The pros and cons of a federal shield law for journalists will be explored during the annual Thomas W. Pyle First Amendment Forum, set for 7 p.m. Jan. 11 in the Rogue River Room of the Stevenson Union at Southern Oregon University in Ashland.
The forum’s keynote speaker is Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The RCFP is a voluntary, unincorporated association of reporters and news editors dedicated to protecting the First Amendment interests of the news media. Based in Arlington, Va., the RCFP has provided research, guidance and representation in major press cases in state and federal courts for 36 years.
Before assuming her position as its director in January 2000, Dalglish was a media lawyer for almost five years in a Minneapolis law firm and, from 1980 to 1993, was a reporter and editor at the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Joining Dalglish will be Celina Montoya and Kim Wetzel, representing the Medill Innocence Project at Northwestern University. The project gives undergraduate students firsthand experience in investigating wrongful convictions. Montoya, who worked on the project while an undergraduate, has worked as a reporter for KSTX, the National Public Radio affiliate, in San Antonio, Texas. She now is program director for Literacy San Antonio, Inc., a project of the Junior League of San Antonio Inc.
Kimberly Wetzel is a graduate of SOU who participated in the Innocence Project while earning her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern in 2005. Wetzel is a former reporter for the Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune in California. She lives in San Francisco.
The Thomas W. Pyle First Amendment Forum is produced by the SOU Department of Communication with a grant from the Ashland Daily Tidings and additional funding from Southern Oregon Public Television, KMVU-DT 26 and Cary and Gail Jones.