Jane E Kirtley

Photo of Jane E Kirtley

Contact Me


Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication
411 Murphy Hall

206 Church Street SE

Jane E. Kirtley is the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, where she is also the Director of the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law. She is an affiliated faculty member at the Law School.

A lawyer and former journalist, Professor Kirtley was the Executive Director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press from 1984-1999.

Professor Kirtley writes and speaks frequently on First Amendment and Freedom of Information issues, and on media and legal ethics, in the United States and abroad.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • J.D.: Law, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 1979.
  • M.S.J.: Journalism, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 1976.
  • B.S.J.: Journalism, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 1975.

Curriculum Vitae


  • constitutional law
  • EU data protection
  • First Amendment
  • free speech
  • freedom of information
  • freedom of the press
  • information privacy
  • media ethics
  • media law
  • media/military relations
  • national security
Courses Taught
  • Jour 3776 - Mass Communication Law
  • Jour 5552 - Internet Law
  • Jour 4731H - Honors Course: Communications Problems and Issues (Comparative Media Law)
  • Jour 5777 - Contemporary Problems in Freedom of Speech and Press (cross-listed with LAW 6030)
  • Global Seminar - Press Freedom in the United Kingdom
  • Jour 8678 - Constitutional Theories: Freedom of Expression (cross-listed with LAW 6059)
  • Jour 5991 - Media Law and Ethics Go to the Movies
  • Jour 3771 - Mass Media Ethics: Moral Reasoning and Case Studies
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Lawyer: Nixon, Hargrave, Devans, & Doyle Law Firm, Rochester, N.Y. and Washington D.C.
  • Executive Director: Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • Columnist: American Journalism Review
  • Chair: Otto A. and Helen F. Silha Land Grant in Media Ethics and the Law
  • Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law: Director , May 2000 -
  • Sigma Delta Chi Foundation: Board member , 2000 -
  • Columnist, First Amendment Watch: American Journalism Review , 1995 -
  • Board Member: Communications Law and Policy Journal , 1998 -
  • Board Member: Media Ethics Journal , 2000 -
  • Board Member: Journal of Media Law and Ethics
  • Board Member: National Scholastic Press Association
  • Board Member: Citizen Media Law Project (Berkman Center, Harvard)
  • Bar memberships: U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Fifith, Sixth, Tenth, Eleventh and D.C. Circuits; New York State, District of Columbia, Virginia
  • International Conference on Freedom of Expression in Cyberspace, UNESCO, Paris, France: "Between Security and Openness: Should there be limits to freedom of expression and freedom of information?" plenary panelist , February 4, 2005
  • Sports Lawyers Association Annual Conference: "Legal Ethical Issues Created by Today's 24/7 Sports Media World," plenary panelist , Mary 15, 2008


  • Media ethics/privacy issues in Japan: Speaker and Specialist Grant, US State Department, May 15, 2000 - May 17, 2000
  • Media ethics in Phillippines, China, Macao, Hong Kong: Speaker and Specialist Grant, US State Department, June 26, 2001 - July 13, 2001
  • Libel law in the Czech Republic: Speaker and Specialist Grant, US State Department, Nov. 28, 1999 - Nov. 30, 1999
  • Freedom of the Press in a State of Emergency in Nepal: Speaker and Specialist Grant, US State Department, June 3, 2002 - June 7, 2002
  • Freedom of Information in Brazil: Speaker and Specialist Grant, US State Department, August 12, 2001 - August 17, 2001
  • Privacy and the Press in Estonia: Speaker and Specialist Grant, US State Department, March 8, 2004 - March 12, 2004
  • Freedom of Information in the Dominican Republic: Speaker and Specialist Grant, US State Department, July 15, 2007 - July 19, 2007
  • Media Ethics and Law in Sierra Leone: Speaker and Specialist Grant, US State Department, June 14, 2008 - June 24, 2008


