Student Press Law Center diversifies board with four new appointees

An award-winning newspaper editor, a champion of civic learning in schools, an attorney specializing in media law and a law school student who ran her college newspaper have been elected to the Student Press Law Center’s Board of Directors.

The Student Press Law Center is a Washington, D.C.-area non-profit whose mission is to advocate for free-press rights for high school and college journalists. It provides legal information and attorney referral assistance at no charge to students and the educators who work with them. The Center is governed by a 15-member volunteer board whose members are drawn from law, journalism, education, business and philanthropy.

Members joining as of the Center’s next Board meeting on January 25 are:

  • Jane Eisner, editor-in-chief of the Forward, a national Jewish news organization based in New York City that, under her leadership, has won a host of regional and national journalism awards. She held executive editorial and news positions at The Philadelphia Inquirer for 25 years, including serving as a reporter, foreign correspondent and columnist. In addition to her journalistic work, Eisner has served as vice president for national programs and initiatives at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. She is the author of the 2004 book, Taking Back the Vote, about youth voting rights and civic participation.
  • Ted McConnell, the executive director of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., and co-chaired by retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, which advocates for a higher profile for civics education in K-12 schools. He has held a number of senior staff positions in the federal government, including service on the staff of the Supreme Court, the White House, and in several executive-branch agencies, and is a veteran political campaign manager.
  • Nabiha Syed, an attorney based in New York with Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, LLP, one of the nation’s leading media-law firms, which she joined after a fellowship in the legal counsel’s office for The New York Times. She is an Information Society Project Fellow at Yale Law School, where her research focuses on new media technologies, surveillance, and freedom of information laws. She is also a co-founder of the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School. She holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, and an M.St. in Comparative Media Law from Oxford University, which she attended as a Marshall Scholar.
  • Sommer Ingram, a first-year law student at Georgetown Law in Washington, D.C. She is a former editor of The Lariat at Baylor University, and after graduating worked as a reporter in Austin for the Associated Press and The Dallas Morning News before entering law school. She served as an SPLC journalism intern during the summer of 2010. Ingram will fill a newly created “student director” position, serving a single three-year term.

“This is a remarkably diverse group of high achievers who share a common passion for helping young people understand and protect their constitutional rights,” SPLC Executive Director Frank D. LoMonte said. “With these new additions, the SPLC reaffirms its role as a leader in the field of civic education and in the law of new media in every form.”

“By adding a student with full voting privileges to the Board, the SPLC is living up to its commitment to respect and value the opinions of young people,” LoMonte said. “Creating a dedicated ‘student seat’ on the Board gives young people an ownership stake in the SPLC, and their interests could not be better represented with Sommer Ingram as their voice.”

The newly elected members replace outgoing members Mark Stodder, Caesar Andrews, A.J. Bauer and Maureen Freeman, whose terms expired December 31.

Since 1974, the Student Press Law Center has been devoted to educating high school and college journalists about the rights and responsibilities embodied in the First Amendment, and supporting the student news media in covering important issues free from censorship. The Center provides free information and educational materials for student journalists and their teachers on a wide variety of legal topics on its website at
Beverly Keneagy
(904) 626-0017