W. Wat Hopkins

W. Wat Hopkins

W. Wat Hopkins



103 Shanks Hall
181 Turner St. NW
Blacksburg, VA 24061




Department Membership



  • News Writing
  • Reporting
  • Communication Law
  • Free Speech
  • Free Press

Professional Activities

  • Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Supreme Court Historical Society
  • Society of Professional Journalists
  • Virginia Coalition for Open Government
  • American Civil Liberties Union


  • