Research Conversations with Assistant Professor Tori Ekstrand

Victoria "Tori" Smith Ekstrand teaches media law courses in the UNC School of Media and Journalism. Before coming to Carolina, she was an associate professor in the Bowling Green State University Department of Journalism and Public Relations and an affiliate faculty member of BGSU’s American Cultural Studies department.

Ekstrand’s research explores conflicts between copyright law and the First Amendment, particularly as they arise in journalism and social media. Her work is often grounded in critical legal theory, in which she examines the impact of law and policy on culture and media production. In this vein, she has begun investigating online accessibility for the disabled as a First Amendment issue. She has also written about legal protections for anonymous speech online.

Ekstrand is an expert on the hot news doctrine, a part of unfair competition law that protects the facts of news for a short period. Her revised book on the subject, "Hot News in the Age of Big Data: A Legal History of the Hot News Doctrine and Implications for the Digital Age (LFB Scholarly)," looks at the history of the doctrine and its impact on protections for discrete bits of information in the age of big data.

She has published articles in Journalism and Mass Communications Quarterly, Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal and Communication Law & Policy. She has worked with the Ohio State Bar Association on the publication of their Media Law Handbook. In 2008, she was awarded BGSU’s Outstanding Young Scholar Award, and in 2009, she was named a Scholar in Residence at BGSU’s Institute for Culture & Society. She is currently serving as Communications Director for the UNC Center for Media Law & Policy.

Before teaching, Ekstrand worked for The Associated Press in their New York headquarters for nearly a decade. She served as AP’s director of corporate communications, responsible for marketing, public relations and events for the worldwide news agency.

Check out more Research Conversations at mj.unc.edu/ResearchConversations.