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Monica Dias to give First Amendment Address at UK; late Michael Farrell to get James Madison Award

Former Kentucky Post journalist and now attorney Monica Dias will deliver the State of the First Amendment address at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media.

The annual Celebration of the First Amendment will be held tonight in Lexington.

The James Madison Award for distinguished service to the First Amendment will be given posthumously to the late J. Michael Farrell who died in August after a long illness. He was serving as interim director of the school and as director of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center.

Monica Dias

Dias and Farrell were long-time colleagues at The Kentucky Post. Dias is a graduate of Western Kentucky University and of the Chase College of Law. She served as senior editor of the Northern Kentucky Law Review, 2000-01.

Dias is a litigation and intellectual property attorney at Frost Brown Todd. A seasoned First Amendment and media lawyer, she has extensive experience defending media clients against defamation and invasion of privacy claims, as well as enforcing their right of access to courtrooms, public records, and public meetings. Her clients (TV and radio stations, magazines, newspapers, bloggers and documentary filmmakers) communicate content through traditional media as well as websites, tweets and social media.

Through pre-publication and pre-broadcast review of news stories and other content, she helps clients navigate evolving case law regarding defamation, privacy, right of publicity and copyright infringement so they can safely post content online, in print and on the air. She enforces her media clients’ First Amendment rights through litigation.

She also counsels clients on trademark and copyright issues, including trademark clearance and investigation, trademark prosecution and trademark registration in the U.S. and abroad. She manages large trademark portfolios for U.S. and international brands and protects and enforces trademarks worldwide. Her litigation experience includes defending against or prosecuting claims of false advertising, unfair competition, trademark infringement and copyright infringement. Her expertise helps clients navigate the ever-changing legal landscape regarding fair use of copyrighted material.

Farrell, a lifelong resident of Latonia, was a reporter, city editor and managing editor of The Kentucky Post over more than 20 years. When The Post closed, he got his PhD from the University of Kentucky, writing his dissertation, on the First Amendment. He had an abiding commitment to freedom of expression principles which helped The Kentucky Post earn a National Journalism Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment.

As a tenured professor in the UK School of Journalism and Media, he taught reporting, journalism history, ethics and media law and was honored nationally as an outstanding advisor.

He was co-founder of the NKyTribune and served as special advisor and special projects editor.

The James Madison Award is given annually to an individual for distinguished service to the First Amendment.

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