For Immediate Release
Lauren Rochester, SPJ Awards Coordinator, (317) 927-8000 ext. 210, email@example.com
Christine DiGangi, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 927-8000 ext. 205, firstname.lastname@example.org
INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists has awarded its First Amendment Award to Mike Hiestand, formerly of the Student Press Law Center. The annual honor recognizes individuals and groups for exceptional efforts to preserve and strengthen the First Amendment.
For more than two decades, Hiestand was a project attorney at SPLC giving advice to student journalists and their advisers as part of the center’s mission to promote and protect students’ First Amendment rights. He is the primary author of the second and third editions of “Law of the Student Press” and wrote an ongoing media-law column for the National Scholastic Press Association called “It’s The Law.” Hiestand studied journalism at Marquette University and graduated from Cornell Law School.
“Mike Hiestand has been a tremendous friend and advocate of scholastic journalism,” Josh Moore wrote in a recommendation letter for Hiestand, whom Moore worked with at SPLC. “I’m sure many journalism students in America use — as I did — the principles he shared to guide their decision-making as high school and college newspaper editors.”
Neil Ralston, a journalism professor at Western Kentucky University, nominated Hiestand for the First Amendment Award.
“I can attest that he not only offers sound legal advice in a way that we non-lawyers can understand, but he provides just the right amount of emotional support when a scared student or rattled adviser needs it,” Ralston wrote in his nomination letter.
Hiestand, the president and founder of Houstory Publishing, will be recognized at the SPJ President’s Installation Banquet at Excellence in Journalism 2012, Sept. 22 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information on SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.