Fake News & the First Amendment

The term “fake news” burst on to the scene during the 2016 election and appears to have earned a permanent spot in the journalistic and political lexicon. But what does it actually mean? Journalists, social media outlets, politicians and news consumers can’t seem to agree on what the term encompasses, much less what its impact and potential remedies are. Do tech companies bear responsibility for containing it, and can they do so without bias or improper censorship? What is the role of the traditional press?

Our panel of experts in media, politics and law addressed these questions and more at the November 30, 2017 California Press Foundation’s 140th Winter Meeting in San Francisco. 



Victoria Baranestsky, Center for Investigative Reporting

Victoria Baranetsky, General Counsel, Center for Investigative Reporting

Victoria joined CIR after serving as the first staff member on the West Coast for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, where she worked on matters involving the intersection of technology and media law, access to government data, privacy and government surveillance. She previously worked as legal counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation on trademark and First Amendment issues, including the foundation’s transfer to HTTPS.

Nate Cardozo, Senior Staff Attorney, EFF

Nate Cardozo, Senior Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Nate is a Senior Staff Attorney on the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s digital civil liberties team. In addition to his focus on free speech and privacy litigation, Nate works on EFF’s Who Has Your Back? report and Coders’ Rights Project. Nate has projects involving cryptography and the law, automotive privacy, government transparency, hardware hacking rights, anonymous speech, electronic privacy law reform, Freedom of Information Act litigation, and resisting the expansion of the surveillance state. A 2009-2010 EFF Open Government Legal Fellow, Nate spent two years in private practice before returning to EFF in 2012.

Dan Gillmor

Dan Gillmor, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Arizona State University

Dan is professor of practice in digital media literacy and director of the News Co/Lab at the Cronkite School. Author of Mediactive and We the Media. Contributor to many publications including Wired and the Atlantic. Former Fellow, Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

Megan Graham, Clinical Teaching Fellow, Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic, UC Berkeley Law School

Before joining the Clinic, Megan served as a law clerk to Magistrate Judge Katherine Menendez in the District of Minnesota and as a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Minnesota Law School’s Human Rights Center. Megan was previously the Privacy, Security, and Technology Fellow and Assistant Managing Editor at Just Security, where her research focused on pressing issues in privacy, technology, and civil liberties and human rights law, including law enforcement hacking, encryption, and government surveillance. Megan graduated from NYU School of Law, where she participated in the Advanced Technology Law and Policy Clinic and the Brennan Center’s Public Policy Advocacy Clinic, and served as a Managing Editor of the Annual Survey of American Law.

David Snyder, FAC Executive Director

David Snyder, Executive Director, First Amendment Coalition

David, the First Amendment Coalition’s Executive Director, is a lawyer and journalist. His work as a reporter spanned nearly 16 years, including time at the Albuquerque Tribune, the Dallas Morning News, the New York Times (as a freelancer), and the Washington Post, where he was a reporter on the metro staff from 2000 to 2005.  As a lawyer, Snyder represented journalists and news media for Sheppard Mullin between 2009 and 2016. Snyder received his B.A. with highest honors from the University of Texas at Austin’s Plan II Honors Program. He holds a B.S. in Journalism with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Law (Boalt Hall).