Contact

Mindie Paget
School of Law
785-864-9205

Media advisory: Constitution Day speaker to discuss 'Whistleblowers, Reporter Surveillance and the First Amendment'

Tue, 09/10/2013

LAWRENCE – A prominent media lawyer from Washington, D.C., will discuss “Whistleblowers, Reporter Surveillance and the First Amendment” on Constitution Day, Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the University of Kansas School of Law.

Invited journalists, lawyers, students and others will attend the discussion by Charles D. “Chuck” Tobin. In addition, members of the Kansas Press Association, Kansas Association of Broadcasters and Kansas Bar Association from around the state who do not attend in person may engage with Tobin via conference call or Twitter. 

Tobin will speak and answer questions about recent controversies over the media’s publication of leaked government secrets and the government’s secret monitoring of reporters’ emails and phone calls. 

Pam Fine, a KU journalism professor and Knight Chair for News, Leadership and Community, will moderate the discussion, which will be from 1:45 p.m. to 2:40 p.m. in the Rice Room on the fifth floor of the law school, 1535 W. 15th St.

Journalists interested in participating via conference call may contact Mindie Paget by email at or 785-864-9205 to reserve a spot and receive call instructions. Those who wish to submit questions and follow along on Twitter may use the hash tag #whistlelaw.

Before the discussion, Tobin will speak to an assembly of KU law students during a noon forum. There, he will focus on “the history of whistleblowers and journalists’ sources such as Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning and their impact on news reporting in the digital age.” Snowden has been at the center of worldwide controversy for leaking secrets he collected as a National Security Agency contractor, and Manning gained global notoriety for disseminating classified documents he acquired as a U.S. Army intelligence analyst.

A video recording of Tobin’s remarks to students during the Sept. 17 noon forum will be available online the following day for viewing by interested members of the Kansas Bar Association, Kansas Press Association, Kansas Association of Broadcasters and others.

Tobin is an experienced litigator who has dealt with First Amendment matters while representing media clients in state and federal trial and appellate courts around the country. He chairs the national media practice team for the Holland & Knight law firm in Washington, D.C., and is the immediate past chair of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law. He also advises news organizations on how to respond to subpoenas and gain access to government meetings and records, represents media defendants in libel and privacy lawsuits, and handles a wide range of other legal matters relating to the editorial content of newspapers and broadcasts.

Before joining Holland & Knight, where he is a partner, Tobin served as in-house counsel at the headquarters of Gannett Co., which publishes USA TODAY and owns media outlets across the country. A former journalist, Tobin writes on First Amendment issues, and his articles for the ABA’s Communications Lawyer include “OMG! ‘Twibel’ Claims? R U 4 Real?” and “First Amendment Caste System.” Tobin also speaks on First Amendment topics, including most recently a talk on “Legal Issues Arising from Social Media” to the national Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Tobin’s visit to KU is sponsored by KU’s law student chapter of the American Constitution Society, with support from the Kansas Bar Association and its Media Bar Committee, as well as the Media, Law and Technology program at the School of Law.



Tears. Smiles. And hugs. That’s what Match Day brought as KU Medical Center’s first Salina class learned where they would go for their residencies — the next step in their medical training. See the Salina Journal’s report and photos: http://bit.ly/1HtAWbW Tags: #KUworks #KUmatch #Match2015 University of Kansas Medical Center Salina Journal KU School of Medicine-Wichita

Stressed and need some puppy love? Loving Paws therapy dogs will be at Lewis Hall at 8pm. (This is no #AprilFools .) http://t.co/u5IPWuOVO2
Lauded race and class historian becomes KU Foundation Professor David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (http://bit.ly/1AbAqYw), will continue to break new ground in those fields as he leads KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, is important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.”


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times