• Lee E. Teitelbaum Chair, College Of Law
  • University Distinguished Professor, Law
  • Affiliated Fellow, Yale Law School Information Society Project
  • Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University 2023-24
  • Professor, College Of Law - Dean

Research Summary

Professor RonNell Andersen Jones researches the intersection between media and the courts and the role of a free press in a democracy. Her scholarship addresses issues of press access, defamation actions against the media, journalism as a check on government, and public discourse on social media. Her scholarship has appeared in numerous books and journals, including Northwestern Law Review, Michigan Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Washington University Law Review, and the Harvard Law Review Forum.


Professor RonNell Andersen Jones is a University Distinguished Professor and the Lee E. Teitelbaum Chair in Law at the University of Utah. She is an Affiliated Fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project. For the 2023-24 academic year, she is a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

A former newspaper reporter and editor, Professor Andersen Jones is a First Amendment scholar who researches and writes on legal issues affecting the press and on the intersection between media and the courts, with an emphasis on the United States Supreme Court. Her work is particularly concerned with the role of the press in American democracy and the underdeveloped doctrines for identifying and safeguarding constitutionally protectable press functions in a changing media and political landscape. She is a widely cited national expert on newsgathering rights and commenter on the free-speech dynamics in social media discourse. Her scholarly work on questions of press access, the constitutional protections in media defamation suits, and the role of the press as a check on government has appeared in dozens of books and journals, including Northwestern Law Review, Michigan Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, and the Harvard Law Review Forum.

Professor Andersen Jones is an elected member of the American Law Institute and an advisor to the ALI’s Third Restatement of Torts: Defamation and Privacy. She has twice served as chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Communication, Media & Information Law. She sits on the editorial board of two major communications journals and is the recipient of a number of scholarly awards, including the 2022 Harry W. Stonecipher Award for Distinguished Research on Media Law and Policy, the 2021 Presidential Societal Impact Scholar Award, and the 2018 S.J. Quinney Excellence in Research Award.

Professor Andersen Jones is also a frequent public commentator on press freedom issues. Her op-eds and other writing for popular audiences have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, NBC, CNN, and The Hill. She regularly provides legal analysis on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House and has appeared on CNN, NBC News, the PBS NewsHour, The Problem with Jon Stewart, NewsNation, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Public Radio International, the BBC, and Voice of America. She is routinely quoted on media-law and First Amendment matters in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, and her comments and research have also been featured in The Guardian, Slate, Vanity Fair, the Associated Press, Rolling StoneTime, Politico, The Columbia Journalism Review, Bloomberg News, New York Magazine, The National Law Journal, Fortune, The Financial TimesNewsweek, Detroit News, SCOTUSBlog, and Politifact, along with the largest media outlets in Australia, Canada, Korea, and Japan.

Professor Andersen Jones graduated first in her law school class and clerked for the Honorable William A. Fletcher on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the United States Supreme Court. Prior to entering academia, she was an attorney in the Issues & Appeals section of Jones Day, where her work focused on Supreme Court litigation and included major constitutional cases.

An award-winning teacher, Professor Andersen Jones has been widely recognized for her classroom innovations and personal mentoring. In 2021, her First Amendment seminar was the subject of a feature in The New Yorker. In 2022, she received the Peter W. Billings Excellence in Teaching Award. Before joining the faculty at the University of Utah, she was Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Research at Brigham Young University, where she was twice named Professor of the Year and received the alumni teaching award. Before that, she was a Distinguished Faculty Fellow at the University of Arizona, where she team-taught an annual course about the United States Supreme Court with Justice O’Connor.


