Nicholas Johnson Activities Reports
Many of the following items are from a twice-a-year ("Spring/Summer"
and "Fall/Winter") publication of the University of Iowa College of Law,
the Iowa Advocate, distributed to alumni and friends of the Law
School. [Address: Iowa Advocate, College of Law, University of Iowa, Iowa
City IA 52244-1113 USA.] Each issue contains a section reporting activities
of faculty members called "Faculty Notes." The following items (in reverse
chronological order -- most recent first) report a sampling of the activities
of Nicholas Johnson. [Last updated February 12, 2012.]
NICHOLAS JOHNSON published selected student research papers from his Cyberspace Law Seminar as the book, Virtualosity: Eight Students in Search of Cyberlaw; a text, What Do You Mean and How Do You Know? for a UI first year seminar he volunteered to teach; a chapter on censorship in Making the Invisible Visible; “Carterphone: My Story” in the Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Law Journal; “Opinions and Personality: Brown on the Law” in the Houston Law Journal; 13 newspaper columns; and 140 additional blog essays in FromDC2Iowa.blogspot.com. Subjects of the columns and blog entries ranged from such topics as K-12 and higher education, to Afghanistan and Iraq, bicycles, BP’s oil spill, broadband policy, economic development, guns, healthcare, journalism, judicial retention, nuclear power, public radio, public records, Super Bowl, Wikileaks, and workplace safety.
His paper, “The Broadband Challenge: Consumer Protection in a Deregulated Digital Age,” was presented to the Iowa Department of Economic Development’s Telecommunications Sector Committee, on which he served. He co-authored with Shinji Uozumi, “Moto FCC lin-karano Message,” and was subsequently invited to lecture at four Japanese universities on the proposed “Japan FCC.” He spoke on "The Present and Future of FCC Reform" at the Public Knowledge Conference in Washington, D.C. (“An FCC for the Internet Age: Reform and Standard-Setting”); to the Institute for General Semantics Conference in New York on "Was It Something I Said? General Semantics, the Outspoken Seven, and the Unacceptable Remark;" and at a couple of Iowa City events. He was interviewed on one TV and three radio programs. And he played the role of “Richard” in the local, Combined Efforts Theatre production of “Love at the County Fair.”
response to students’ requests, he taught a new course in Sports Law during
the spring semester, 2011. In the fall he will teach another newly revised
course, Cyber and Electronic Law. His main Web site is www.nicholasjohnson.org.
[Note: This (unplublished) entry was created and posted here as a catch up effort to record at least some of the activities during the period from October 2009 through May 2011.]
Publications and Presentations
The student research papers from the Cyberspace Law Seminar, Spring 2009, were edited, collected and published as a book: Virtualosity: Eight Students in Search of Cyberlaw (2009).
The book, What Do You Mean and How Do You Know (2009) was prepared and published as a text for the "First Year Seminar" in General Semantics, Fall Semester 2009.
The book chapter, "Censorship From State to Self," was published in Richard Farson, ed., Making the Invisible Visible (2009).
The Houston Law Review published "Opinions and Personality: Brown on the Law," in its Fall 2010 issue (an article originally shared at a March 1 gathering of former Judge John R. Brown law clerks commemorating what would have been the judge's 100th birthday).
Johnson lectured at four Japanese universities in July 2010 on the administrative and communications law issues relevant to the Japanese government's reconsideration of its media regulation. In January his article, co-authored with Shinji Uozumi, "Moto FCC Iin-karano Message," was published in the Japanese Media Research publication, Ho-So Report. (Papers available in "Recent Publications.")
He spoke on "The Present and Future of FCC Reform" at the Public Knowledge Conference, An FCC for the Internet Age: Reform and Standard-Setting, Washington, D.C., March 5 and 6, 2010.
"Was It Something I Said? General Semantics, the Outspoken Seven, and the Unacceptable Remark" was the title of an address to the Institute for General Semantics Conference, New York City, October 30, 2010.
"The Broadband Challenge: Consumer Protection in a Deregulated Digital Age," February 2010, was prepared for and presented to the Iowa Department of Economic Development's Telecommunications Sector Committee, and referenced it its report, Infrastructure Plan for Iowa's Future Economy: A Strategic Direction," May 2010.
Issues addressed in published columns included:
courts ("The Conservative Case for Judicial Retention," October 17, 2010);Radio interviews:
education ("School Board Has Work to Do," November 2, 2009; "What Happens if UI Were to Lose its Monopoly on Certification?", February 20, 2010);
labor and economics ("Honor Workers Every Day," September 6, 2010; "Making 'Shop Locally' a Meaningful Suggestion," December 3, 2010; "Branstad and Public Transparency," January 5, 2011; "TIF Helps the Rich Get Richer," April 25, 2011);
media and communications ("Much at Stake for Iowa in FCC Broadband Plan," March 24, 2010; "NPR Botched its Firing of Juan Williams," October 27, 2010; "The Commercialization of Non-Commercial Radio," November 17, 2010);
public health ("Dear Mr. President," March 25, 2010).
"Broadband Expansion" was the subject of an interview on Ben Kieffer's "The Exchange" program on Iowa Public Radio, April 5, 2010.
As a guest on the KCRG-TV program "Ethical Perspectives on the News," Johnson spoke on "Corporate Free Speech" (the Citizens United case), first broadcast April 5, 2010.
"Whatever Happened to the 1934 Communications Act?" was the subject of an interview on "Media Talk," May 13, 2010.
"Net Neutrality" was the subject of his interview on "The Michele Tafoya Show," WCCO-AM, Minneapolis, December 21, 2010.
At the request of UI Provost Wallace Loh, Johnson volunteered to teach a "First Year Seminar" during the Fall Semester, 2009.
Law of Electronic Media was taught during the Fall Semester 2009 and 2010. Cyberspace Law Seminar was taught during the Spring Semester 2010.
