Lorraine Kenny Joins Knight Institute as Communications Director

January 30, 2019

The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University today announced that Lorraine Kenny has joined its staff as Communications Director. Kenny, who assumed the position in early January, is leading the Institute’s public outreach and education efforts in defense of the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age.

“Lorraine comes to the Knight Institute with a breadth of experience in communications and marketing for legal advocacy organizations,” said Jameel Jaffer, the Knight Institute’s executive director. “She brings a unique mix of strategic communications skills and accomplishments, a track record of successful program development, and a passion for engaging key audiences in some of the toughest civil liberties issues of our time.”

For nearly two decades, Kenny was a communications strategist at the ACLU, beginning her tenure at the Reproductive Freedom Project and later leading strategic programming for the Center for Liberty, where she worked on a range of issues including reproductive freedom, religious freedom, LGBT rights, and women’s rights.  She was a member of the communications team working on the ACLU’s successful legal challenge of the Defense of Marriage Act, Windsor v. United States. She spearheaded numerous messaging projects focused on changing hearts and minds that employed innovative approaches to message research. In 2013, Kenny became the ACLU’s first Associate Director for Communications and Marketing, leading a multi-year rebranding project that focused on engaging members and activists as key to the future of the organization and the fight for civil liberties more broadly.

Most recently, Kenny served as the Director of Communications and Marketing at A Better Balance, a small legal nonprofit dedicated to promoting flexible workplace policies and ending discrimination against caregivers in the workplace.

“I am excited to join the Knight Institute’s team at this crucial national moment and as the organization continues to expand its programming and reach,” said Kenny. “I can’t think of a better place to be right now and feel grateful for the opportunity to work on the foundational issue of free speech as it is newly tested in the digital age.”

Prior to working at the ACLU, Kenny was a visiting professor in the Anthropology Department at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, where she taught seminars in the anthropology of race, visual anthropology, and feminist cultural theory.  Kenny has a Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness from the University of California, Santa Cruz.  She has published numerous articles and is the author of Daughters of Suburbia: Growing Up White, Middle-Class, and Female, an “autoethnography” of teenage girls.

About the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University

The Knight First Amendment Institute is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization established by Columbia University and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to defend the freedoms of speech and press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education. Its aim is to promote a system of free expression that is open and inclusive, that broadens and elevates public discourse, and that fosters creativity, accountability, and effective self-government.