Edith Wortman First Amendment Award Winner – Susanna Weiss, Ph.D., J.D.
Susanna Weiss, who worked for over a decade on First Amendment issues related to courtrooms and communication, televised trials, jury decision-making, litigation strategy and public perceptions of crime, criminals and the courts, is the 2005 winner of the First Amendment Award.
Weiss’ doctoral research focused on applying social science research to legal decision-making, and her articles about free speech and the courts, televised trials and disseminating information about trial participants have appeared in a variety of legal and communication publications. She is the author of “News Cameras in the Courtroom: A Free Press – Fair Trial Debate” and has worked as a jury consultant for DOAR Litigation Support and Trial Services in New York. She also has done published research and consulting work in the fields of adult and professional education, information diffusion and assimilation, business communication and instructional design.
Weiss received her J.D. degree from the University of California Law School at Berkeley, where she was awarded the Prosser Prize for her research on “Courts and the Image of Justice,” and a Ford Foundation fellowship to study international law in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She is the recipient of several other fellowships and research awards from the Kaltenborn Foundation, the Poynter Institute, the Annenberg program for Communication Policy Studies, the Advertising Education Foundation and the International Association of Business Communicators. She has been a foreign expert editor in the People’s Republic of China, a tenured associate professor in the Division of Mass Communication at Emerson College, chair of the Department of Communication at Menlo College and visiting professor at the University of Hawaii.
The 2005 award winner currently is a social science analyst at the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, focusing on consumer comprehension of over-the-counter drug labeling and consumer behavior regarding the purchase and use of these medications.