• BEST IN STATE—Senior Courtney Schoen Lewis was named Best PR Student in Utah. Story

Ex-Aggie journalist, now BYU law prof, to discuss Supreme Court, press

April 5th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

LOGAN—A “civics education emergency of the highest order” involving the public, the press and the Supreme Court exists that threatens constitutional law in this country, says a former Aggie and current BYU law professor.

RonNell Andersen Jones, a 1995 USU journalism alumna who once edited The Cache Citizen, was a clerk for Associate Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She returns to campus Thursday, April 14, to deliver a lecture she calls “The Blame Game: The People, The Press and the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The lecture, sponsored by the Department of Journalism & Communication’s Morris Media & Society Lecture Series, will be from 9-10:15 a.m. Thursday, April 14, in room 046 of the Eccles Science Learning Center. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

“The American public is woefully misinformed about the United States Supreme Court, its justices, and the cases that they have decided,” says Jones, who now is a constitutional and First Amendment law professor at the J. Reuben Clark School of Law at BYU. “The justices who sit on the Court and the press corps responsible for covering it agree that this lapse in public understanding is deeply problematic, but each points the finger at the other as the primary culprit.

“Who is to blame for our widespread lack of knowledge about the nation’s highest court,” Jones asks, “and what can be done about it?

After graduating in 1995, Jones worked as a newspaper editor and reporter in Nevada before enrolling in law school at Ohio State, where she graduated first in her class and then clerked for Judge William A. Fletcher on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California, and then moved to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. Before entering academia, she was an attorney in the appellate division of Jones Day, where her work focused on Supreme Court litigation and included major constitutional and First Amendment cases.

Jones researches and writes extensively on legal issues affecting the press and on the intersection between media and the courts. Her work as director of the 2007 Media Subpoena Study, which examined the impact of subpoenas served on newspapers and TV newsrooms, has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today, as well as on MSNBC, Fox News and National Public Radio.

“RonNell Andersen Jones has a unique perspective that values both the press and constitutional law,” said journalism department head Ted Pease. “We’re glad to have her back on campus and lucky to be able to get her perspectives on the state of First Amendment law.”

In addition to her public lecture, Jones will meet with JCOM students and participate in a Q&A about media and law issues, including the recent controversy over Utah’s open records law.

Jones’ visit is underwritten by the JCOM Department’s Morris Media & Society Series, a program of public presentations by media professionals addressing a range of issues concerning the intersection of the mass media and society.

For more information about this or other events in the Morris Media & Society Series, contact Ted Pease in the JCOM Department at 435-797-3293.


Tags: , , ,

  1. 1 Trackback(s)

  2. Apr 16, 2011: Hard News Cafe » Blog Archive » Press-Court in ‘dysfunctional marriage,’ legal scholar asserts

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.