The Lawyer Protecting Your First Amendment Rights

"When a federal civil rights case accusing a Yale professor of sexual misconduct landed on BuzzFeed reporter Katie Baker’s desk, the words that had dominated much of her writing so far resurfaced: “sexual misconduct,” “harassment” and “discrimination.” And so did the person she has leaned on when writing about thorny issues. Nabiha Syed, the general assistant counsel and fashion-forward legal eagle for the news organization jumped to attention, helping Baker navigate choppy, litigious waters.

Syed’s job is to help journalists “hold powerful people accountable and expose injustice without unintentionally hurting” journalists, the news company and sources in the process, Baker told OZY. An energetic First Amendmentgeek, Syed tackles defamation issues, government transparency, newsgathering technology and privacy. And before BuzzFeed, she was part of the external legal team that advised The Guardian in ongoing national security reporting and The New York Times, where, as a First Amendment Fellow, she helped bring a lawsuit against the Department of Justice on a targeted drone strike program. “The idea that there could be a legal explanation that remained cloaked in secrecy, that was reprehensible,” said the 31-year-old of the case, which later advanced to the Second Circuit. “If you were actually going to drone strike people, the public should know,” Syed added from BuzzFeed’s New York office."

Read the full piece on Nabiha at OZY