  • William S. Cohen Papers Forum: The Perils of Privilege: The Role of the Citizen-Journalist in a Democratic Society, Oct. 29, 2003
  • Wells College: Second Annual Symposium on Civic Engagement, March 3, 2003
  • South Dakotans for Open Government: Second Annual Convention Keynote, May 20, 2004
  • University of Tennessee College of Law: The First Amendment and Libel Today, Feb. 27, 2004
  • Pennsylvania First Amendment Coalition: 25th Anniversary: New threats to access to information, May 17, 2002
  • New Hampshire Humanities Council: War and the News - A Humanities Perspective, Oct. 30, 2003
  • New England Associated Press/Newspaper Executives Fall Conference: Fighting Back Against the Information Shutdown, Sept. 27, 2002
  • National Association of Hispanic Journalists 20th Annual Convention: Ethics: Going to Jail for Your Journalism, June 13, 2002
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police: Terrorism, the First Amendment and Responsible Journalism, Oct. 6, 2002
  • Inter American Press Association Hemisphere Summit on Justice and Freedom in the Americas: Judicial Independence, June 21, 2002
  • Great Conversations - University of Minnesota CCE: conducted a "Great Conversation" with C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb, April 2, 2002
  • Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas: Symposium in Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Texas Open Records Act, March 26, 2003
  • Federation Professionnelle des Journalistes du Quebec: The Greatest Freedom in the World, Nov. 18, 2000
  • D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership: Humanities Symposium: Media, Feb. 6, 2003
  • American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law: Let the Sunshine In: The Promise of the Internet, the Threat to Personal Privacy, and Florida's Unique Approach, Jan. 23, 2004
  • World Press Freedom Committee: The Global Internet Freedom Act, June 28, 2003
  • Rotary Club of Golden Valley, Minnesota: luncheon speech - "Freedom of the Press", June 15, 2004
  • Minitex Library Information Network Staff Day, Minneapolis: presentation, "Post-9.11 and the USA PATRIOT Act", June 16, 2004
  • League of Women Voters of Minneapolis: panel discussion, "The Patriot Act: Balancing National Security and Civil Liberties", November 1, 2003
  • University of Kentucky First Amendment Celebration: Keynote Address, September 16, 2008
  • Minnesota Coalition for Intellectual Freedom's Annual Dinner and Program: Keynote Address, September 24, 2008
  • Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference: "The First Amendment @ Your Library", November 20, 2008
  • Florida FOI Summit : Keynote Address, "Windows on the World: A Global Perspective on FOI", September 25, 2007
  • 8th Annual First Amendment Congress, Oklahoma State University: Keynote Address, "My Freedom or Yours", November 17, 2006
  • ACPO/ACPOS Data Protection and Freedom of Information Conference, Glasgow, Scotland: Lecture, "FOI, Privacy and the Press", May 16, 2007
  • Law Society of Alberta, Canada Media and the Law Seminar: Keynote Address, "Judges and Journalists Have More in Common Than You Think", April 9, 2005
  • Is it a Crime? An Overview of Recent Legal Actions Stemming from Investigative Reports: Kirtley, Jane, The Big Chill: Corporate Media and Investigative Reporting, 1999.
  • The EU Data Protection Directive and the First Amendment: Why a 'Press Exemption' Won't Work: Kirtley, Jane, Iowa Law Review, 1991.
  • Privacy and the Press in the New Millennium: Kirtley, Jane, University of Arkansas, Little Rock Law Review, 2000.
  • Freedom of the Press: An Inalienable Right or Privilege to be Earned?: Kirtley, Jane, University of Florida Journal of Law and Public Policy, 1998.
  • Enough is Enough: Kirtley, Jane, Media Studies Journal, 2001.
  • What's in a Name? Privacy, Property Rights, and Freedom of Expression in the New Communications Media: Kirtley, Jane, Journalism and the Debate Over Privacy, 2003.
  • The American Executive Branch: A Culture of Secrecy: Kirtley, Jane, The Long Term View, 2003.
  • Privacy versus the Public Right to Know: Kirtley, Jane, Encyclopedia of International Media and Communications, 2003.
  • Office of Independent Counsel v Favish. Kirtley, Jane, Amicus Curiae Brief filed in the United States Supreme Court, 2003.
  • Coming of Age in Minnesota: Kirtley, Jane, Federal Communications Law Journal, 2003.
  • Bloggers and Their First Amendment Protection: Kirtley, Jane, Nieman Reports, 2003.
  • Transparency and Accountability in a Time of Terror: The Bush Administration's Assault on Freedom of Information: Kirtley, Jane, Communications Law & Policy, 11 , Autumn 2006.
  • Legal Evolution of the Government-News Media Relationship : Kirtley, Jane, Oxford University Press, Institutions of American Democracy: The Press, 2005.
  • The First Amendment Tradition and Its Critics: Kirtley, Jane, Bruce Sanford, Oxford University Press, Institutions of American Democracy: The Press, 2005.
  • Web v. Journalism: Court Cases Challenge Long-Held Principles: Kirtley, Jane, Nieman Foundation - Harvard , Nieman Reports, Winter , 2008.
  • Reporters Privilege in the 21st Century: Kirtley, Jane, Delaware Lawyer, Winter , 2007/2008.
  • The Future of Ethics and Law: Kirtley, Jane, University of Illinois/Institute of Communications Research, An Ethics Trajectory: Visions of Media Past, Present and Yet to Come, 2008.
  • Objecting to "Parasites,' Whatever Their Price: Kirtley, Jane, Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 23 , April-June 2008.
  • Criminal Defamation: An "Instrument of Destruction": Kirtley, Jane, OSCE, Ending the Chilling Effect: Working to Repeal Criminal Libel and Insult Laws, 2004.
  • AEJMC Newspaper Division Distinguished Service Award
  • John Peter Zenger Award
  • National FOIA Hall of Fame
  • Seventy-Fifth Cleveland Marshall Fund Visiting Scholar, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Oct. 15, 2002 - Oct. 17, 2002
  • First Amendment Fellow, National Press Club, 2000 -
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor, Suffolk University Law School, January 2004 - May 2004
  • Edith Wortman First Amendment Award, Matrix Foundation, Association for Women in Communication