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Media & the Law Seminar

Each year, the University of Kansas School of Law and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association Media Law Committee host the Media and the Law Seminar in Kansas City, along with other local events, to facilitate and encourage dialogue about the latest legal issues and developments in media, law and technology.

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In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 33rd Annual Media and the Law Seminar that was scheduled for April 2 and 3 in Kansas City. Your safety is our top priority. If you have any questions, please contact Pam Hicks at phicks@ku.edu.

The 33rd Annual Media & the Law Seminar

Caught in the Web
Social Media, Privacy and You(Tube)

April 2 and 3, 2020
Kansas City Marriott Downtown
Kansas City, Missouri

As technology races ahead at a breakneck pace, consumers are inundated with new, addictive ways to interact with the world. The legal system continues to lag light years behind the real world, however, leaving individuals and corporations alike to slog through the fallout of doing business online with very few legal guideposts. At this year’s Media and the Law Seminar, we will look at the potential pitfalls awaiting Instagram and other social media influencers, including the FTC’s sponsored advertising rules, the ethical issues of buying followers and the myriad ways social media influencers can be sued. Our panelists will also delve into issues surrounding certain media giants’ violations of our online privacy. The seminar will also explore how takedown demands have fundamentally changed newsroom practices. Plus, we will consider the ethical and privacy implications of media organizations, and others, storing all their information in the cloud. We invite you to join us at this year’s seminar, including the Bonus CLE Session on Thursday, April 2.

Featured Topics

  • In the Whirlwind: Legal Issues Arising from Covering the Trump Impeachment
  • All the World’s a (Public) Stage: Is a Viral Figure a Public Figure?
  • Takedown Shakedown
  • So Close, Yet So Far Away: Ethics in the Cloud
  • Area of Influence: Risks and Rewards of the Emerging Social Media Marketplace

Thursday, April 2 | 4 - 5:45 p.m.

2 CLE Hours - Bonus Session (Pending approval)

Defamation 101 – Back to the Basics

2 hours CLE (Pending approval)
(A program jointly sponsored by the KCMBA, and the Media, Privacy and Advertising Law Committee of the ABA/TIPS)

*Free when attending the Friday program

This panel will be presented via point/counterpoint by lawyers acting as defense and plaintiff’s counsel, running through and engaging the audience on classic defamation claim issues?

  • How do you advise reporters when a hot/risky story arises?
  • How do you advise reporters on not stopping the news and facilitating publication?
  • How do you manage the blitzkrieg that results from publication?
  • How do you litigate the case through the dismissal stage, summary judgment, trial, and appeal?
  • How do you deal with the external optics?


  • Blaine Kimrey, Shareholder, Vedder Price, Chicago, IL
  • Bernie Rhodes, Partner, Lathrop GPM, Kansas City, MO

Friday, April 3 | 8 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.

7 CLE Hours (Pending approval)
Panel 1

In the Whirlwind: Legal Issues Arising from Covering the Trump Impeachment

The impeachment of a President is comparable in solemnity only to the declaring of war. As such, it presents unique challenges for the press in reporting on the proceedings, as well as the facts giving rise to them. The Trump impeachment is no different in that regard. Whether it be the issues surrounding reporting on leaks from criminal investigations, the use of documents placed under seal, or how to report on whistle blowers, the reporter’s job is a minefield with a myriad of legal and ethical questions to consider. This panel aims to identify those issues, bringing together attorneys and reporters to conduct a post mortem on the Trump impeachment and trial, and in doing so, lay a road map for future such proceedings, should they occur. Among the issues to be discussed are the following:

  • What issues confront a reporter who knows the name of a confidential whistle blower?
  • How does the fair report privilege factor into reporting on the proceedings?
  • What duties, if any, does the reporter have when the subject of an interview demands its termination?
  • With what should the reporter be concerned when documents obtained by a source illegally are received by the reporter over the transom?
  • How can a reporter use FOIA to obtain records the government is refusing to provide?


  • Jay Ward Brown, Partner, Ballard Spahr, Washington, D.C.


  • Frank Bowman, Floyd R. Gibson Missouri Endowed Professor of Law, School of Law, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
  • Kyle Cheney, Congress Reporter, POLITICO, Washington, D.C.
  • Laura Handman, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Washington, D.C.
Panel 2

All the World’s a (Public) Stage: Is a Viral Figure a Public Figure?

Drawing on recent high-profile cases, such as the Covington Catholic High School students’ lawsuits over coverage of their run-in with other demonstrators at the Lincoln memorial, this panel will analyze the current and future state of the limited-purpose public-figure doctrine from both an academic and practical perspective, including the following:

  • In a world when everyone has access to publishing tools, has the baseline changed for what constitutes “dancing out onto the public stage?”
  • Does participating in public meetings or protests make someone a limited-purpose public figure?
  • What is the role of the involuntary limited-purpose public figure doctrine in today’s communication landscape?
  • What lessons can be drawn from notable recent cases such as the Covington Catholic and Joy Reid lawsuits?
  • What does this issue tell us overall about the future of New York Times v. Sullivan?