During the Fall Semester 2010 two students from the Law of Electronic Media organized a "Sports Law Society" for UI law students, and then requested the Administration create a course in "Sports Law" which was taught for the first time by Johnson during the Spring Semester 2011.
Most semesters Johnson
provides one-on-one supervision for at least one one, and usually more,
students doing independent research for academic and writing credit.
University and Community Service
From December 2009 through February 2009 Johnson attended a number of meetings in the Des Moines area, and wrote material for, the Telecommunications Sector Committee, Infrastructure Planning Task Force, Iowa Department of Economic Development (2009-10).
The University of Iowa's "First Year Seminar" program is designed to provide entering undergraduates with the experience of a small (20 students) class with a professor (in contrast with large, first year lecture hall classes in which the students primarily interact with teaching assistants). The professors are expected to volunteer for this assignment without additional pay. Johnson volunteered to teach such a class during the Fall Semester 2009.
He accepted the invitation to participate as a guest on the first television program ("The World's Our Stage: Why Internationalization") in what was to be the UI International Program's series at Prairie Lights Books, "Prairie InSights," and spoke on "Media and the Internet: The Ultimate Internationalization," January 28, 2010.
Later that evening he spoke by invitation (from Communications Studies Professor Emeritus, Sam Becker) to the residents of the Oaknoll retirement community on "The Current State of Radio and Television."
He volunteered to
play the role of Richard in "Love at the County Fair," a production of
Efforts Theatre (presenting performers of all ages with and without
special needs from Iowa City and surrounding communities), July 30 and
From October 21, 2009, through May 17, 2011, there were 140 essays (blog entries) in Johnson's blog, FromDC2Iowa, dealing with (as the name suggests) primarily a variety of public policy issues in Iowa City, the University of Iowa, the state of Iowa, the nation and the world. The titles, and links to the text, of each can be found at http://www.nicholasjohnson.org/BlogStuf/Blog Index.xls.
[Note: The last time that Nicholas Johnson's activities reports were published in the Iowa Advocate was the Summer 2006 issue, below. Thus the entries for Spring 2008, Winter 2008-2009, and Spring 2009, below, were not. Much of what was contained within these submissions is, however, included in the Summer 2009 issue of the Iowa Advocate, reproduced here (thus creating some repetition from prior, unpublished, entries here). The three-year lapse was, in substantial part, because of a suspension in the publication of the magazine. As a result some of the current report refers to events from 2008.]
NICHOLAS JOHNSON recently published two books. Our Second Priority discusses mass media issues and reform, from explanations of the American system for foreign governments to analyses of journalistic ethics. Are We There Yet deals with issues of politics and governing, which he discussed during an hour-long interview on the Iowa Public Radio program "The Exchange." It includes some of his blog entries about the candidates and the [2007-08 presidential] primary.
His bi-partisan involvement in the primaries included conversations with Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, and Mike Huckabee, as well as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson (whom he introduced on one occasion), and Dennis Kucinich. He and his wife co-chaired their precinct caucus, following which he was asked to co-chair the Johnson County Democrats Convention (with Iowa City Mayor Reginia Bailey).
His continued participation in media reform includes the Iowans for Better Local Television group, and his presentation at the National Conference on Media Reform in Minneapolis.
In January 2009 he was asked to present, along with former FCC chairs Reed Hundt and Bill Kennard, at a lWashington, D.C., conference: "Reforming the Federal Communications' Commission," a joint project of Public Knowledge (www.publicknowledge.org) and the University of Colorado's Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship. The conference, and its continuing Web site, http://fcc-reform.org, are making recommendations to the Obama Administration.
Johnson keynoted the Santa Clara University High Tech Law Institute's celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Carterfone decision. As an FCC commissioner he authored this FCC decision, opening AT&T's formerly proprietary network to others' equipment -- ultimately including the modems that made Internet communication possible. His paper has been selected for publication in SCU's Computer and High Tech Law Journal.
Johnson was active in community efforts related to flood prevention and conservation. He served on the steering committee of "Our Land, Our Water, Our Future," the citizens' group that successfully promoted passage of a $20 million conservation bond. He created and maintained the Web site, "The Great Outdoors of Iowa" (or "GO Iowa"), with links to over 100 related organizations (http://resourcesforlife.org/goiowa). He was asked to make related Power Point presentations to the Johnson County Council of Governments, League of Women Voters, and FAIR.
Closer to home, Johnson participated in the University of Iowa's "Iowa River Tour" and is a member of the University's Faculty Engagement Corps. He also serves on the executive committee of the Melrose Neighborhood Association, which urged the upgrading of the law school neighborhood's BrookIand Park, as well as this year's celebration in the park.
At the law school's re-enactment of the Supreme Court's Pentagon Papers oral argument Johnson was asked to play the role of Justice Hugo L. Black, the justice for whom he clerked. Later he and his wife, Mary Vasey, attended a Washington reunion of the former Black clerks including a dinner at the Supteme Court building.
For the past thtee years much of his writing is contained on his Web site, http://www.nicholasjohnson.org, and blog, http://FromDC2Iowa.blogspot.com. The latter now contains over 600 essays on a wide variety of public policy issues (as well as many of his op ed newspaper columns). "So You Want to be a Lawyer: A Play in Four Acts" continues to receive hits from over 100 countries -- and produce requests for law school information -- as does "Random Thoughts About Law School Rankings."
Other subjects during a random cwo-weeks' sampling included, "Tell Me a Story" (the "Stories Project"), "Important Things in Politics" (lobbyists' funding), "Censoring Billionaires" (T. Boone Pickens' commercial), "City's Moral Compass is Spinning" (property tax revenue not valid basis for Wal-Mart store approval), "City Owned Hotels" (Cedar Rapids' Crowne Plaza), "It's Biden -- for 'Experience'?" (what's relevant "experience" for president?), "Abolish Bar Exams?" (critique of an op ed), "Jails: 'Overcrowding' Not the Issue," and "Solving Illegal Behavior Problems by Making It Legal" (lowering drinking age to i8).
