Marquette University’s J. William and Mary Diederich Collegeof Communication and the Marquette University Alumni Association honored longtime Student Press Law Center attorney Michael C. Hiestand on Saturday as the 2016 recipient of their college’s By-Line Award. The award is presented each year to an alumnus who has attained distinction and has made exceptionalachievements in journalism and related fields.
Hiestand, who graduated from Marquette University in 1987with a degree in journalism and later from Cornell Law School, has gainedrenown for his committed defense of the First Amendment and the rights ofstudent journalists. In more than two decades on the staff of the SPLC, Hiestand provided legal assistance to nearly 15,000 student journalists and advisers.
During the 2013-14 academic year, Hiestand took hisdedication to student press rights on the road by organizing the Tinker Tour, anationwide First Amendment awareness campaign bringing the landmarkstudent-speech case, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community SchoolDistrict, to a new generation of young journalists. Accompanied by Mary BethTinker, one of the original Tinker plaintiffs, he visited 31 states and theDistrict of Columbia to discuss the importance of free speech and free press.
“My work with student media has truly been my dream job,” hesaid about his lifetime of work. “I believe — I know — good journalists canand do change the world for the better. That’s why I went to journalism school.The First Amendment, among other things, protects journalists. That’s why Iwent to law school.”
Hiestand is the co-author of the SPLC’s reference book, Lawof the Student Press, and was the primary author of “Covering CampusCrime: A Handbook for Journalists,” now in its fifth edition. He alsowrote the long-running column, “It’s The Law,” covering student media law,published by the National Scholastic Press Association and the AssociatedCollegiate Press. In 2009, the National Scholastic Press Association awardedhim its Pioneer Award, its highest honor for journalism educators. In 2015, heand Tinker were presented with the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award inrecognition of their free-speech awareness efforts.
Hiestand has been one of the leading proponents of a student press-rights statute to protect the independence of student journalists and journalism advisers in his home state of W