Jane Kirtley is Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota. Prior to this she was the Executive Director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a voluntary, unincorporated association of reporters and editors founded in 1970 which is devoted to protecting the First Amendment and freedom of information interests of the news media. From 1985 to 1999, she oversaw the legal defense and publications efforts of the Reporters Committee, as well as supervising the group's fund-raising activities. Ms. Kirtley also edited the Committee's quarterly magazine, The News Media & The Law. Ms. Kirtley has prepared numerous friend-of-the-court briefs on behalf of the Reporters Committee and other news media organizations, including Reno v. ACLU, Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, The Florida Star v. B.J.F., and Dept. of Justice v. Tax Analysts. She writes and speaks frequently on media law and freedom of information issues in the United States and abroad, including in Russia, Mongolia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Japan, Chile, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Canada. Ms. Kirtley also writes "The Press and the Law" column each month for American Journalism Review. Ms. Kirtley has appeared on nationally-broadcast programs such as Nightline, All Things Considered, The Jim Lehrer News Hour, Good Morning America, Today, Donahue!, Crossfire, Burden of Proof, CNN & Co. and the BBC's Law in Action. She has been an adjunct professor with the American University School of Communications Graduate Program since 1989.
Before coming to the Reporters Committee in 1984, Ms. Kirtley was associated with the law firm of Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle. She is a member of the New York, District of Columbia and Virginia bars. Ms. Kirtley worked as a reporter for the Evansville Press, the Oak Ridger and the Nashville Banner.
Ms. Kirtley obtained her J.D. degree in 1979 from Vanderbilt University School of Law, where she served as Executive Articles Editor of the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. She received bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in 1975 and 1976.
She serves on many advisory boards and committees, including the Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center, the ABA National Conference of Lawyers and Representatives of the Media, the Libel Defense Resource Center, the Student Press Law Center and the editorial board of Government Information Quarterly. In 1993, Ms. Kirtley received the Distinguished Service Award from the Newspaper Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and in 1994, The John Peter Zenger Award for Freedom of the Press and the People's Right to Know from the University of Arizona. In 1996, she was one of 24 individuals inducted into The FOIA Hall of Fame, established to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Freedom of Information Act.