In addition to the Stories Project op ed, "Flying Video Screens, Stories and Tourism," others included "Assessing Candidates 'Expetience,'" "Preserving for Our Grandchildren" (conservation and greenbelts), "Shed Light on Problem Behind Fighting; Adults' Decisions Increase Violence," "A $2.20 Gift to Our Great-grandchildren," and "Assessing the Presidential Picks: Qualities to Keep in Mind When Picking a President."
Nicholas Johnson’s law review article on the history of the Carterfone case has been accepted, sent to the publisher, and will appear in the next issue of the Computer & High Technology Law Journal.
His article, “Don’t Fear Fairness Doctrine,” was published by The Gazette, March 13, 2009.
The February 24 “The Exchange” program on Iowa Public Radio was devoted to an interview with him regarding his 2008 book, Your Second Priority.
And see, “Blog Entries,” below.
Work has begun on what will be the first published volume of his Cyberspace Law Seminar student seminar papers (beginning with this Spring Semester, 2009).
The seminar has continued to be a service to the University and its international community, as it included this semester two communications studies students from Korea, a law student from Moldova, and an additional communications studies student.
University and Community Service.
Nicholas Johnson, as a former FCC commissioner and academic, was asked to present, along with former FCC chairs Reed Hundt and Bill Kennard and a number of academics, on “Reforming the FCC” at a conference in Washington the first week of January. Recommendations from the conference were provided to the Obama Transition Team.
Johnson was asked to, and did, teach a session on “media law” for Professor Gigi Durham’s “Journalism Issues” class in the School of Journalism on March 30.
He has also responded to Provost Wallace Loh’s appeal and offered to teach a “First Year Seminar” next fall (without compensation) for a small group of the University’s entering class.
Nicholas Johnson served as a pro bono advisor (though not lawyer) for a proposed community radio station, KUBU-FM, that has now acquired its “construction permit” from the FCC.
Having served as a member of the Iowa City Community School District School Board (1998-2001), Johnson returned as a small group participant and reporter at a School-Board-sponsored community meeting on March 7 regarding school “boundaries” and the closing of Roosevelt Elementary School.
Nicholas Johnson continued as a resource for Iowa City’s “CIVIC” (Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities), and as a consultant and host for other international visitors, including meetings with Serbian journalist Baki Redzepi, Japanese scholar Shinji Uozumi (media studies and community broadcasting), and our law school scholars, such as Turkish Judge Bahadir Yakut (cybercrime and EU standards).
And he underwent the University’s CPR training program March 10.
Nicholas Johnson’s blog, FromDC2Iowa.blogspot.com, now contains nearly 650 entries since mid-2006 and, along with his Web site, www.nicholasjohnson.org, is regularly read by users around the country and the world.
Although not primarily intended as a law-only blog, most entries at least deal with public policy issues of one kind or another and many do deal with legal, and even law school, issues. Roughly 50 entries were added this semester. Here’s a sampling.
The “Random Thoughts on Law School Rankings” entry continues to be one of the most popular. “Iowa’s Civil Rights Leadership” discussed the gay marriage case, Varnum v. Brien. “Don’t Fear Fairness Doctrine” became a newspaper op ed. Three dealt with the Iowa City City Council’s termination of its City Manager, Michael Lombardo, that included an analysis of Iowa public records Section 22.7(11) (personnel records) impact on the Council’s ability to reveal its reasons for the dismissal.
“Reforming the FCC” dealt with an effort of the Obama Administration regarding improved process at Johnson’s old agency; “Why We Should ‘Point Fingers’ and ‘Look Backwards’” challenged the new President’s disinclination to explore Bush Administration abuses (“from the unwise to the unconstitutional”); and 20 or more entries offered economic approaches and remedies as well as commentary.
“Whither Newspapers” and “Of Newspapers and Nails” were a couple entries proposing ways to rejuvenate the newspaper industry. “Ethics in the Academy – and Its Media” addressed the issues surrounding JAMA’ s publication of the paper of a University of Iowa researcher alleged to have a potential conflict of interest.
Following the School District meeting there were three dealing with issues confronting the School Board: “Roosevelt: Valuing Our Schools,” “Demolition Disaster,” and “School Boundaries.”
These blog entries are certainly
not offered as examples of “academic research in a peer reviewed journal.”
But the blogosphere has taken on more significance for academics as well
as others and represents another channel of publication that can provide
a real service by the Iowa faculty to the people of Iowa and beyond.
Nicholas Johnson published two books, now in the law library. Your Second Priority discusses mass media issues and reform, from explanations of the American system for foreign governments to analyses of journalistic ethics. Are We There Yet? deals with issues of politics and governing, which he discussed during an hour-long interview on the Iowa Public Radio program "The Exchange." It includes some of his blog entries about the candidates and the primary.
His continued participation in media reform includes the Iowans for Better Local Television group, and his presentation at the National Conference on Media Reform in Minneapolis.
In January 2009 he was asked to present, along with former FCC chairs Reed Hundt and Bill Kennard, at a Washington, D.C., conference: “Reforming the Federal Communications Commission,” a joint project of Public Knowledge and the University of Colorado’s Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship. The conference, and its continuing Web site, http://fcc-reform.org, are making recommendations to the Obama Administration.
Johnson keynoted the Santa Clara University High Tech Law Institute’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Carterfone decision. As an FCC commissioner he authored this FCC decision, opening AT&T’s formerly proprietary network to others’ equipment -- ultimately including the modems that made Internet communication possible. His paper has been selected for publication in SCU’s Computer and High Tech Law Journal.
