SPLC’s Mike Hiestand accepts Louis Ingelhart First Amendment Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact: Frank D. LoMonte, executive director703.807.1904 / director@splc.org

Mike Hiestand, who over the last 20 years at the StudentPress Law Center has provided direct legal assistance to more than 14,500 highschool and college journalists and advisers, received the esteemed LouisIngelhart First Amendment Award at this weekend’s National College MediaConvention in Orlando.

Hiestand, a former SPLC staff attorney, now serves as aconsulting attorney, working from his home in Washington state. He was selectedfor the award by the board of College Media Advisers.

The namesake of the award, Louis Ingelhart was a belovedjournalism professor at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

He dedicated much of his life to studying, writing andteaching the First Amendment. Ingelhart helped form the SPLC in its modern incarnation, and was a longtime member of itsnational executive board. He died in 2007.

Mark Witherspoon, a former College Media Advisers president and editorial adviser of the Iowa StateDaily, nominated Hiestand for the award due to his years of dedicatedservice to the student press.

“In his almost 20 years of serving the college and highschool media, Mike Hiestand has helped more students than many advisers andteachers, and he has helped them in a time when they needed help the most,”Witherspoon said. “His wise legal advice presented in his calm, reassuring tonenot only provided students and advisers with the information they needed, butalso helped them understand that it was not the end of the world, although itmight have seemed like it at the time. I don’t know anyone who deserved thisaward more than Mike.”

SPLC Executive Director Frank LoMonte said the award – whichis given out only on rare occasions when CMA recognizes a career of exceptionalachievement – is a fitting capstone to Hiestand’s two decades of public service.

“When you think about the people who exemplify LouisIngelhart’s dedication to the betterment of student journalism, you have to putMike Hiestand right at the top of the list,” LoMonte said. “For 20 years, Mikehas given his all — nights, weekends, holidays — to make this world a betterplace to teach and learn journalism. That is a legacy that puts him up withLouis Ingelhart among the giants who’ve made a profound difference in thisfield, and with this award, CMA has recognized Mike’s rightful place in thepantheon of press freedom. All of us in the SPLC family are proud to beassociated with Mike, who is such a humble and decent person that he neverwould have sought this kind of recognition for himself.”

“I am so very grateful for having had the opportunity to dowork that I love and believe in for more than two decades,” said Hiestand.“Louis’s commitment to the cause of student press freedom and unwaveringsupport for the Student Press Law Center in its early years made that possible.He was kind, but fiercely passionate about the importance of instilling in ournext generation an appreciation and respect for a free press. I count him amongmy biggest role models and am deeply honored by this award.”

Hiestand has spoken to thousands of high school and collegestudents at national journalism conventions across the country. He is theprimary author of the SPLC’s Law of theStudent Press book and online educational materials, and writes the long-runningmonthly column “It’s the Law,” for the National Scholastic Press Associationand the Associated Collegiate Press. He is a graduate of Marquette University’sCollege of Journalism and Cornell Law School.

College Media Advisers represents those who advise thenation’s collegiate newspapers, yearbooks magazines, electric and online media.It has more than 700 members nationwide.

Since 1974, the Student Press Law Center has been devoted toeducating 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 widevariety of legal topics on its website at www.splc.org.