabated”

Bloggingheads

Greg Marx discusses democracy and news with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute

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A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

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