Johnson was active in community efforts related to flood prevention and conservation. He served on the steering committee of “Our Land, Our Water, Our Future,” the citizens’ group that successfully promoted passage of a $20 million conservation bond. He created and maintained the Web site, “The Great Outdoors of Iowa” (or “GO Iowa”), with links to over 100 related organizations (http://resourcesforlife.org/goiowa). He was asked to make related Power Point presentations to the Johnson County Council of Governments, League of Women Voters, and FAIR.
Closer to home, Johnson participated in the University of Iowa’s “Iowa River Tour” and is a member of the University’s Faculty Engagement Corps. He also serves on the executive committee of the Melrose Neighborhood Association, which urged the upgrading of the law school neighborhood’s Brookland Park, as well as this year's celebration in the park.
For the past three years much of his writing is contained on his Web site, http://www.nicholasjohnson.org, and blog, http://FromDC2Iowa.blogspot.com. The latter now contains over 600 essays on a wide variety of public policy issues (as well as many of his op ed newspaper columns). "So You Want to be a Lawyer: A Play in Four Acts" continues to receive hits from over 100 countries -- and produce requests for law school information – as does "Random Thoughts About Law School Rankings."
Other subjects during a random two-weeks’ sampling included, "Tell Me a Story" (the "Stories Project"), "Important Things in Politics" (lobbyists' funding), "Censoring Billionaires" (T. Boone Pickens' commercial), "City's Moral Compass is Spinning" (property tax revenue not valid basis for Wal-Mart store approval), "City Owned Hotels" (Cedar Rapids' Crowne Plaza), "It's Biden -- for 'Experience'?" (what's relevant "experience" for president?), "Abolish Bar Exams?" (critique of an op ed), "Jails: 'Overcrowding' Not the Issue," and "Solving Illegal Behavior Problems by Making It Legal" (lowering drinking age to 18).
In addition to the Stories
Project op ed, "Flying Video Screens, Stories and Tourism," others included
"Assessing Candidates 'Experience,'" "Preserving for Our Grandchildren"
(conservation and greenbelts), "Shed Light on Problem Behind Fighting;
Adults' Decisions Increase Violence," “A $2.20 Gift to Our Great-grandchildren,”
and "Assessing the Presidential Picks: Qualities to Keep in Mind When Picking
In January at the law school’s re-enactment of the Supreme Court’s Pentagon Papers oral argument Nicholas Johnson was asked to play the role of Justice Hugo L. Black, the justice for whom he clerked. Later he and his wife, Mary Vasey, attended a Washington reunion of the former Black clerks that included a dinner at the Supreme Court building.
His bi-partisan involvement in the presidential primary season in Iowa included conversations with Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, and Mike Huckabee, as well as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson (whom he introduced on one occasion), and Dennis Kucinich. He and his wife co-chaired their precinct caucus, following which he was asked to co-chair the Johnson County Democrats Convention (with Iowa City Mayor Reginia Bailey). His new book, Are We There Yet? Reflections on Politics in America, contains a sprinkling of contemporaneous blog entries from this time as well as his prior writing on a wide range of issues regarding government and politics. He was most recently an invited guest on the Iowa Public Radio program "The Exchange" for an hour-long interview about the book.
He has continued his participation in citizens' media reform efforts, including the Iowans for Better Local Television group, and was asked to, and did, make a presentation at this year's National Conference on Media Reform in Minneapolis. Earlier this year he published a revised edition of "Your Second Priority: A Former FCC Commissioner Speaks Out," a sampling of his writing on a range of media-related issues -- from explanations for foreign governments of the American system to analyses of journalistic ethics -- sprinkled with some of his more substantive and related recent blog entries.
He has been invited to keynote a California conference next month on the anniversary of the Carterphone case (an opinion he authored as an FCC commissioner that opened the telephone equipment market to competition).
Johnson has also weighed in on an unrelated subject this year: greenbelts, greenways, which has taken the form of an additional Web site "The Great Outdoors of Iowa" (or "GO Iowa"), his participation in the University's "Iowa River Tour," and his creative contributions and support as a steering committee member of "Our Land, Our Water, Our Future" (a citizens' group encouraging passage of a $20 million bond issue for additional land conservation in Johnson County).
Closer to home, Johnson serves on the executive committee of the Melrose Neighborhood Association, which was the moving force behind the recent upgrading of our "law school neighborhood" Brookland Park, as well as this year's celebration in the park. The Association represents the neighborhood in negotiations with the City and the University.
[Note: Each of the items mentioned here is available in full text somewhere on this site. Start with "Recent Publications."]
Nicholas Johnson was one of the broadcasting leaders asked to contribute to Broadcasting & Cable's 75th Anniversary Special Edition with "One Step Beyond." Also included, among others: Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams, Ted Koppel, CBS president Leslie Moonves and Newton Minow.
He urged that "Voters Should Boycott Moneyed Candidates" on Iowa Public Radio's "Talk of Iowa," and was asked to introduce Iowa Representative, and candiate for governor, Ed Fallon, at an Iowa City rally.
In an earlier "Talk of Iowa" program he explained the difficulty in evaluating "domestic spying" without knowing what technology is used ("Technology's Role in Domestic Spying"). In a Daily Iowan op ed, "The Politics of Domestic Spying," he addressed the implications of abusive uses of such technology in elections.
His two guest appearances on Iowa City cable ("Live and Local") involved "Telecom and Local Access" and "Network Neutrality."
Following controversy regarding a West High (Iowa City) fundraising event to aid the tornado-damaged St. Patrick's Church, he was invited to, and did write an explanatory "First Amendment: Freedom For Religion" op ed for the Iowa City Press-Citizen. (He had earlier uploaded a Web site with text and photos of the city's tornado damage.)
