Back in February, I was invited to deliver the keynote address at the Denver Law Review symposium. In addition to being one of the premier law schools in the United States, the Sturm College of Law is also on the cutting edge of both animal protection and constitutional law. [Previously, I worked with Denver Law’s Justin Marceau as a plaintiff in a landmark First Amendment lawsuit that struck down Idaho’s ag-gag law as unconstitutional.]

Several of the many speakers were also invited to contribute articles for consideration by the law journal. I’m happy to say that my article was accepted, and I received my author copies this week. It is a particular honor to be featured alongside the dean of the University of Illinois College of Law, Vikram David Amar, and Martha Nussbaum—one of the most renowned philosophers of our time.

My article, “Sentinel Species: The Criminalization of Animal Rights Activists as ‘Terrorists,’ and What It Means for Civil Liberties in Trump’s America,” is available online.

Here’s the article’s abstract:

The animal rights movement has pioneered new, diverse forms of social activism that have rapidly redefined how we view animals. But those remarkable successes have been met with an increasingly aggressive backlash, including new terrorism laws, widespread surveillance, experimental prisons, and legislation explicitly criminalizing journalists and whistleblowers. This Article will explain how, if left unchecked, these attacks on animal advocacy will become a blueprint for the wider criminalization of dissent.

I hope you’ll check it out! Britches is clearly so excited to read it she couldn’t wait until I opened the box.


The official death toll of Hurricane Maria is up, again. And the news comes as we release a bold project from the University of Michigan, based on our on-the-ground investigation.

I recently led a team from the University of Michigan to investigate the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. We conducted more than 30 interviews with a wide range of people across the island, and we were also joined by a team from Notre Dame.

The result is a free, online learning event called “Listening to Puerto Rico.” You can sign up for the Teach-Out here, and join learners from all over the world. Here is a message from the presidents of the University of Michigan and University of Notre Dame about why we have undertaken this new project.

As part of this project, we also released a documentary with never-before-seen footage exposing the humanitarian crisis there.

I’m so proud to have been part of this project, and I hope it will be an example for future ways that universities can engage in pressing social justice issues using journalistic techniques.

Please SHARE and help expose what’s happening!

Thank you!

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Free Online “Teach-Outs” about Free Speech, Press Freedom, offered by University of Michigan

March 9, 2018

For the past several months I’ve been working with a fantastic team of national experts and designers at University of Michigan on several new “teach-outs” about free speech on college campuses, in sports, and in journalism. For the “Free Speech on Campus” course, I interviewed President Mark Schlissel about the controversy of a potential campus […]

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The FBI’s Secret War on Journalism

March 9, 2018

I’ll be delivering the Howard R. Marsh Lecture at the University of Michigan next week, about my work investigating the FBI’s surveillance of journalists throughout U.S. history. If you’re in the area, it’s free and open to the public! Here’s more about it: President Trump has waged a public campaign against journalism as “fake news” […]

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Far-right protests leave U.S. cities scrambling to balance safety, free speech

October 3, 2017

I was featured in Reuters for this article about the rise in neo-Nazi, far-right violence. An excerpt: As recently as the 1990s, white nationalist groups held demonstrations in small towns that were spectacles but usually peaceful, said Will Potter, a University of Michigan fellow and journalist who tracks domestic terrorist groups and civil rights. More recently, […]

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New Online Course on Fake News and Propaganda

October 3, 2017

The online course I co-created at the University of Michigan is now available online for free at Coursera! Full details below. ___________________________________ We are excited to announce a new Teach-Out: Fake News, Facts, and Alternative Facts, which begins Monday, October 2, and we hope you will consider sharing this opportunity with your “Investigative Journalism, Spies, Traitors, Heroes” students. In […]

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I’ll Be Addressing the European Union about Government Repression in the U.S.

June 12, 2017

I’m honored to announce that I will be delivering a keynote address at a meeting co-hosted by the European Union and Council of Europe, speaking about the rise of authoritarianism in the United States, and the threat it poses for civil liberties and democracy. I leave for Paris shortly, where I will be speaking before […]

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University of Michigan’s Free Online Course on “Fake News”

April 16, 2017

The University of Michigan has an exciting new “teach out” program, where faculty experts are creating mini courses that will available to thousands of people for free, online. It’s modeled after the “teach ins” that began at the university during the 1960s, but with a modern twist. We have the potential to reach a much […]

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Fighting the good fight for a free press

March 18, 2017

I spoke with Michigan Today about “fake news,” propaganda, and attacks on the press. You can listen to the full interview here: And here’s more from Michigan Today:

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Ag Gag Laws, Body Cam Laws, & the Right to Know

March 18, 2017

I’m honored to be speaking at the University of North Carolina Parr Center for Ethics this week, alongside Richard Myers of UNC Law: For Their Eyes Only: ag-gag laws, body cam laws, and the right to know Thursday, March 23, 6:00-7:30pm, UNC Chapel Hill — Caldwell Hall 105 Many states are passing laws that restrict […]

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