  • Monica Dias, Member, Frost Brown Todd, Cincinnati, OH


  • Michael J. Grygiel, Shareholder and Co-Chair, National Media and Entertainment Litigation Practice, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Albany, New York, NY
  • Jane Kirtley, Director and Professor, Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law, University of Minnesota Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communications/ Law School, Minneapolis, MN
  • The Hon. Deanell Reece Tacha, (retired), former Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and former Dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law, Lawrence, KS
Panel 3

Takedown Shakedown

This panel will examine the challenges facing traditional and digital media from demands to take down stories published on their websites. These demands often involve well-vetted stories, but are seen as unflattering or an invasion of privacy by the subject. They may have been correct at the time of the publication but circumstances have changed. The panelists will discuss the legal and ethical consequences of disregarding the takedown demand, the legal/ethical considerations of dealing with requests from minors and some ways of dealing with the business realities. The panel features in-house and corporate counsel involved in both pre and post publication vetting, and who are consulted daily on corporate policy and applying it to individual situations.

  • What are the legal implications arising from a request to takedown or modify a story?
  • What are the privacy concerns related to posting of stories?
  • How do the legal requirements intersect with the journalistic ethical issues?
  • If a request to take a story down or modify it is granted what are the implications for the statute of limitations.
  • If the request to takedown or modify a story is not granted what are the implications for libel litigation that follows?

We will also examine some state statutes regulating takedowns.


  • Dana J. McElroy, Partner, Thomas & LoCicero, Fort Lauderdale, FL


  • David Bralow, Senior Vice President/Law, First Look Media and Legal Director for the Press Freedom Defense Fund, New York, NY
  • Matthew Leish, Assistant General Counsel, Tribune Publishing Company, New York, NY
  • Elizabeth Ryder, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Nexstar Media Group, Inc., Irving, TX

Luncheon Address

Dave Jorgenson, Video Producer, The Washington Post


Panel 4

So Close, Yet So Far Away: Ethics in the Cloud

The Media and their attorneys are facing immense new ethical and legal threats by storing data on remote servers owned and operated by others, also referred to as, “ stashing in the Cloud.” This technology has revolutionized how journalists and media attorneys maintain and access notes, documents, source materials and other investigative records. At the same time reporting is becoming increasingly more data driven with many journalists becoming data analysts and curators. As result there are enormous amounts more to store and protect from hackers and the authorities. While accessing data on the go has never been more convenient, the legal and ethical risks have never been greater. In this ethics session you will learn real world, practical solutions for working in the cloud while avoiding ethical violations and legal liability, and helping your clients do the same.

  • How do you avoid ethical pitfalls while working with media clients in the cloud?
  • What is best practice when advising journalists who stash sensitive information the cloud?
  • Do media attorneys have an ethical obligation to advise journalists on security and privacy issues during newsroom training sessions?
  • How much does a media attorney have to know about cloud technology and cyber security to advise and represent media clients on issues involving the cloud?
  • What are the legal and ethical issues involved when a journalist gets a subpoena for confidential source data stored in the cloud? Are the issues different if the subpoena is also served on the cloud provider? What if the journalist is an independent contractor?
  • How important is due diligence before selecting a cloud provider for your legal practice?
  • What should an attorney look for when reviewing and negotiating contracts for media clients with a cloud provider?
  • Can you maintain attorney-client privilege and ensure the confidentiality of media client files while working in the cloud? What are your ethical obligations in the event of a breach?
  • What are real world, practical solutions when utilizing the cloud to transmit sensitive information?
  • How do you institute internal controls in your office to prevent unauthorized access to client data?


  • Jonathan Peters, Assistant Professor, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication/School of Law, University of Georgia, Athens, GA


  • Stephen K. Doig, Professor, Cronkite School of Journalism, Arizona State University, Seattle, WA
  • Jane Kirtley, Director and Professor, Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law, University of Minnesota Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communications/ Law School, Minneapolis, MN
  • David A. Schulz, Senior Counsel, Ballard Spahr LLP, New York, NY
Panel 5

Area of Influence: Risks and Rewards of the Emerging Social Media Marketplace

This panel will discuss emerging entrepreneurs in the booming social media “influencer” economy and explore how savvy brands are harnessing the power of this new marketplace. As part of the conversation, we will explain how the social media commercial ecosystem works and who is driving its expansion. Our panelists will share their opinions on ways established brands and publishers can take advantage of this new form of advertising while mitigating risk.

  • What is curated sponsored content and how is it created and managed?
  • What are the pitfalls in creating brand partnerships with influencers?
  • What risks are best mitigated through insurance?
  • What regulatory trends may impact social media marketing?
  • How does a company combat the potential for fraud in social media marketing?