His publications have involved economic as well as legal analysis. With controversy surrounding benefits from the "Iowa Values Fund," he published an analysis as a Des Moines Register op ed ("Values Fund May Not be So Valuable for Taxpayers"). He argued in the Daily Iowan that for the Unversity of Iowa to contribute to skyrocketing salaries for university presidents might be both unnecessary and send the wrong message ("Pricey Presidents' Added Cost"). When Johnson County Sheriff Lonnie Pulkrabek came under fire for suggesting alternatives to more jails, Johnson offered some economic analysis by way of defense in the Press-Citizen ("Shooting Our Messengers").
He has continued to monitor the $180 million rain forest project with his massive Web site and publications. The law school's Environmental Law Society asked him to speak in January ("Can't See the Forest: Lessons from a $180 Million Terrarium"). He published a number of pieces regarding "what works" in economic development generally, and attractions in particular ("Time to Learn from 'What Works,'" Press-Citizen; "Rain Forest Lessons," Des Moines Cityview; "Rainforest Project Requires Focus," Dubuque Telegraph Herald).
His students' Cyberspace Law Seminar papers are available from www.nicholasjohnson.org, which continues to receive hits from users in 154 countries.
Nicholas Johnson's chapter, "Retroactive Ethical Judgments and Human Subjects Research," was published November 2005 in the volume Ethics (San Diego and Oxford: Plural Publishing, 2005). Other topics related to his teaching (Law of Electronic Media and Cyberspace Law) included "Principles of Red Lion on the Endangered List" in Television Week, "Why You Should Care Who Serves on the FCC" and "How to Violate Copyright Without Copying Anything" in The Gazette, "Open Minds About Open Meetings" in the Des Moines Register and "10 Questions With Nicholas Johnson" in Jacobs Media.
Other subjects included the local public power controversy, “Power Question is Simple One,” in the Iowa City Press-Citizen (plus the Web site, “The Significance of Iowa City’s ‘Public Power’ Vote: Where Are the Relevant Statutory Provisions and What Do They Say?”); cigarette tax, “Why Iowa Needs to Raise the Cigarette Tax,” Des Moines Register; and education, “No Child Leaves Kids Behind,” in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, “Is Ward Churchill a Conservative?” in the Daily Iowan and “Can [Animal Rights] Research Conflict be Resolved?” in the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
In addition to commentary in his substantial Iowa Environmental Project (Coralville rain forest) Web site, he published “Unfocused and Unfunded, Rain Forest Inspires Mostly Questions,” in the Des Moines Register, “Time to Build or Get Off the Lot” in the Iowa City Press-Citizen and “Rain Forest Dreams and Deficits” in The Gazette.
He was invited to address the International Commission on Radio and Television Policy in Vienna, Austria, on “Censorship from State to Self,” and the National Conference on Media Reform in St. Louis on “Broadcasting and Its Regulation: 1895-1970.”
His public appearances in Iowa have included remarks to the “Town Meeting on the Future of Media” in Iowa City (“Fork in the Road and Alternative Futures”), a speech to the University of Iowa College of Business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, "Thinking Outside the Cubicle: Business Skills in a Wider World," “Your Second Priority” at the Labor Day picnic of the Iowa City Federation of Labor, and “The Responsibilities of Philosopher Kings” at the Drake Law Review banquet in Des Moines.
Radio appearances regarding media policy included two on “The Mike Webb Show,” KIRO, Seattle (“Is the FCC Wrong to Hire the Religious Right?” and “Hypocrisy and Indecency in Broadcasting”), and three on WSUI’s “Talk of Iowa,” (“Public Finance and Public Broadcasting,” “Media Responsibility and the Iowa License Renewals,” and “Indecency in Broadcasting”). He also appeared on KRUI’s “Caffeinated Opinions.” Other subjects included “Public Finance and the Coralville Rain Forest” on WSUI’s “Talk of Iowa” program.
His contributions to the University’s “Year of Public Engagement” program included working with FreePress and other groups in organizing a “Town Meeting on the Future of Media” in Iowa City, and providing pro bono consulting for Iowans for Better Local Television.
The thousands of screens
of material at his Web site, www.nicholasjohnson.org,
continue to be visited by lawyers, potential law school entrants, and other
users in 148 countries.
Nicholas Johnson continues development of his two basic courses, Law of Electronic Media and Cyberspace Law. His Iowa open meetings law article (“Open Meetings and Closed Minds: Another Road to the Mountaintop”) is in the current issue of the Drake Law Review. He published “Progress or Dystopia for Community Media?” in the Community Media Review. His continuing analysis of the Coralville rain forest included the Corridor Business Journal, “Can’t See the Forest or the Trees;” Des Moines Register, “Coralville Project Can’t Match Up to Omaha’s Zoo” and “Will Rain Forest be a Boon or Boondoggle?;” and the Iowa City Press-Citizen, “Rain Forest Questions Remain” and “The Elephant in the Rain Forest.”
Other subjects included post-election commentary, “Election as Civics Class,” Des Moines Register and “Democrats Recovery Begins by Looking in Mirror,” The Gazette; “Lessons from Abu Ghraib,” Daily Iowan; “Getting Businesses to do More” and “Looking for Insights on Blogs,” Iowa City Press-Citizen.
His public appearances have included a convocation lecture at Earlham College on “Media as Politics: What’s a Voter to Do?,” an Iowa City Optimist Club talk, “Boosterism and the Fog of Rain Forests,” and a presentation at an FCC-sponsored forum in Minneapolis. Radio appearances regarding media policy included the Don Shelby Show (WCCO, Minneapolis; twice), Dave Berkman’s “Media Talk” (Wisconsin Public Radio), the 30th anniversary of license for KZIA (Cedar Rapids), and an interview by former Iowan Tom Fudge (KPBS, San Diego). He was featured in the Iowa City Press-Citizen’s Sunday “Q&A” segment twice (“Jackson Reaction Seems Odd” and “FCC Debate Masks Issues”).
thousands of screens of material at his Web site, www.nicholasjohnson.org,
are regularly visited by users in 145 countries. This law school global
outreach continues its expansion. For example, recent additions include
his 400 separate opinions as FCC commissioner and audio files of the 1962-63
general semantics lectures of his late father, Wendell Johnson.
