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Jane Kirtley

Jane E. Kirtley has been the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota since August 1999. Prior to that, she was Executive Director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Arlington, Virginia, for 14 years. She was appointed Director of The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law in May 2000, and was named to the affiliated faculty of the University of Minnesota Law School in March 2001. During the Spring 2004 semester, she was a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts.

Prof. Kirtley speaks frequently on First Amendment and freedom of information issues, both in the United States and abroad, including Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Poland, and Russia, as well as in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Canada. She wrote the “First Amendment Watch” column for American Journalism Review from 1995-2006.

Prof. Kirtley received her J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1979. She holds bachelor’s and master’s of journalism degrees from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Before joining the Reporters Committee staff, Prof. Kirtley was an attorney for five years with the law firm of Nixon, Hargrave, Devans and Doyle in Rochester, N.Y. and Washington, D.C. She is a member of the New York, District of Columbia, and Virginia bars. Prof. Kirtley also worked as a reporter for the Evansville (Indiana) Press and The Oak Ridger and Nashville Banner.

Prof. Kirtley serves on the board of directors for the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation and the editorial board of Communication Law and Policy. She has received many awards and honors, including the Edith Wortman First Amendment Matrix Foundation Award in 2004; induction into the Medill School of Journalism’s Hall of Achievement in 1999; the FOI Hall of Fame in 1996; and the John Peter Zenger Award for Freedom of the Press and the People’s Right to Know from the University of Arizona in 1993.



News councils seen as one more way to undermine press credibility
COMMENTARY | October 16, 2006
In Washington state, a sheriff complained that investigative stories by the Post-Intelligencer ‘unfairly disparage’ the sheriff’s office, and the Washington News Council then asked the paper’s editors and reporters to ‘explain themselves.’ Writer Jane Kirtley’s advice: ‘Don’t explain.’

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