Under the guidance of experienced media lawyers, students from the Law School provide journalists at small and nonprofit news sites in New England with pro bono legal services to support their newsgathering and defend their publications. The Local News Initiative is being launched to address an unmet need. While society today increasingly obtains its news and information online, journalists working locally and for online publishers often have limited access to legal assistance.
The project’s mission is twofold: to assist investigative journalists who do not otherwise have access to legal resources, and to train the next generation of media lawyers. MFIA Clinic lawyers and law students work with journalists with varying degrees of experience in developing strategies to reduce potential liability from newsgathering activities — including source protection, trespass, intrusion and other privacy concerns. The Clinic also assists in obtaining access to government records, and advises on libel, privacy, intellectual property and other content concerns.