He has had chapters published in two books since the last Faculty Notes listing. They are "A Millenarian View of Artists and Audiences," Chapter 18 ("Epilogue") in Michael Suman and Gabriel Rossman, Advocacy Groups and the Entertainment Industry (Westport: Praeger, 2000), and "Georgia's Media Future: Options and Opportunities for the Third Millennium," Chapter 17 in Laura Lengel, ed., Culture @nd Technology in the New Europe: Civic Discourse in Transformation in Post-Communist Nations (Stamford: Ablex Publishing 2000).
As a member of the Iowa City Community School District Board he has published an additional 13 columns dealing with K-12 education issues in the Iowa City Press-Citizen. His article, “Money Rules: 3rd Parties Are Answer to Special Interests,” was published by the Quad-City Times. He participated in Chris Lydon's network radio program, "The Connection" when the topic was "Decoding Hollywood Politics and Interests in Campaign 2000."
His teaching includes the Economics of Law Practice seminar and Law of Electronic Media in the fall, and the Cyberspace Law Seminar in the spring. He has been using the Internet in connection with his teaching since 1979, and his site is now regularly visited by users from 75 countries.
He also was asked by the University's Department of Theatre Arts to teach a graduate seminar for its students on Entertainment Law and Business during the spring 1999 semester.
As he has done for the past few years, all courses involve his and students' posting of material on the Internet. His main web site is http://www.nicholasjohnson.org/.
Johnson has submitted chapters for two forthcoming books. The epilogue for Advocacy and Media, edited by UCLA professor Michael Suman, is titled "A Millenarian View of Artist and Audience." The other is for the book of a British professor, Laura Lengel: Culture and Technology in the New Europe: Civic Discourse in Transformation in PostSocialist Nations. His chapter is titled "Georgia's Media Future."
He recently has been asked to join the board, or advisory board, of two new media-related organizations: the Soros-funded Open Society Institute Media Group and the Center for an Independent Public Broadcasting.
His service on the Iowa City Community School District school board has curtailed his international travel. However, he did accept an invitation from the United States Information Agency to travel to Bulgaria to speak and meet with journalists and government officials. The meetings dealt with the law and regulations regarding the media's coverage of Bulgarian elections. He has since created a Bulgarian web site with related information as a link off of his main web page.
Johnson continues to write
regular column for the Iowa City Press-Citizen regarding K-12
and school board issues and to do occasional other writing and radio interviews.
Most recently he was a guest on Chris Lydon's NPR program, "The
Connection," when the subject was media mergers. All of his writing
and speeches and other resources can be found from his web site main page:
He spoke at the law school's Continuing Legal Education program, "Legal Issues Affecting Entrepreneurs and Start Up Businesses" on the subject, "On-Line Commerce Issues and Information Age Technologies: Opportunity or Pitfall."
Johnson traveled to Tbilisi, in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, under the auspices of the American Bar Association Central and East European Law Initiative (ABA/CEELI) program. He assisted the Georgian Parliament's drafting of a law of broadcasting and freedom of information. He subsequently published an on-line Web site containing many links to information about Georgia and its parliament in general, and this media law project in particular. Access the site at http://soli.inav.net/~njohnson/njgeorgi.html.
He has continued his work with the Aspen Institute's Communication and Society Program, most recently meetings of the "Working Group on Digital Broadcasting and the Public Interest," an advisory group to a White House task force.
He was selected as a presenter and participant for the Warsaw (Poland) Journalism Center's Journalist in Cyberspace Conference. He spoke on "Regulating the Cyber-Journalist," and subsequently published an online Web site report of that conference, available at: http://www.uiowa.edu/~cyberlaw/wjcc A full interview with Johnson was published in the Warsaw Business Journal.
He spoke to The Club of Iowa City about the ethical, legal and social issues involved in the Internet ("ELSI in a Tangled Web"). "Dogs, Mangers, Growth and Greed: Striking a Balance in Digital Copyright," was the title of his keynote address at the 8th Annual "Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference" in Austin, Texas. He later returned to Austin to deliver the keynote address ("Twenty-Five Years of Award-Winning Public Access") for the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Austin Community Access Center. He appeared with the retiring director of the University of Iowa's International Writers Project, Clark Blaise, at a Cedar Rapids Public Library program, "Conversations With Books."
Johnson's article, "Sailing Shark-Infested Waters: A Map for Media Literacy," was published in Smart TV. The Readers Digest reprinted a quote from him. His op ed comments about the University's "Stepping Up" project to control binge drinking, "Focus Wrong to Attack Alcohol Problem," appeared in the Iowa City Press-Citizen. New Zealand radio interviewed Johnson regarding the broadcast of President Clinton's grand jury testimony.
Finally, Nicholas Johnson
ran for, and was elected to, the Iowa City Community School District Board
in September . He has since created a Web site with links to
numerous K-12 educational policy resources as well as his own writing on
the subject: http://soli.inav.net/~njohnson/schoolboard.
He has, in this role, been writing a column on education issues every two
weeks for the Iowa City Press-Citizen. The columns are available
from his web site.
He earlier delivered the keynote address for the Iowa City Community School District fall opening workshop for all teachers and administrators, August 20. He spoke on "Schools for the New Millennium."
His article, "Full Circle: General Semantics and the Law," was the lead article in the summer issue of ETC., the quarterly journal of the International Society for General Semantics. The piece introduced two articles about general semantics and the law: Randall P. Bezanson's, "The 'Meaning' of First Amendment Speech," and a reprint of an article by Johnson's late father, speech pathology professor Wendell Johnson, titled "Reducing Misunderstandings in Trying to Reach Agreements" (first published in the Iowa Law Review).
