Monday, May 14, 2007

YLS Wins Knight Foundation Grant to Create Law and Media Program

Yale Law School will train the next generation’s leading legal journalists and media lawyers by creating the Knight Law and Media Scholars Program.

Yale won a $2.5 million challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to create the permanent program. The challenge will leverage matches to create a total $5 million endowment to keep the program going in perpetuity.

The Knight Law and Media Scholars Program builds on the Law School’s leadership in law and media. It includes law and media courses, the scholars, research fellowships, summer internships, career counseling, and an annual training program for midcareer journalists. It also will feature a speaker series and a student organization focused on law and media.

“We think Yale is positioned to become the center of media law thinking in the nation,” said Eric Newton, vice president of Knight’s journalism program. “With this grant, Yale will help train the next generation's leading legal journalists and media lawyers. We congratulate the work of its amazing alumni, notably Steve Brill, as well as Yale Law’s dean, Harold Hongju Koh. “

The Knight Media Scholars will be chosen from all Yale J.D. and graduate law students. The program is designed to increase the number of Yale Law School graduates prepared to be leaders in media law and the media industry.

The program’s midcareer project will bring a wide range of working journalists and interested scholars to the Law School for an annual training session. These workshops will address cutting-edge issues in law and media and create opportunities for journalists, scholars and lawyers to work together.

“With the support of the Knight Foundation, the Yale Law School will become the leading place to think, study and strategize about the past, present and future of law and media,” said Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh. “Yale Law School has long been a place where the study of law has been embraced in an interdisciplinary fashion. This new program will build upon our remarkable history of producing leading legal journalists, First Amendment lawyers and media entrepreneurs uniquely able to explore the common intellectual space where the law and media intersect.”

Knight Foundation for years supported a master’s degree program for midcareer journalists at Yale. Graduates of that program include Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Charles Savage, Washington reporter for the Boston Globe who recently won a Pulitzer Prize in the national reporting category. The foundation also established the Knight Chair in Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, a chair held by Professor Jack M. Balkin.

Joining the Knight Foundation as co-investor is Steven Brill. Brill, a 1975 graduate of the Law School, founded Court TV and The American Lawyer magazine. He has pledged to support the Law School’s program, in addition to his recent $1 million donation to Yale College to infuse journalism into undergraduate classes.

“Tomorrow’s news stories will benefit from the incisive research and writing of journalists trained in legal thought at Yale,” added Dean Koh. “Law plays a pervasive role in the emerging global society, and legal training for journalists and media entrepreneurs at all levels will ensure the thoughtful, creative and accurate development of tomorrow’s news.”