Jonathan Peters

Assistant Professor
Primary office:
Stauffer-Flint Hall, room 205D

Jonathan Peters is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Kansas, where he specializes in First Amendment law and media policy. He holds affiliate research positions exploring Internet/content governance and digital privacy, respectively, in the KU Information & Telecommunication Technology Center and the KU Surveillance Studies Research Center. Peters is an attorney and the press freedom correspondent for the Columbia Journalism Review, and previously he blogged about free expression for the Harvard Law & Policy Review. He has written about legal issues for Esquire, The Atlantic, Slate, Wired, The Nation and PBS. He also has written about the NHL for Sports Illustrated.  

In his research, Peters uses a global legal-historical lens to examine issues at the intersection of new media and the law—from the balance of national security and free expression in the era of megaleaks, to the definition of a journalist in the digital age, to the privacy protections available to journalists who store data in the cloud. His current research explores how private Internet companies are writing a major chapter in the story of free expression by setting and enforcing their own content rules and community guidelines. 

Peters is the First Amendment chair of the American Bar Association’s Civil Rights Litigation Committee, and he is the teaching chair of the Law and Policy Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Peters also serves on the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists, and he is a volunteer attorney for the Student Press Law Center and the ACLU, specializing in First Amendment cases. And, most importantly, he has a puppy named Brooks, who is the greatest puppy ever.

Academic Degrees

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


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


Jonathan Peters, “The ‘Sovereigns of Cyberspace’ and State Action: The First Amendment’s Application (or Lack Thereof) to Third-Party Platforms,” 32 Berkeley Technology Law Journal __ (2017) (in press).

Jonathan Peters, Genelle Belmas, and Peter Bobkowski, “A Paper Shield? Whether State Privilege Protections Apply to Student Journalists,” 27 Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal __ (2017) (in press).

Jonathan Peters and Breanna McCarthy, “Student Journalists v. School Administrators: A Structured Way to Resolve Editorial Disputes,” 15 First Amendment Law Review __ (2017) (in press).

Jonathan Peters and Brett Johnson, “Conceptualizing Private Governance in a Networked Society,” 18 North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology 17 (2016).

Jonathan Peters, “Considering and Constraining the Power of Content Hosts,” in Ethics for a Digital Age (Bastiaan Vanacker and Don Heider, eds., Peter Lang 2015).

Jonathan Peters, “Institutionalizing Press Relations at the Supreme Court: The Origins of the Public Information Office,” 79 Missouri Law Review 985 (2014).

Edson C. Tandoc, Jr., and Jonathan Peters, “One Journalist, Two Roles: What Happens When Journalists Also Work as Media Coordinators?” 15(1) Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism 324 (2014).

Jonathan Peters, “All the News That's Fit to Leak,” in Transparency 2.0: Digital Data and Privacy in a Wired World (Charles N. Davis and David Cuillier, eds., Peter Lang 2014).

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,” 2013 N.Y.U. Journal of Legislation & Public Policy 34 (Online),

Jonathan Peters and Charles N. Davis, “When Open Government and Academic Freedom Collide,” 12 First Amendment Law Review 295 (2013).

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, the First Amendment, and the Press,” 2011 Harvard Law & Policy Review 1 (Online),