Susanna Granieri is a reporter at First Amendment Watch, a project of New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She's a recent graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Before joining First Amendment Watch, she was an Immersion Fellow at the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting where she investigated the use of faulty forensic science and its effects on death penalty convictions. She's previously reported on politics, policy and legislation for the Legislative Gazette, an Albany-based newspaper. She is a contributor for Delaware Currents, an environmental publication focused on the Delaware River; and Being Patient, an online publication focused on Alzheimer's, dementia and brain health.

Author Amy Werbel on the Parallels Between the Comstock Era and Modern-Day Censorship

First Amendment Watch spoke with Amy Werbel, art history professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology and author of “Lust on Trial: Censorship and the Rise of American Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock.” Werbel described the parallels between Comstock’s crackdown on obscenity and modern-day censorship. She expressed concerns over the threats of librarian prosecution, the importance of children’s access to reading materials, and warned of the potential impacts of such legislation on civil liberties.

Attorney Mike Laux on Challenging the ‘Indoctrination’ Provision in Arkansas

First Amendment Watch spoke with civil rights attorney Mike Laux, who is representing the plaintiffs challenging the 'indoctrination' provision of the state's LEARNS Act. Laux described the parallels between the historical Little Rock Nine and the state’s recent actions to allegedly diminish the AP African American Studies course, the content and viewpoint-based restrictions he says are embedded in the bill, and the importance of an inclusive education.

Could Defamation Law Combat the Spread of Political Disinformation?

Attorneys Michael Gottlieb and Meryl Governski represented former Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss in their defamation suit against Donald Trump’s former campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani — who was ordered by a jury to pay $148,169,000 in damages in December. First Amendment Watch spoke with Gottlieb and Governski about political disinformation, the impact of social media, and the hope that large damage awards will deter future bad actors.

George Freeman on Trump’s Defamation Lawsuit Against ABC, Stephanopoulos

First Amendment Watch spoke with George Freeman, executive director of the Media Law Resource Center and former assistant general counsel of The New York Times, about Trump's defamation lawsuit against ABC, ABC News and host George Stephanopoulos. Freeman noted how this suit is different from others filed by the former president against the press and discussed the legal hurdles posed by Trump’s reputation of making derogatory remarks about women.

Vanderbilt’s Jacob Mchangama on the First Amendment Implications of Generative AI

First Amendment Watch spoke with Jacob Mchangama, the founder and executive director of The Future of Free Speech at Vanderbilt University, about artificial intelligence and his latest piece in TIME magazine, “The Future of Censorship Is AI-Generated.” Mchangama discussed how defamation cases may arise from generative AI, his concerns over government involvement in censoring certain AI-generated content, and the importance of skepticism when using AI and evaluating its capabilities.

College Student Jack Sweeney on His Efforts to Track Taylor Swift’s Private Jet

University of Central Florida student Jack Sweeney is known for tracking celebrity private jets, but over the past few months, his tracking of pop megastar Taylor Swift’s jet has sparked a dispute with Swift’s legal team, which claims that his public sharing of her location puts her personal safety at risk. First Amendment Watch spoke with Sweeney about the dispute. He discussed how jet tracking works, the importance of transparency, and his hope that his projects could make this information more accessible.

Attorney Mark Rasch on the Indictment of Freelance Journalist Tim Burke

First Amendment Watch spoke with Burke’s attorney, Mark Rasch, who has decades of experience in litigation involving computer crimes, data security and electronic privacy law. Rasch outlined the charges against Burke, discussed the DOJ’s department policy guidelines protecting journalists, and expressed concern over how questions regarding Burke’s status as a journalist could lead to a broader erosion of press freedom in the United States.

The Knight Institute’s Alex Abdo on ‘Jawboning’ Social Media Case Before the Supreme Court

First Amendment Watch spoke with Alex Abdo, litigation director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which filed an amicus brief on behalf of neither party in Murthy v. Missouri. Abdo discussed the importance of the social media cases before the court this term, the need for clarity on the constitutional line between persuasion and coercion, and expressed his belief that it’s important for the government to have the opportunity to express its own views to social media platforms that have the power to shape public opinion.

NetChoice’s Chris Marchese on Fighting Against Social Media Restrictions

First Amendment Watch spoke with Chris Marchese, director of NetChoice's Litigation Center, last month about the group’s efforts to stave off attempts by the government to censor and limit access to certain speech and expression online. Marchese discussed the First Amendment rights of private social platforms to curate content, the comparison between social platforms’ and traditional media companies’ right to publish information, and the constitutional issues with online safety laws aimed at protecting minors.

Donald Sherman of CREW on Challenging Trump’s Candidacy Under the Insurrection Clause

First Amendment Watch spoke with Donald Sherman, the executive vice president and chief counsel at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the nonprofit organization that filed the novel challenge to former President Trump's candidacy. Sherman discussed his organization’s challenge, in which he reflected on the Supreme Court’s oral arguments, expressed the importance of the court system to consider constitutional violations, no matter how novel, and warned of the effects on democracy if Trump is not held accountable.

Attorney Joshua Matz on E. Jean Carroll’s Legal Victory Against Donald Trump

In an interview with First Amendment Watch, E. Jean Carroll’s attorney, Joshua Matz, who worked on her legal team throughout both proceedings, discussed the competing legal strategies behind the case, the effect of Trump’s presence on the proceedings, and the hope that Carroll’s fight to hold Trump accountable shows other sexual assault survivors that they, too, might seek justice.

Press Freedom Advocate Caitlin Vogus on the Importance of the PRESS Act

In an interview with First Amendment Watch, Caitlin Vogus, deputy director of advocacy at Freedom of the Press Foundation, which maintains the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker and has been campaigning on behalf of the bill, discusses the importance of the PRESS Act and its proposed protections and explains the urgency in getting a federal law passed protecting journalists before this upcoming election.

ACLU’s David Cole on the Decision to Represent the NRA Before the Supreme Court

In an interview with First Amendment Watch, ACLU Legal Director David Cole, who will argue the NRA’s case in front of the Supreme Court, said that despite the pushback the national organization received from its state-based chapters, it vows to protect free speech rights of those with whom they may disagree. Cole warned of the sweeping consequences a decision against the NRA could have for other advocacy organizations, including those protecting women’s and trans rights, and noted that a decision against the NRA could give former President Donald Trump a “powerful tool” to punish his opponents if he returns to the Oval Office.

FIRE’s Will Creeley on Campus Speech Controversies Amid Israel-Hamas War

In an interview with First Amendment Watch, First Amendment expert Will Creeley, legal director at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), discussed the issues of law and ethics behind the controversy, outlined where the lines around protected speech on campus should be drawn, and argued that pushing unpopular or offensive speech underground could cause more harm than good.
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