  • Natalie Harris, Partner, Baron Harris Healey, Chicago, IL


  • Vanessa Calcara, Owner, Sunflower State of Mind LLC, Lenexa, KS
  • Liz Hawks, Senior Vice President and Partner, FleishmanHillard, Kansas City, MO
  • Jaclyn Voran, Marketing Manager – PR & Influencer Relations, Hallmark Cards, Inc., Kansas City, MO

General Information


A block of rooms has been reserved at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 200 West 12th Street, Kansas City, Missouri. Rooms will be released at 5 p.m. (CST) March 12, 2020. After that date, room availability and rate cannot be guaranteed. To receive the special seminar rate of $164, please reserve online or by calling 816-421-6800 and mention that you are attending the Media and the Law Seminar.

Location & Parking

The Kansas City Marriott Downtown offers valet parking for $26 a day or self-parking for $20 a day to hotel guests. For those not staying at the hotel the hourly rate is $4.00 with a $20.00 cap (rates are subject to change). The parking garage is managed by an independent company, not the Marriott.

If you find you are unable to attend, we encourage you to send a qualified substitute and notify us ahead of time if possible. If you do need to cancel, you must send a written cancellation request on or before March 27, 2020 and you will receive a refund, minus a $50 cancellation fee. No refunds will be given after that date.

Anticipated CLE Credit

The program is still in the planning stages but, we are anticipating a total of 9 CLE credit hours, including two hours of ethics, (two hours – Thursday afternoon Bonus Session and 7 hours (includes 2 hours ethics) – Friday Seminar). Once CLE’s are confirmed we will update this site. The seminar support staff will provide on-site assistance to attendees who plan to apply for CLE credit from other jurisdictions.

Kansas City Attractions

Thinking of enjoying the weekend in Kansas City after the seminar? There are attractions and events for everyone, including:

  • Crown Center: Located in the heart of downtown this city within a city offers visitors 85 acres of shops, restaurants, and theatres.
  • Country Club Plaza: One of Kansas City’s popular retail, dining and entertainment destinations within a 15-block district of fun.
  • Westport: A fusion of local eateries, fashionable boutiques and hot night spots compounded with remnants of the neighbor- hood’s historic past, this entertainment district boasts a rich history as the oldest established community in Kansas City. More than 150 years ago, Westport marked the passage into the western frontier and set the foundation for what it is today: a thriving shopping center and entertainment district.
  • Crossroads Arts District: Kansas City’s eclectic enclave hosts boutique shops, one-of-a-kind restaurants, creative businesses, studios and art galleries.
  • Kansas City Power & Light District: Spread over a half-million square feet, the Kansas City Power & Light District is the Midwest’s premier entertainment epicenter. With more than 50 unique and captivating shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, the district offers something for everyone.

For additional information on the above attractions and Kansas City events, visit visitkc.com.

Program Accessibility

We accommodate persons with disabilities. Please call 785-864-5823 or mark the space on the registration form, and a KUPCE representative will contact you to discuss your needs. To ensure accommodation, please register at least two weeks before the start of the seminar. See the nondiscrimination policy below.

Refund/Cancellation Policy

A full refund of registration fees, less a $50 administrative fee, will be available if requested in writing at kupce@ku.edu and received by March 27, 2020. No refunds will be made after that date. A $30 fee also will be charged for returned checks. (Please note that if you fail to cancel by the deadline and do not attend, you are still responsible for payment.) KUPCE reserves the right to cancel the 33rd Annual Media and the Law Seminar and return all fees in the event of insufficient registration. The liability of the University of Kansas is limited to the registration fee. The University of Kansas will not be responsible for any losses incurred by registrants, including but not limited to airline cancellation charges or hotel deposits

Privacy Policy

KU Professional & Continuing Education does not share, sell or rent its mailing lists. You have our assurance that any information you provide will be held in confidence by KUPCE.

We occasionally use mailing lists that we have leased. If you receive unwanted communication from KUPCE, it is because your name appears on a list we have acquired from another source. In this case, please accept our apologies.

Nondiscrimination Policy

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.

About the Seminar

Since 1987, the Media and the Law seminar series has brought together lawyers, judges and others to discuss legal issues and trends in media, law and technology. Initiated by leadership in the Kansas City media liability insurance community, the seminar is planned by local area media lawyers, journalists and educators and coordinated by the University of Kansas Professional & Continuing Education staff. From the latest First Amendment litigation to emerging social media risks, the "hot topics" of each year are explored and debated by a panel of experts and distinguished speakers.

For questions, contact:

The University of Kansas
Edwards Campus
Professional & Continuing Education
Regents Center 125
12600 Quivira Road
Overland Park, KS 66213

Phone: 785-864-5823 or (toll free) 877-404-5823
Email: kupce@ku.edu

Thank you to our seminar contributors!

  • AXIS Insurance
  • Ballard Spahr LLP
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
  • Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP
  • Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
  • Duane Morris
  • Fox Rothchild LLP
  • Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC
  • Greenan, Peffer, Sallander & Lally, LLP
  • Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
  • Lathrop GPM
  • Mandell Menkes LLC
  • OneBeacon Entertainment
  • Prince Lobel Tye LLP
  • Thomas & LoCicero PL
  • University of Kansas School of Law Media, Law and Technology Program
  • Vedder Price
  • Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP

Past Seminars

20192018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014
2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008
2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003

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