Media Highlights


The E. Jean Carroll verdict exposes the limits of libel law, op-ed, The New York Times, Jan. 28, 2024

New questions about Trump’s finances after $83.3 million verdict, Deadline White House, MSNBC, Jan. 29, 2024

Defamation defeat a double-edged sword for Trump, BBC, Jan. 26, 2024

Defiant Trump takes legal risk on stand in New York defamation trial, BBC, Jan. 26, 2024

Fox Corp. must face Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion defamation suit, Deadline White House, MSNBC, Jan. 25, 2024

Trump testifies in E. Jean Carroll defamation case, BBC, Jan. 25, 2024

Carroll returns to witness stand without Trump in court, Deadline White House, MSNBC, Jan. 18, 2024

Second defamation trial brought by E. Jean Carroll against Donald Trump begins, Deadline White House, MSNBC, Jan. 16, 2024

Trump calls special counsel’s motion “illegal” and an “attempt to take away my First Amendment rights,” Deadline: White House, MSNBC, Dec. 28, 2023

The unsettling truth at the heart of the Giuliani case, The New York Times, Dec. 23, 2023

Giuliani verdict lays bear limits of defamation law, The Guardian, Dec. 17, 2023

Jury awards Ruby Freeman & Shaye Moss nearly $150 million, Deadline: White House, MSNBC, Dec. 15, 2023

Dominion wins access to Newsmax journalists’ text in its defamation case, NBC News, Dec. 8, 2023

Voting companies go to court over 2020 election claims as Trump returns to the ballot, NBC News, Dec. 7, 2023

In and Out of the Courtroom, O’Connor Inspired a Generation of Women, The New York Times, Dec. 2, 2023

Cameras in the Courtroom Debate Has Trump and His Journalist Adversaries in an Unlikely Alliance—and an Uphill Battle, The Messenger, Dec. 4, 2023

Remembering Sandra Day O’Connor, Slate Amicus Podcast, Dec. 2, 2023

Sandra Day O’Connor, pathbreaking woman on the Supreme Court, dies at 93, The Washington Post, Dec. 1, 2023

Trump and media want a televised trial in D.C..The Justice Dept. doesn’t, The Washington Post, Nov. 4, 2023

Jack Smith urges judge to reimpose Trump gag orders, Deadline: White House, MSNBC, Oct. 26, 2023

Trump tests limits of gag order in election case, Deadline: White House, MSNBC, Oct. 17, 2023

Mommy Vlogger Ruby Franke’s Child Abuse Case Could Take Years, Experts Say, Rolling Stone, Sept. 27, 2023

NYC pension funds sue Fox News over election falsehoods, Deadline: White House, MSNBC, Sept. 13, 2023

Authorities to return materials seized from Kansas newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2023

The case that could be Fox’s next Dominion, The New York Times, July 10, 2023

Guiliani concedes he made false claims about Georgia election workers, Deadline: White House, MSNBC, July 26, 2023

DOJ reverses course on E. Jean Carroll case, Deadline: White House, MSNBC, July 12, 2023

DOJ will not defend Trump in E. Jean Carroll case, Deadline: White House, MSNBC, July 13, 2023

Could lawsuits meant to curb disinformation hurt press freedom? Is That a Fact News Literacy Project Podcast, June 2023

Lessons from the Fox-Dominion settlement as the network looks ahead to other suits, Ayman Mohyeldin Reports, MSNBC (April 22, 2023)

Will the Dominion lawsuit change Fox News? The Economist (April 21, 2023)

Fox News’s next big problem: Smartmatic, The Washington Post (April 19, 2023)

Defamation cases related to the 2020 election could help stop future election lies, National Public Radio All Things Considered, (April 19, 2023)

Murdoch, Dominion, and Crikey, Law Report, Australian Broadcasting Company (April 19, 2023)

Fox will pay $787.5 million to settle defamation suit, The New York Times (April 18, 2023)

Dominion and Fox News settle for $787.5 million, Deadline White House with Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC (April 18, 2023)

Fox settles defamation suit brought by voting machine company, BBC News live (April 18, 2023)

Fox News reaches $787.5 million settlement in Dominion’s defamation lawsuit, Politico (April 18, 2023)

Dominion and Fox reach $787.5 million settlement in defamation suit, NBC News (April 18, 2023)

Fox News v. Dominion: blockbuster case set for courtroom, The Hill (April 18, 2023)

‘Dominion wins but the public loses’: Fox settlement avoids paying the highest price, The Guardian (April 18, 2023)

The key question at the Fox News defamation trial: Literally, what were they thinking, Politico (April 18, 2023)

How badly could the Dominion suit hurt Fox News? CBS News (April 18, 2023)

