Mike Hiestand (pronounced HEE-STUND) grew up an Air Force “military brat,” and lived all over the country, literally from one tip — Homestead, Fla. — to the other — Anchorage, Alaska — with a fun stop pretty close to the middle — Boulder, Colo. — and lots of other places (esp. Texas, which we did three times!) in between. He is a graduate of Marquette University’s College of Journalism and Cornell Law School. Mr. Hiestand was the staff attorney for the nonprofit Student Press Law Center, located just outside Washington, D.C., between 1991-2003 and worked full-time as the Center’s sole consulting attorney until 2012. He continues to assist student media and work with the SPLC on special projects affecting the student press community. Over the years, Mr. Hiestand has provided legal assistance to nearly 15,000 high school and college student journalists and their advisers.
A former student journalist himself, he has written and lectured extensively on legal issues affecting the student media and is the primary author of the third edition of the Student Press Law Center’s book, Law of the Student Press (2008), the SPLC Media Law Presentation series and the SPLC Test Your Knowledge quiz series, as well as various other Center projects and publications. He was also the author of It’s the Law, a long-running column on student media law issues published by the National Scholastic Press Association and the Associated Collegiate Press. A recognized expert in the field, he has spoken to student, journalism and education groups across the country and abroad. He has appeared on various radio and television shows, including C-SPAN, Voice of America and National Public Radio and his comments have appeared in such national publications as The New York Times, USA Today, US News and World Report and The Wall Street Journal.
In 2009, the National Scholastic Press Association named Mr. Hiestand a recipient of its Pioneer Award, the organization’s highest honor for journalism educators.
In 2011, College Media Advisers named him the recipient of the organization’s Louis E. Ingelhart First Amendment Award for “extraordinary, long-term contributions in support of the First Amendment.”
In 2012, the Society for Professional Journalists named named him the recipient of the prestigious SPJ First Amendment Award “for extraordinary efforts to preserve and strengthen the First Amendment.”
Mr. Hiestand has filed friend of the court briefs on various First Amendment and media law issues with appellate courts across the country and before the United States Supreme Court in nearly every significant free speech case affecting youth speech over the past two decades. He is a member of the bars of Washington State and the United States Supreme Court.
He currently lives with his wife, two daughters, two dogs and a horse in northwest Washington State.