The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday May 28th

Frank LoMonte encourages students to utilize First Amendment rights

Addressing a crowd of students as the keynote speaker for Thursday’s First Amendment Day, Frank LoMonte encouraged prospective journalists to responsibly exercise their legal rights.

LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, spoke to students about the changing world of law and media, and the importance of student publications on college campuses.

“If you don’t tell these stories, we can’t count on the professional news media to do it,” LoMonte said.

The speech, titled “New Media, Old Obstacles: How Online Publishing Is (And Isn’t) Changing the Game for College Journalists,” was sponsored by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy as a part of the organization’s second annual First Amendment Day.

He said online publications are changing the journalism world by completely revamping who is defined as a journalist, increasing privacy protection, and changing the entire process of receiving and processing reader comments.

Cathy Packer, journalism professor and faculty director of the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, chose LoMonte as the speaker.

“I had heard he was an excellent speaker, which proved to be true,” Packer said. “I thought a press focus was appropriate since most of the people who attended were journalism students.”

LoMonte said that even though the press center is often perceived as being focused toward the future, contemporary issues should be at the forefront of discussion.

“(The Student Press Law Center) is supporting the present of journalism, and we don’t know what the future is going to bring,” he said.

LoMonte also encouraged student journalists to focus on accuracy and exposing the truth despite how easy it is for journalists to publish material.

“The truth is not an experiment. It is not something you publish first and investigate later,” LoMonte said. “You cannot let the casualness of publishing make you casual about the truth.”

Senior Amy Dobrzynski said she attended the speech because the First Amendment is something she is personally passionate about.

“I think a lot of people take First Amendment rights for granted, and they don’t realize how lucky they are to live in a place where speech, religion and press are protected,” Dobrzynski said.

Contact the University Editor at

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.


The Daily Tar Heel Women's Tennis Victory Paper

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive