Free legal resources for journalists

  • Event: 2019 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Jeff Hermes of Media Law Resource Center; Frank LoMonte of Brechner Center for Freedom of Information; Katie Townsend of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • Date/Time: Friday, Jun. 14 at 9:00am
  • Location: Meyerland
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

Professional and student journalists alike can tap into free legal resources and attorney services to get public records and data, overcome bureaucratic obstacles and navigate tricky legal waters. Why fight FOI battles alone? Learn how to tap into free legal help to get the goods for stronger investigative stories. 

This session is sponsored by Knight Foundation. IRE retains control of content, including the topic and speaker selection, for all conference sessions.

Speaker Bios

  • Jeff Hermes (@MediaLawMLRC) is a Deputy Director of the Media Law Resource Center, where he focuses on digital media law issues. He previously ran the Digital Media Law Project at Harvard's Berkman Center, where he led initiatives to provide legal resources for independent journalists and online media ventures. Prior that, Jeff assisted clients in First Amendment, media, intellectual property and Internet law issues during fourteen years in private practice. 

  • Attorney Frank LoMonte teaches media law at the University of Florida, where he runs the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, a think-tank focused on developing innovative solutions to make civically essential information more accessible and actionable. LoMonte spent nearly a decade as national director of the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C., and is a former investigative reporter and political columnist. @franklomonte

  • Katie Townsend (@katie_rcfp) is the Legal Director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.  She oversees the litigation, amicus, and other legal work of Reporters Committee attorneys, and represents the Reporters Committee, news organizations, and individual journalists in court access, freedom of information, and other First Amendment and press freedom matters.

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