One of our favorite faculty with whom to work is Marvin Ammori at the College of Law. As a First Amendment scholar who focuses on digital and telecommunications, Ammori is among a star-studded cast of law profs who helps power UNL’s unique Space and Telecommunications Law program. He also has a firm understanding of how to get his message out: (1) make your comments relevant and timely (2) take a stand with your opinions — leave the academic detachment at the door; and (3) know who covers your field of expertise on a national level. Those three simple tenets have paid off.
Since January, Ammori has been quoted several times in the Washington Post on topics ranging from oversight of cable companies’ new “TV Everywhere” product to Internet access issues to Apple pulling sexually explicit applications from iTunes. He’s also been on C-SPAN as part of a panel discussing the First Amendment and new technologies. Most importantly, Ammori writes an occasional blog for Huffington Post on telecom and Net Neutrality issues, which have again come to the forefront as a new member of the Supreme Court is being debated.
It’s no secret that reporters read blogs. They’re the new cop blotters and cheat-sheets of journalism. Which is why it’s important that we treat bloggers as journalists and pitch them accordingly. They are often a clear pathway toward coverage from larger, mainstream news outlets. Ammori’s recent blog at Huffington Post questioning Kagan on corporate speech issues caused a bit of a stir and resulted in some coverage — first at POLITICO, and, on Sunday, the New York Times.
Ammori does two very important things well: He keeps in touch with University Communications to let us know if he’s had media contacts, and, if he feels he can speak to an issue that’s in the news in his field, he’ll often offer up some specifics and allow us to pitch his thoughts to reporters. He’s what we call a “Perpetual Placement” — an engaged and engaging expert in a particular field who follows the news closely, understands how his voice can contribute to the national discussion, and benefits from his professional relationships with national news reporters to find his way into prominent periodicals.
In our fantasy world, we’d have an army of Ammoris on campus.