NPPA Retains First Amendment Attorney

Jan 9, 2006 Advocacy

DURHAM, NC – The National Press Photographers Association announced today that it will be retaining an attorney to assist with its growing need to support photographers’ rights. The move will enhance the organization’s ability to fight policies that are harmful for photojournalists.

“With the frequency of issues that we have been dealing with,” said NPPA president Tony Overman, “from the smallest municipality to the Supreme Court, we really needed someone with legal experience and an understanding of photojournalism to help NPPA defend photojournalists’ rights in America.”

Attorney Mickey Osterreicher at the United States Supreme Court in Washington, DC.Mickey Osterreicher, an attorney based in the Buffalo, NY, area will be retained by the NPPA effective September 1, 2006. Osterreicher is a long time NPPA member and has done significant legal work for the organization on a pro-bono basis. In 2006 he was awarded NPPA’s Kenneth P. McLaughlin Award of Merit and the Presidential Medal.

“After having been a member of NPPA since 1973, it is an honor and a pleasure to represent the organization in a legal capacity,” Osterreicher commented. “I believe that it is very important that the rights of photojournalists be upheld and I look forward to working with the NPPA to advocate on behalf of our members.”

“The work that the NPPA is doing on First Amendment matters continues at a break-neck pace and is beyond what can be handled on a volunteer basis,” said Alicia Wagner Calzada, NPPA Advocacy Committee chairperson and NPPA’s immediate past president. “This is a natural step as our commitment to supporting photographers continues. We are fortunate that an attorney like Mickey is available to us. His familiarity with the industry, with the NPPA, and with the legal issues we deal with, makes him the ideal person for this position.”

The Washington, DC, law firm of Covington & Burling has also provided significant pro-bono legal support to the NPPA and will continue to do so. The main contact at the firm had been Kurt Wimmer, who recently left to take a position as senior vice president and general counsel for Gannett. The new NPPA contacts at Covington & Burling are partner Steve Weiswasser and associate Robert Sherman.

Osterreicher has served as chairman of the NPPA Government Media Relations Committee and as a member of the Advocacy Committee. He is also a member of the New York State Bar Association Media Law Committee and an adjunct lecturer for SUNY at Buffalo and the University of Buffalo. He has advised and provided support to the NPPA in the matter of cameras in the courtroom, the need for a shield law, the NFL’s removal of local television photographers from the sidelines, copyright issues, the attempted New York City subway photography ban, and the NCAA vs. photographers issue. A new Media Government Relations Committee chair will be appointed by Overman to replace Osterreicher.

Osterreicher, who is married with two grown children, was a photographer for the Buffalo Courier-Express until its demise in 1982. He worked for the ABC television affiliate WKBW-TV from 1982 until 2004. His still and video work have appeared in such news outlets as The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, USA Today, ABC World News Tonight, Nightline, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, and ESPN.

He became interested in pursuing a career in law while covering court cases on the job and graduated cum laude from the University of Buffalo Law School in 1998. Osterreicher continues his photography work as he practices law. He volunteers, teaches, and advises in various capacities that combine the two talents.

Legal articles by Mickey Osterreicher: