Published on April 17, 2012 by Bo Morris  

From Trayvon Martin to healthcare legislation, journalists are playing a critical role in communicating news and information about America’s legal system to the public. As this role becomes increasingly important, journalists must remain well informed about the judicial system and its place in the news.

Gene Policinski, senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, will speak on the First Amendment and the legal system in journalism April 24 for Samford University’s Timothy Sumner Robinson Forum, co-sponsored by the university's Cumberland School of Law. The event is free and open to the public and will be held in Bolding Studio, Swearingen Hall, on Samford’s campus. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m.

“I am thrilled to have Gene Policinski as this year’s Timothy Sumner Robinson speaker,” said Bernie Ankney, chair of the department of journalism and mass communication at Samford University. Gene Policinski is a nationally recognized expert on journalism and the legal system, including topics related to the First Amendment. Policinski’s visit to Samford will be a wonderful opportunity for the Samford community to learn more about the challenges of reporting on the courts and the legal system.”

Before joining the First Amendment Center in 1996, Policinski worked for Gannett News Service, where he reported for the Washington bureau on Congress and politics. He also served as Washington editor of USA Today.

“Policinski is an excellent choice to commemorate the life and contributions of Samford JMC alumnus Timothy Robinson,” Ankney said.

About the Robinson Forum

Timothy Sumner Robinson was a native of Dora, Ala. and a graduate of Samford University. Robinson passed away in 2003 at the age of 58.

Robinson covered the civil rights movement for United Press International and The Birmingham Post-Herald before joining The Washington Post in 1969. He was the U.S. District Court reporter for The Washington Post and covered the Watergate scandal during the mid-1970s. Later, Robinson was editor of the National Law Journal in New York City.

Samford University and The Washington Post established the Timothy Sumner Robinson Forum to bring national-known speakers to Samford each year. The program honors Robinson.

Past speakers include: David Broder (2006), Leonard Downie Jr. (2007), Eugene Robinson (2008), and Jason Reid (2011).

About Samford's department of journalism and mass communication (JMC)

The JMC program at Samford University offers tracks in print journalism, broadcast and electronic journalism, public relations and advertising. The department also houses a film production minor and offers courses in visual communication. A unique combination of a liberal studies education and professional training in journalism and mass communication provides students with almost limitless career options.
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.