FAC partners with Online News Association to assist digital journalists

The First Amendment Coalition is delighted to announce a partnership with the Online News Association to provide ONA members—-digital journalists working primarily for digital media platforms—with legal help on First Amendment and other media law matters through FAC’s Legal Hotline service.

The Legal Hotline is a legal consultation service available on FAC’s website. Users submit legal questions using FAC’s online form. The questions are answered by lawyers—all experts in media law—at Bryan Cave, a national law firm. Their answers, delivered by email, cover questions about freedom of speech, journalists’ rights, freedom-of-information, open meeting laws, access to court proceedings, and related First Amendment matters.

The Legal Hotline is a free service, underwritten by FAC’s donors. Under the new arrangement between ONA and FAC, ONA members will not only receive the service free, but they will have priority access to the Hotline’s lawyers—the same priority given to FAC’s members.

ONA, with over 3,000 members, is the largest association of journalists who produce news for and support digital delivery systems. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards.

“We are delighted to be embarking on this partnership with ONA,” said Peter Scheer, executive director of FAC. “FAC wants to be a legal resource to digital journalists so they can overcome the objections of bureaucrats and elected officials who want to withhold information.”

“Democracy can’t work unless the people know what government is doing,” Scheer continued. “Digital journalists are an increasingly important source of that vital news and information about government.”

To use the Legal Hotline, go here.

ONA is based in Washington, DC. FAC is based in California, with offices in San Rafael. FAC is a 501C(3) nonprofit organization.