The Press Freedom Defense Fund of First Look Institute and the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice of the New York City Bar Association recognized the need and opportunity to extend the support that they give respectively to journalists, news organizations, and whistleblowers targeted by powerful figures and to nonprofit investigative journalism internationally.
Local news organizations in the United States are disappearing amidst the steady consolidation of the media sector in the pursuit of earnings, shareholder value, and opportunistic private equity profits. Advertising revenue continues to plummet, even faster in the pandemic. While small, independent digital news organizations are beginning to emerge, they lack resources, including basic legal services to support initial formation, basic operations, good governance, risk avoidance, and, importantly, sustainability.
PFDF and the Vance Center founded Lawyers for Reporters to implement new models for news making and to provide local journalism in the United States with the legal muscle to battle legal threats by the powerful. Lawyers for Reporters also offers its services to public interest organizations that issue reports as part of their advocacy and face similar challenges as journalism.
Currently a sponsored project of the Vance Center, Lawyers for Reporters has a full-time program manager and a team of special counsels who together provide direct client representation. Building on the successful model of the Vance Center, Lawyers for Reporters works in tandem with lawyers at dozens of law firms around the country in various areas of expertise. International, regional, and local firms handle corporate, nonprofit, intellectual property and other matters, while specialized media law firms litigate certain complex matters.
Lawyers for Reporters has an advisory committee of early funders and media lawyers from nonprofit and mainstream publications and firms, which guide its strategy and development.
Help to file 501(c), incorporation, and/or LLC documents to protect you and your employees from liability.
Connect you with fiscal sponsors or coordinate your 501(c)(3) with your for-profit partners.
Make sure you have everything you need to get the news you want out to the public.
Once your organization is up and running, LFR can help to ensure it runs smoothly.
The news is online and we will help to make sure you are too.
LFR can help review any content to avoid any issues before print.
In those cases where content may cause issues, LFR can assist your nonprofit organization in the retention of defense counsel for lawsuits.
LFR will connect with our vast connection of lawyers.
Local new organizations are disappearing and with them civic awareness, government accountability, and democratic engagement. The steady consolidation of the media sector extracts resources from local news organizations in the pursuit of earnings, shareholder value, and opportunistic private equity profits. Advertising revenue continues to plummet, even faster in the pandemic. While small, independent digital news organizations are beginning to emerge, they lack resources, including basic legal services to support initial formation, basic operations, good governance, risk avoidance, and, importantly, sustainability.
Lawyers for Reporters provides pro bono legal services to local reporting organizations. Clients include print and online publishers, radio, television, and Internet content providers, freelance writers, photographers, documentarians, and videographers as well as investigative, advocacy, and academic publishers of public interest content. Lawyers for Reporters represents individual reporters through their employers or commissioning organizations. Non-profit clients of the Firm receive pro-bono services; for-profit clients receive information through non-profit intermediaries and/or representation based on negotiated fee arrangements.
Lawyers for Reporters provides legal services that news organizations need to support the business of journalism – corporate, transactional, employment, real estate, tax, and non-profit formation and governance advice. It provides counseling services such as pre-publication review, copyright and trademark clearance, licensing, and newsgathering advice. It offers legal support when its news organization clients face libel, privacy, copyright or other litigation threats. To provide these services, Lawyers for Reporters has a staff of in-house lawyers and a network of law firms nationwide which provide quality pro bono services.
Lawyers for Reporters is part of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice of the New York City Bar Association. Rather than duplicate resources, the Firm refers its clients to other organizations when they have the expertise to handle a matter more effectively, including Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, and others.