St Joseph Hall, home of Department of Communication

Get to know Jonathan Peters

Jonathan PetersUpon first meeting Jonathan Peters, it is impossible to not be intimidated by the sheer presence he exudes, but his disarming smile and friendly honesty soon show his more open side. With the trim, tailored appearance of a lawyer and the smooth practiced voice of an expert communicator, he explains his deep passion for education, journalism, and the law. Even as a practicing lawyer and journalist, it is his role as an Assistant Professor of Journalism for the Department of Communication that he takes most seriously. Jonathan has entered his first year of teaching here with an impressive list of credentials. He earned his B.S. in Journalism from Ohio University before heading to The Ohio State University for a J.D., and finally to the University of Missouri where he earned a Ph.D. in Journalism. Between each of these academic achievements he participated in a host of integrated pursuits. He spent time as an intern in the Public Information Office of the Supreme Court of the United States in 2006. He then went on to study and work with David Goldberger, an expert in First Amendment Law.

"He is a real free speech stud," Jonathan says referring to Goldberger. His time spent with Goldberger truly showed him a path to one of his lifelong passions. "I just fell in love with free speech," Jonathan claims with a broad smile. Jonathan was both a Larry Waller Fellow and a Frank Martin Fellow while working on his Ph. D. Throughout his time in academia he has published and/or assisted with over 30 articles, contributed to two books, and given more than 21 presentations and panels in his three fields of study including law, journalism, and public relations.  He still practices law, works as a media consultant, writes, presents and researches First Amendment Law, while teaching. As if that were not enough he also serves on the board of the Student Press Law Center, which means that he is on call to provide pro bono representation in matters related to access, news gathering, freelancer agreements, copyright, subpoena defenses, and freedom of information to students in the press.

This all around impressive educator claims that his first love is teaching because of all the lessons students have taught him. "It is so humbling to teach because I learn so much about life from my students," Jonathan says about the time he taught a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist. For Jonathan, teaching is all about the exchange of ideas and the passion he can instill in young journalists just tackling the field for the first time. He currently teaches courses in public affairs, feature writing, and media effects. Jonathan is excited to tackle an upcoming class on Internet freedom, which spins off of his original dissertation research.

When he is not busy defending the First Amendment, writing, speaking, or teaching he can be found at the hockey rink. He is a huge hockey fan from his early days as a sports writer in college. Along with hockey he is a self-proclaimed Netflix junkie. Legal shows are his favorite by far, but he enjoys a nice assortment of entertainment as well. Jonathan is very close with his family – his original inspiration for going into journalism. His father Tom Peters is a professor at Ohio University in Athens and has been Jonathan's whole life. Jonathan remembers growing up and playing in the halls of the university and claims the lecture hall as a first home. His mother taught fourth grade until recently retiring. He spends time with his parents as often as he can. He enjoys traveling and hopes one day to make a second trip to Rome. He recently visited New Orleans for a conference and casually mentioned a trip to Boston to speak at Harvard.

He is shockingly humble and claims his favorite part of all his work is that “I get paid to think about what I love to think about” he told me laughing. He proceeds to explain, “It is endlessly fun to get to work with students. I try to create a learning environment that is both open and welcoming.” All in all Dr. Jonathan Peters is an incredibly active and vibrant individual who is happy to be one of the latest additions to the University of Dayton family.