His op ed column, published in New York's Newsday, "Is It Better TV or a Clearer Wasteland?" was widely reprinted in many newspapers, including the Atlanta Constitution, Baltimore Sun, Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Greensboro (NC) News & Record, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and Seattle Times. "Respect for the Boob Tube? Not Yet," an op-ed guest column for the Cedar Rapids Gazette, responded to another columnist regarding the state of "journalism" in most of today's newspapers and local TV newscasts. It was subsequently reprinted in the Humanists of Iowa newsletter.
These articles, and much more, are available in full text from Johnson's rapidly expanding web site: www.nicholasjohnson.org [formerly http://www.soli.inav.net/~njohnson].
The trip served as the basis for Johnson's "Cyberspace Law Seminar" during the spring semester 1997. The seminar emphasized two themes: the growing globalization of business (and law practice) and of telecommunications. Students selected and described an Asian country of choice, proposed a telecommunications or media business that would generate a billion dollars a year, listed the range of legal problems raised, and addressed one of them in detail. They used the law of their country when available, and substituted U.S. law when not.
The Internet was not only a part of the subject matter for the course, but a major reference and research source. And once the papers have been finally edited for publication they will be available to everyone in the world with Internet access to the seminar Web page at the University.
Johnson made space available for the seminar from his personal Web page. Its address is: http://soli.inav.net/~njohnson/ This "page" is, in fact, a collection of hundreds of pages of Johnson's writing. It includes the full text of his 300-page-plus bibliography; two of his books, and 25 of his articles and transcripts from the past 12 months. It has links to some 600 other sites with legal and other resources and has a number of other features.
He has also prepared the "Wendell Johnson Memorial Web Page" to recognize and honor his father, for whom the University's Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic was named. It, likewise, contains links to the full text of books, chapters and articles by and about Wendell Johnson, and was opened to the public, at the Clinic, on what would have been his father's 91st birthday.
His addresses included the use of the Iowa Communications Network to teach a class at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, from an ICN studio in Iowa City, the keynote address at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library for a National Issues Forum, a presentation to the Iowa City Community School District Curriculum Review Group, and the keynote address to the Iowa Library Association's last annual convention.
Articles included a lengthy interview in Chile's leading newspaper, El Mercurio, the lead article in the General Semantics Bulletin, a chapter (in Spanish) in the Cuadernos de Informacion, an article in Australian Communications, the introduction to a special issue of the Iowa City Press-Citizen on the impact of technology, and an op-ed column for the Newsday newspaper about high definition television.
Johnson has completed a new casebook, Law of Electronic Media in a Cyberspace Age, which takes a global look at new technology.
He also continues his role as a fellow and member of the executive committee of the World Academy of Art and Science, the board of directors for Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA), and the advisory board for the Central European Center for Health and the Environment, which he joined in fall 1996.
A book-length bibliography of Johnson's lifetime writings and public presentations has been compiled. Nicholas Johnson: A Bibliography (1952-1995), is to be available electronically on the Internet and in hard copy at libraries.
Johnson is one of a few professors testing The West Education Network (TWEN). He taught an online seminar in conjunction with his course "Law of Electronic Media." Both are devoted to exploring the legal issues raised by the new electronics technologies.
Since 1993 Johnson has had a World Wide Web page providing fulltext access to some of his writings as well as a bibliography (http://www.sunnyside.com). Two of his books, How to Talk Back to Your Television Set (Little Brown/Bantam, 1970) and Test Pattern for Living (Bantam, 1972) are now on the site.
Johnson's article "Save Free Speech in Cyberspace" has been published in both English and the Japanese editions of Wired.
Johnson serves on advisory or directors' boards for several non-profit organizations, including Center for Media Education, International Society for General Semantics, Project Censored (which reports each year's "Ten Best-Censored Stories"), Volunteers in Technical Assistance (Third World communications through inexpensive, low-orbit satellites), Working Assets Long Distance, World Academy of Art and Science, and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).
Over the past year Johnson has delivered a number of public lectures, including "Locating Iowa in the Infocosm" at a UI Office of University Relations retreat; "Impact of New Technology on the 21st-Century Office," an American Management Association program distributed by satellite throughout North America and the Caribbean; and "A Walk on the Wired Side," for the Building Materials Industrial Relations Group. In March  he led a panel at the Media and Democracy Congress in San Francisco and presented keynote addresses at the Association of Banyan [computer network] Users International in Chicago and at a Duke University conference for former Soviet Union journalists.
In December Johnson published an article, "Jefferson on the Internet," in the December 1994 Federal Communications Law Journal. He also gave a talk, "Infocosm: A Nice Place to Visit, but . . .," at the Chicago Technology Skill Group "Road to Tomorrow" conference. During the latter part of the month Johnson spent two weeks in Costa Rica, meeting with government and industry officials in the media, technology, telecommunications, and computer fields.
During the spring semester Johnson taught "Law of Electronic Media," in which students explore the public policy and legal issues surrounding the new electronics technology of their choice. In February  he addressed Unitarian-Universalist Church audiences in Iowa City and in Clearwater, Fla., on First Amendment electronic technologies issues, and in March he spoke at Des Moines Area Community College on "Is There Any News in Local TV News?"
Also in March, Johnson was elected to the board of directors of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union and attended his first board meeting in Des Moines. Johnson is finishing his second term on the board of directors of Common Cause and is continuing to serve on the executive board of the World Academy of Art and Science.
Johnson was invited to present the 1995 Richard P. Gifford Lecture in the Business Environment in April at Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, Va. His topic was "Life and Love in the Information Age." Also that month he spoke at the inauguration of the new president of Rosary College, Chicago, on the impact of the information age on a liberal arts education.
