SPLC’s Dick Goehler receives prestigious Society of Professional Journalists' ''Fellow'' award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact: Beverly Keneagy904.626.0017 / bkeneagy@splc.org

Cincinnatiattorney Richard M. Goehler, who served as Chair of the Student Press Law Center’sBoard of Directors until his death earlier this year, has been named a Fellow ofthe Society of Professional Journalists for his lifetime service to the field.

Being named a “Fellow of the Society”is the highest honor SPJ bestows upon a journalist for extraordinarycontributions to the profession. The posthumous recognition will be made at theSPJ/Radio Television Digital News Association convention in New Orleans onSept. 27.

Goehler, 54, died on March 15 aftera 10-month battle with leukemia. Hewas a partner with Frost Brown Todd LLC and practiced in media law, includingdigital, interactive and social media, advertising law, copyright andtrademark.

Goehlerhas been an ally to the SPLC and student media for nearly two decades,providing countless hours of free representation to high school and collegejournalists in need of assistance. He was nominated for the SPJ honor by SPLCExecutive Director Frank LoMonte.

“As Chair of the Board of Directorsof the Student Press Law Center, Dick Goehler was a leader in promoting theavailability of free legal services to any student journalist in need ofassistance, and he and his firm provided more pro-bono representation tostudents than any other in the SPLC’s nationwide volunteer network,” LoMontewrote in the nomination.

SPLCChair Mark Stodder of The Dolan Company said: “It is a great honor forDick Goehler’s legacy and entirely appropriate for the Pioneer Award to comehis way. Dick was a pioneer in providing free legal assistance to studentjournalists whose First Amendment rights were under attack and helped shape thevital services provided by the SPLC. This is wonderful news.”

Goehler was nationally known as apremier media and First Amendment litigator, and was chairman of the AmericanBar Association’s Section on Communications Law in 2009-10.

Goehler was known for his successfuldefense of Clear Channel Broadcasting, the Scripps newspaper chain and othermedia clients in defamation actions. But beyond his paying clientele, Goehlertook on — free of charge — some of the most challenging First Amendment casesof the last two decades, including helping win an extremely important victoryfor the student media in Kincaid v. Gibson, a 2001 Sixth CircuitU.S. Court of Appeals case ruling that a public university could not overridethe editorial discretion of college yearbook editors.

Reginald Stuart of The McClatchyCompany, a SPLC Board member who was named an SPJ Fellow of the Society in2006, described Goehler as a humble volunteer who never sought recognition forhis numerous accomplishments.

“Dick Goehler was more than anesteemed First Amendment lawyer. He was the quintessential volunteer who neversought the accolades he deserved for his wise advice and counsel and neverminded working the trenches outside the spotlight. We lost him far too soon inlife. We did and will benefit from his wisdom, his vision, his guidance. SPJ’sdecision to recognize him as a Fellow of the Society does a great honor to himfor his service to our country in promoting and defending the First Amendmentand its values. I hope he left us a clone of himself.”

LoMonte concluded in hisnomination: “Had Dick’s life not been cut short, there is no question that uponhis eventual retirement, we would be showering him with this and othercareer-achievement accolades. It is appropriate that the SPJ afford its highestrecognition — Fellow of the Society — to a very, very good friend ofjournalists whose advocacy will be greatly missed.”

Since 1974, the Student Press Law Center has beendevoted to educating high school and college journalists about the rights andresponsibilities embodied in the First Amendment, and supporting the studentnews media in covering important issues free from censorship.  The Center provides free information andeducational materials for student journalists and their teachers on a wide varietyof legal topics on its website at www.splc.org.