Jonathan Peters

Assistant Professor
Full-Time Faculty
College of Arts and Sciences: Communication


Jonathan Peters is a media lawyer and an assistant professor at the University of Dayton, where he teaches journalism and law. He blogs about free expression for the Harvard Law & Policy Review, and he has written on legal issues for The Atlantic, Slate, The Nation, Wired, PBS, and the Columbia Journalism Review. Peters has taught courses in media law, news reporting, media ethics, feature writing, public affairs reporting, and journalism principles. His scholarship and commentary have been noted by Forbes, Politico, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and PBS NewsHour, among others.

Peters is a volunteer attorney for the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C., and for the Online Media Law Network at Harvard University. He is the First Amendment Chair of the Civil Rights Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association, a member of the Media Law Committee of the Ohio State Bar Association, and a member of the board of directors of the ACLU of Ohio. Peters has a journalism degree from Ohio University, a law degree from Ohio State University, and a Ph.D. in journalism from the University of Missouri.


  • Ph.D., Journalism, University of Missouri
  • J.D., Ohio State University
  • B.S., Journalism, Ohio University

Research Interests

  • Media law and policy
  • Journalism history
  • Philosophy of journalism
  • Technology and law

Selected Publications


Jonathan Peters and Edson C. Tandoc, Jr.,"People who aren't really reporters at all, who have no professional qualifications:" Defining a Journalist and Deciding Who May Claim The Privileges, N.Y.U. JOURNAL OF LEGISLATION AND PUBLIC POLICY (2013) (in press).

Jonathan Peters and Charles N. Davis, When Open Government and Academic Freedom Collide, 12 FIRST AMENDMENT LAW REVIEW __ (2013) (in press).

Jonathan Peters, WikiLeaks, the First Amendment, and the Press, HARVARD LAW & POLICY REVIEW (APRIL 2011).

Jonathan Peters, WikiLeaks Would Not Qualify To Claim Federal Reporter’s Privilege In Any Form, 63 FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS LAW JOURNAL 667 (2011).


Jonathan Peters, “WikiLeaks and the First Amendment,” in Stephanie Craft and Charles N. Davis, PRINCIPLES OF AMERICAN JOURNALISM (Routledge, 2013).

Jonathan Peters, “WikiLeaks Shows the Need for a New Kind of Watchdog Protection,” in AT ISSUE: WIKILEAKS (Gale, 2013).


Jonathan Peters, “Finally: A Guide for Journalists to Navigate Fair Use of Copyrighted Material,” PBS MEDIASHIFT. June 10, 2013.

Jonathan Peters and Frank LoMonte, “College Journalists Need Free Speech More Than Ever,” THE ATLANTIC. March 1, 2013.

Jonathan Peters, “Piers Morgan and the First Amendment,” NOTICE AND COMMENT (blog of the HARVARD LAW & POLICY REVIEW). December 27, 2012.

Jonathan Peters, “Does Europe Understand the First Amendment Better Than We Do?” THE ATLANTIC. July 24, 2012.

Jonathan Peters, “The Supreme Court Leaks,” SLATE. July 6, 2012.

Jonathan Peters, “When journalists refuse to name their sources,” NOTICE AND COMMENT (blog of the HARVARD LAW & POLICY REVIEW). May 22, 2012.

Jonathan Peters, “Updating the Privacy Protection Act for the Digital Era,” COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW. January 30, 2012.

Jonathan Peters, “FAQ: What Are the Rights of Reporters Covering Protests?” THE NATION. January 4, 2012.

Jonathan Peters, “WikiLeaks Shows Need for a Legal Watchdog Privilege,” WIRED. May 20, 2011.