Conference Chairs

David Ardia, Assistant Professor, UNC School of Law
David Ardia is an assistant professor at the UNC School of Law and a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.  Before joining the UNC faculty, he founded and directed the Berkman Center’s Digital Media Law Project.  Prior to coming to Harvard, Professor Ardia was assistant counsel at The Washington Post, where he provided pre-publication review and legal advice on First Amendment, newsgathering, intellectual property, and general business issues. Professor Ardia served as a law clerk for Judge Conrad Cyr on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and for Judge Thomas McAvoy on the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York.  After clerking, he practiced law at Williams & Connolly in Washington, DC, where he handled a range of intellectual property and media litigation.  While at Williams & Connolly, he also performed pre-publication libel review for the National Enquirer and In Touch Weekly. Professor Ardia is a former member of the Newspaper Association of America’s Legal Affairs Committee and is a current member of the Online News Association’s Legal Advisory Board and the First Amendment and Media Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association.  He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New York, United States Supreme Court, and United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Professor Ardia’s research focuses on examining the impact of new information technologies on law and society, particularly the role that intermediaries play in shaping the environment for speech and how legal and social forces act upon those intermediaries.  He teaches Torts, Media Law, and Cyberlaw.

Josh Azriel, Associate Professor, KSU
Dr. Azriel is an Associate Professor of Communication at Kennesaw State University.  He teaches Media Law and journalism writing courses.  His academic research focuses on First Amendment implications for online social media.  Specifically, he analyzes how social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are used for defamation, invasion of privacy, and inflicting emotional distress.  He has been published in several journals including the Journal of Internet Law, Communication Law and Policy, and the John Marshall Journal of Computer and Information Law.  Dr. Azriel was the recipient of a 2011 Carnegie Fellowship at the University of Witswatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa where he conducted research on South African hate speech laws and guest lectured at the Oliver Schreiner School of Law.  He received his PhD in 2006 at the University of Florida.

Carolyn Carlson, Assistant Professor, KSU

Carolyn S. Carlson is assistant professor of journalism and citizen media at Kennesaw State University. She is a former political press secretary and a longtime reporter and editor for The Associated Press. She was national president of Society of Professional Journalists in 1989-1990, chaired the SPJ Ethics Committee in 1993-94, received SPJ’s Wells Key in 1994, and was named to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in 2002, 2005 and 2006.  Carlson earned her A.B.J. University of Georgia. She has a Masters from Georgia State University. Carlson has a doctorate from Georgia State University. Carlson has been a leader for the past decade in the effort to improve public access to records involving student discipline and crime on the nation’s college campuses. She founded the multi-organizational Campus Courts Task Force, which received an SPJ Freedom of Information Award in 1998 for its success in changing federal law to increase public access to college disciplinary records involving serious crime.


Jeff Hermes,  Assistant Director of the Citizen Media Law Project,  Berkman Center, Harvard University
Jeff Hermes received his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1997. Prior to joining the Berkman Center at Harvard University, Jeff assisted a wide array of clients in First Amendment, media, intellectual property and Internet law issues as a partner in the litigation practice of Brown Rudnick LLP and later as counsel to Hermes, Netburn, O’Connor & Spearing, P.C. in Boston. Over the last fourteen years, Jeff has represented an international media network and its subsidiaries, major metropolitan newspapers, local broadcasters on television and radio, Internet-based publishers and social media networks. He has written for numerous publications and spoken at a wide array of events on media law issues. Jeff received his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from Princeton University in 1994.


Geanne Rosenberg, Director of the Harnisch Collaborative Future of Journalism Projects
Geanne Rosenberg, a journalist and attorney, is a professor at City University of New York’s Baruch College and CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism.  Geanne directs the Harnisch Collaborative Future of Journalism Projects and is the principal investigator of McCormick Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, and David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation-funded journalism projects relating to media law, journalism education, citizen journalism and news literacy. She was founding chair of Baruch’s Department of Journalism and the Writing Professions.  Geanne has written for the New York Times, the National Law Journal, Columbia Journalism Review, Nieman Journalism Lab and many other news outlets. She has worked on a pro bono basis at the Associated Press on state and federal freedom of information appeals. In 2010, she organized and directed the first-ever news literacy summit for high school students and a national workshop for news and media literacy experts. She authored and produced Knight Citizen News Network’s Top Ten Rules for Limiting Legal Risk and the Citizen Journalist’s Guide to Open Government and co-authored two Poynter Institute News University media law modules, including Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Online Publishers and newly released Newsgathering Law & Liability: A Guide for Reporters.  Geanne has a J.D. from Columbia University’s School of Law, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar; an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism; and a B.A. in English from Bryn Mawr College.  She serves on the Board of Directors of the Student Press Law Center, a national organization devoted to supporting high school and college journalism with legal resources and education.


Leonard Witt, Executive Director, Center for Sustainable Journalism at KSU
Leonard Witt is the Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University, holds the Robert D. Fowler Distinguished Chair in Communication at Kennesaw State University and was named an Eminent Scholar by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia in May 2008. In August 2008, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for Kennesaw State University. In 2009, Witt founded the Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University, thanks to a generous donation from the Harnisch Foundation.  The Center’s mission is to discover innovative ways to produce financially sustainable, high quality and ethically sound journalism, produce applied research, build collaborations and advance innovative projects to test the viability of community-supported journalism. His annual SoCon, social media, social networking conference at Kennesaw State draws about 300 metro Atlantans representing marketing, blogging, new and traditional media, academia, public relations, human resources and executive ranks.  He was a journalist for more than 25 years, including being editor of Sunday Magazine at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Monthly magazine. Before entering academia in 2002, he was the executive director of the Minnesota Public Radio Civic Journalism Initiative.