The Michigan Interscholastic Press Association has honored Nancy Costello, a former journalist and current professor in the Michigan State University College of Law, as the recipient of its 2021 John V. Field Award for her long-time support of student journalism.
The award recognizes a person or organization who is not currently a student media adviser for their significant contributions to scholastic journalism in Michigan. It was first given in 1972 to John Field, a University of Michigan journalism professor who served as the executive director of MIPA for more than 20 years when it was based on the Ann Arbor campus.
Costello was honored as part of an online ceremony on May 12.
“Nancy Costello and her students in MSU’s First Amendment Law Clinic have helped thousands of student journalists better understand their rights and responsibilities,” said Jeremy Steele, executive director of MIPA and a specialist in the MSU School of Journalism. “Her work not only creates a unique learning experience for future lawyers, but helps to strengthen student media programs in our K-12 schools.”
In 2010, Costello and then-School of Journalism director Jane Briggs-Bunting teamed up to form the First Amendment Law Clinic. It remains the only law school clinic in the country that focuses solely on student speech and press rights.
The clinic has trained 11,000 students in First Amendment Workshops held at 45 Michigan high schools over the past 10 years. It’s improved transparency at school board meetings, defended students facing punishment from school administrators for social media speech, and protected student journalists facing censure for publishing information high school coaches believed would put their athletic program in a bad light.
In 2019, the clinic launched the McLellan Free Speech Online Library, an online resource connecting MSU’s law teenagers across the country.
ABOUT THE MICHIGAN INTERSCHOLASTIC PRESS ASSOCIATION
Founded in 1921 and housed in the Michigan State University School of Journalism, the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association is a nonprofit organization composed of scholastic journalism teachers and publications advisers and their students. MIPA is committed to promoting and recognizing excellence in scholastic journalism at all levels through education, training and support of student journalists and their advisers.