Press Release
January 30, 2017

National Press Photographers Association Honors Holland & Knight Lawyers for Helping to Launch Drone Journalism

WASHINGTON (January 30, 2017) – Holland & Knight attorneys Charles Tobin, Joel Roberson and Christine Walz have been named this year’s recipients of the National Press Photographers Association’s (NPPA) Alicia Calzada First Amendment Award for helping to launch drone journalism in the United States. This annual award recognizes those who have worked to advance the First Amendment, especially as it pertains to news photographers.

Mr. Tobin, Mr. Roberson and Ms. Walz lead the Holland & Knight Drone Law Team, which has represented NPPA before Congress, the White House and the administration to protect First Amendment rights for drone newsgathering. Under the firm’s leadership, NPPA, along with a coalition of more than 20 of the nation’s preeminent broadcast, print and online news media organizations, has submitted written comments and worked with officials at every federal agency involved in emerging drone regulation and policy, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Holland & Knight also contracted with the FAA test site at Virginia Tech to develop the nation’s first news drone training program that put journalists at the controls under the instruction of pilots to simulate real-life newsgathering events and develop best practices for safe drone newsgathering.

“Chuck, Joel and Christine, and their firm, have worked tirelessly on drone issues, often representing NPPA on a pro bono basis,” said Mickey H. Osterreicher, NPPA general counsel. “It has been a great privilege to work with them and the firm. They are truly legal pioneers in this field. Their staunch advocacy of the legal use of drones for newsgathering is greatly appreciated by NPPA and respected throughout the legal and journalism communities.”

“We are honored to receive this award, and we applaud NPPA’s mission of vigorously promoting freedom of the press in all forms,” said Mr. Tobin. “We are grateful to work with NPPA and news outlets to make sure First Amendment rights are at the forefront whenever the government considers regulating aerial journalism.”

The award is named after NPPA past president Alicia Wagner Calzada, the founder and longtime chair of NPPA’s Advocacy Committee.

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