Dominion-Fox News trial tests First Amendment rule, NewsNation Live (April 18, 2023)

Dominion’s $1.6bn trial against Fox News over election lies delayed, The Guardian (April 18, 2023)

Sudden Delay In Fox Trial Sparks Talk Of Possible Settlement, CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront (April 17, 2023)

Fox News-Dominion trial abruptly delayed on the eve of opening statements, CNN (April 17, 2023)

Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News: What to know before the trial, Politifact (April 17, 2023)

Major defamation suit underway against Fox News, BBC Radio (April 17, 2023)

Judge delays Dominion and Fox News trial amid reports of settlement talks, The Guardian (April 17, 2023)

Fox News, Dominion Defamation Trial Delayed Amid Network’s Push to Settle, The Wall Street Journal (April 17, 2023)

Fox News to defend its on-air lies as blockbuster Dominion trial to kick off, The Guardian (April 17, 2023)

Judge delays trial over Fox News and 2020 election lies, The Associated Press (April 16, 2023)

A ‘60s magazine election hit job is a warning for Fox News v. Dominion, The Washington Post (April 16, 2023)

Start of trial in Dominion lawsuit against Fox news is delayed, NBC News (April 16, 2023)

A new American pastime: sports defamation suits, Law360 (April 14, 2023)

Judge sanctions Fox News for withholding evidence, Deadline White House with Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC (April 12, 2023)

What to know about the Fox-Dominion defamation trial, Time (April 11, 2023)

Pretrial motions set the stage for Fox-Dominion suit, Deadline White House with Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC (April 11, 2023)

Fox Corp. settles 2020 election lawsuit as Dominion defamation case heads to trial, NBC News (April 10, 2023)

Is Donald Trump going to be hit with a gag order? Slate (April 4, 2023)

Fox News suffers major setback in defamation case, The New York Times (March 31, 2023)

Judge undercuts key Fox News defense as he sends Dominion suit to trial, Washington Post (March 31, 2023)

Judge doesn’t seem convinced by Fox News’ arguments in the Dominion lawsuit, Vanity Fair (March 22, 2023)

ChatGPT libeled me. Can I sue? Wall Street Journal (March 16, 2023)

Next week: Pre-trial hearing in Dominion-Fox lawsuit, Deadline White House with Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC (March 16, 2023)

Is Fox News Really Doomed? New York Magazine (March 16, 2023)

Fox’s P.R. woes may not directly translate to legal ones, The New York Times (March 12, 2023) 

Fox News blacked out too much in court documents, say Dominion and media outlets, NBC News (March 10, 2023)

Will the lawsuit against Fox News burden other media outlets? KCRW’s Left Right & Center with former NPR host David Greene (March 10, 2023)

Fox News claims Dominion defamation suit is assault on First Amendment, Deadline White House with Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC (March 8, 2023)

New filing in Dominion defamation suit against Fox News, Deadline White House with Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC (March 8, 2023)

New exhibits revealed in Dominion suit against Fox News, Deadline White House with Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC News (March 7, 2023)

Dominion contacted Fox more than 3,600 times about false election claims, Deadline White House with Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC (March 3, 2023)

Fox News Defamation Case Tests Reach of Press Protections, The Wall Street Journal (March 2, 2023)

Stunning Rupert Murdoch deposition leaves Fox News in a world of trouble, The Guardian (Feb. 28, 2023)

“Dominion has uncovered smoking-gun evidence in case against Fox News, legal experts say,” CNN (Feb. 23, 2023)

Fox News Evidence Stuns Some Legal Experts,” The Washington Post (Feb. 23, 2023)

The Legal Case Against Fox News,” The Problem with Jon Stewart (Feb. 22, 2023)

"Fox Stars Privately Expressed Disbelief About Election Fraud Claims," The New York Times (Feb. 16, 2023)

"Sean Hannity’s journalistic pedigree tested in Dominion lawsuit against Fox News," Financial Times (Nov. 18, 2022)

“The Dangerous Consequences of Trump’s Doomed Defamation Threats” NBC (Oct. 8, 2022)

“The Truth Was Never the Point: the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial illustrates the dangerous potential of defamation suits” Slate (June 2, 2022)

“Depp trial exposes risks to media in airing #MeToo accusations” The New York Times (June 3, 2022)

“Supreme Court leak exposes gray area of press protections” The New York Times (May 8, 2022)

“Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s Infowars files for bankruptcy”, NBC (April 19, 2022)

“Effort to weaken press protections isn’t likely to end with Palin case” The New York Times (Feb. 17, 2022)

“Judge plans to dismiss Sarah Palin’s lawsuit against the Times”, The New York Times (Feb. 14, 2022)

“Sarah Palin Loses Twice to The New York Times” Bloomberg Radio (Feb. 19, 2022)

“Sarah Palin v. New York Times Spotlights Push to Loosen Libel Law” The New York Times (Jan. 23, 2022)

“Facebook ad ban may squelch medical research recruitment” Politico (Jan. 2, 2022)

“A New Anti-Trump Defamation Suit Shows One Way Forward Against the Big Lie” Slate (Nov. 3, 2021)

“A First Amendment Precedent” The New York Times (Aug. 18, 2021)

“The Case for Rethinking U.S. Libel Law” National Public Radio’s On Point (July 12, 2021)

“Will the Supreme Court reconsider a landmark defamation case?” ABA Journal (July 22, 2021)

“Supreme Court has changed tone on free speech, press protection” Detroit News (May 12, 2021)

“The Supreme Court’s Increasingly Dim View of the News Media” The New York Times (April 19, 2021)

“Dominion: Will one Canadian company bring down Trump’s empire of disinformation?” The Guardian (April 4, 2021)

“How anti-media rhetoric finds its way into judicial opinions” CNN (April 25, 2021)

“Fox News sued by Dominion in $1.6 billion defamation case that could set new guardrails for broadcasters” The Washington Post (March 26, 2021)

Relationship to the Truth, All the Presidents’ Lawyers, KCRW (March 31, 2021)

“Facebook political ad ban blocks vaccine messages” Politico, (Feb. 21, 2021)

“When Your Law School Homework is Stranger Than Fiction” The New Yorker (Feb. 15, 2021)

“Twitter Trump Ban Unprecedented and Renews Debate” The World Today, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Jan. 11, 2021)

“Big Tech, Speech, and the President of the United States” National Public Radio 1A (Jan. 13, 2021)

“Can Twitter Legally Bar Trump? The First Amendment Says Yes” The New York Times (Jan. 9, 202)

“Time’s Up is Refrain as Supreme Court Chafes at Remote Arguments” Bloomberg Law (Dec. 15, 2020)

“In the Pandemic, Student Free Speech Rights are More Important than Ever” Slate (Aug. 7, 2020)

“The Birth of a Militia: How an armed group polices Black Lives Matter protests” The Guardian (July 27, 2020)

“Pandemic proves Justice Thomas does have something to say” The Hill (May 7, 2020)

"Trump campaign sues Washington Post over opinion columns asserting link to Russian election interference," The Washington Post (March 3, 2020)

"Roberts declares himself First Amendment's most aggressive defender at SCOTUS" National Law Journal (February 2019)

"Trump's attorney suggests he may sue the New York Times. Don't bet on it," The Washington Post (Oct. 3, 2018)

"One Thing Donald Trump Would Like is Freedom from the Press," The New York Times (Mar. 15, 2018)

"First Amendment in the Digital Age," National Press Club (April 16, 2018)

"What Motivates Voters More Than Loyalty? Loathing," The New York Times (Mar. 1, 2018)

"Trump Administration threatens freedom of the press in new leaks crackdown," Newsweek (Aug. 5, 2017)

"Don't Expect the First Amendment to Protect the Media," New York Times (Jan. 25, 2017)

"The media's definition of fake news vs. Donald Trump's," Politifact (Oct. 18, 2017)

Cakes, Conscience, and Equality, RadioWest (Dec. 6, 2017)

Value your constitutional rights? Thank a journalist. CNN (November 22, 2017)

"Bellweather cases and the state of SCOTUS," Radiowest (Oct. 1, 2018)

First Monday at the Supreme Court, Radiowest (October 2, 2017)


Examining SCOTUS Nominee Neil Gorsuch, Radiowest (February 2, 2017)