First Amendment attorney Shannon Jankowski will advocate for open records in support of watchdog journalism that informs and protects local communities
CINCINNATI – The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has appointed Shannon Jankowski its first E.W. Scripps Fellow for Press Freedom. The two-year fellowship, established through the support of The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP), focuses on supporting local enterprise and investigative journalism, including bolstering access to public records and encouraging greater government transparency.
“Scripps is committed to supporting local journalists who doggedly pursue the truth, whether they work in our newsrooms or with other news outlets,” Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson said. “The Scripps fellowship will help ensure that journalists have the legal support necessary to pursue public records, preserving the public’s right to know how its government is operating. We are proud to partner with the Reporters Committee and Shannon in this critical work.”
In June, Scripps and the Reporters Committee established The E.W. Scripps Fellow for Press Freedom, a legal fellowship program that will bring media law resources to local communities that too often lack the necessary resources to pursue access to open records. The Scripps legal fellow and the Reporters Committee will provide this legal counsel pro bono, supported by a $100,000 per year commitment from Scripps.
“At a time when local news organizations face a growing need for legal support, Shannon will help ensure local journalists can access information that’s essential to informing their communities and holding public officials accountable,” said Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee. “We’re thrilled to welcome her to the Reporters Committee as we partner with Scripps to expand our services where they’re needed most and advance our work to protect the newsgathering rights of journalists nationwide.”
Before joining the Reporters Committee, Jankowski was an associate attorney at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP in Minneapolis, where her practice included representing clients in defamation, right of publicity, copyright and trademark litigation, as well as assisting journalists and news organizations in obtaining access to government and judicial records. Jankowski also co-authored updates to the Minnesota chapters of the Reporters Committee’s Open Government Guide and Open Courts Compendium. She is a 2017 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, where she served as articles editor for the Minnesota Law Review.
“Strong and vibrant local journalism is essential to ensuring that individuals have access to meaningful information about the communities in which they live and work, but when local news outlets are faced with legal challenges, it can threaten their ability to fully explore and investigate these stories,” said Jankowski. “I’m looking forward to working with local journalists so they can continue to shed light on important issues around the country.”
The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) serves audiences and businesses through a growing portfolio of local and national media brands. With 52 television stations in 36 markets, Scripps is one of the nation’s largest independent TV station owners. Scripps runs a collection of national journalism and content businesses, including Newsy, the next-generation national news network; podcast industry leader Stitcher; the fast-growing national broadcast networks Bounce, Grit, Escape, Laff and Court TV; and Triton, the global leader in digital audio technology and measurement services. Scripps runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., and is the longtime steward of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Founded in 1878, Scripps has held for decades to the motto, “Give light and the people will find their own way.”
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press provides pro bono legal representation, amicus curiae support and other legal resources to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists. The Reporters Committee serves the nation’s leading news organizations; thousands of reporters, editors and media lawyers; and many more who use our online and mobile resources. For updates on our work, sign up for our email list or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.