Johnson continues his work with the Aspen Institute's Communications and Society program and with a project of Duke University and Carter Center of Emory University, chaired by former President Jimmy Carter, "Commission on Radio and Television Policy, Working Group on Radio and Television Autonomy and the State," with broadcasters and scholars from the United States and the former Soviet Union. His paper "An Autonomous Media," presented at the group's May meeting, has been published in English and Russian.
Johnson was invited to present the keynote address, "Television in the Electronic Supermarket: The Confusion of Interests," to The Cinemathek, Internationales Fernsehfest [The Cologne Conference], Cologne, Germany. His interview on information services, for the public radio program "Living on Earth," has been rebroadcast several times.
This fall  Johnson addressed a University of Iowa news services seminar for working journalists, "Election '94: Politics in the Information Age."
Two of Johnson's brief opinion pieces on public health issues have been published: "Suing the Tobacco Industry is a Solution," Iowa City PressCitizen, and "Serve Kids First, Then get Back to Greed," The Cedar Rapids Gazette. His article "Freedom, Fun, and Fundamentals: Defining Digital Progress in a Democratic Society" was published by ETC: A Review of General Semantics. Another article, "Die Verwirrung der Interessen: Fernsehen im electronischen Supermarkt," was published in the German journal agenda.
Johnson continues as a member of several professional and advisory boards. Recently he has been most active in Common Cause, on the long-range planning working group, which prepared a paper, "Brainstorming a Future for Common Cause," and VITA (Volunteers in Technical Assistance), which is about to launch low-orbiting satellites that will provide communications for Third World countries. As a member of the executive committee for the World Academy of Art and Science, Johnson helped prepare for the recent five-year Assembly of Fellows, where he chaired the opening panel, "The Spread of Knowledge."
Johnson attended the firstever reunion of all U.S. Supreme Court law clerks (Johnson clerked for Justice Hugo L. Black, 1959-60), held this past summer in conjunction with the American Bar Association meeting in New Orleans, which he also attended.
Johnson has established a computer site on the Internet (cpsr.org), where a sampling of his current writing is available to any of the Internet's 20 million users worldwide. He has proposed a similar "library" for selected University of Iowa faculty members on an Internet site in Iowa City.
Last summer Johnson was invited by the Republic of Kazakhstan State Radio and Television Company to consult with government officials there about a new broadcasting law consistent with the republic's move to democracy and a market economy. Johnson, director of the Kazakhstan Project, based at the Iowa law school, has presented his findings about Kazakhstan media to a meeting of the Carter Center's Commission on Radio and Television Policy, in Atlanta. The Kazakhstan Project includes broadcasters and others from the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union and from the United States. To increase his effectiveness as director of the group, Johnson began studying Russian during the spring semester .
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta, has asked Johnson to participate in a conference of public health professionals and media representatives from Hollywood and New York. Participants will explore how to incorporate more positive public health behaviors in entertainment television and feature films.
Johnson coauthored "Firearm Injuries: Public Health Recommendations" and is sole author of "A Public Health Response to Handgun Injuries: Prescription -- Communication and Education," in American Journal of Preventive Medicine. He was asked to write the lead article, "The Nature of Information," in the Aspen Institute/ Northern Telecom Institute for Information Studies 199394 annual review, The Knowledge Economy.
Johnson continues to publish op/ed newspaper columns, most recently "Ask Not What You Can Do to Your President" and "Roadkill along the Information Superhighway." A transcript of his ABC Nightline appearance is available from Mead Data's Nexis.
In March Johnson presented the keynote address, "Freedom, Fun, and Fundamentals: Defining Digital Progress in a Democratic Society," to the Third Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy, in San Francisco. He continues to write op/ed pieces and recently published "Needed Slogan: 'It's Public Financing of Campaigns, Stupid' " in the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
Johnson continues as an active national board member of Common Cause, a major project of which is campaign finance reform. He also is codirector of the University's Institute for Health, Behavior, and Environmental Policy, which is pursuing funding for one of Johnson's projects on the relationship between entertainment television programming themes and public health practices of heavy television viewers.
During the fall and spring semesters, Johnson co-taught a section of Constitutional Law, handling the writing portion of the course during the spring semester. This spring  Johnson took an innovative approach to his course Law of Electronic Media. In order that his students have access to topics and issues that were only days or weeks old, Johnson had them obtain all of their reading materials in electronic form. The students' original research and papers will be assembled in book form.
Johnson fulfilled his summer faculty obligations to the University of California San Diego Advanced Management Network, International Executive Forum (a global computer network of government, military and corporate officials), by leading an "online" seminar for six weeks on the management of public health policy. He continues as Co-Director, Institute for Health, Behavior and Environmental Policy at the Univ. of Iowa and has been asked to serve on the Board of Working Assets Long Distance. Recently, he was also chosen by the Nominating Committee of the National Board, Common Cause, for nomination for re-election to that Board. He will be teaching his course in Mass Communications Law again this spring semester.
Johnson continues to teach his Mass Media Law and Law of Electronic Media courses, and, earlier in November, attended the John Marshall Law School Conference on Freedom of Information in the Electronic Era.
Johnson also continues as a faculty member of the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute International Executive Forum, a global computer network based in La Jolla, California, that includes corporate, government, military and academic executives from around the world in public policy discussions. Twice a year the group meets for a week in La Jolla where, last July, Johnson led a seminar in public health public policy, subsequently continued "online" hr another six weeks He was also asked to participate in a more broadlybased computer conference run by WBSI, bringing together advocates on all sides of the abortion issue in an effort to fashion some consensus legislation.
As a member of the National Board of Common Cause, he participated in the 20th Anniversary celebration in September, attended the board meeting in November, serves on the legal affairs committee, and has been experimenting with the creation of national computer networks hr the Common Cause state offices and membership.
His current work-in-progress involves an exploration of the First Amendment rights of prisoners as reporters for commercial mass media.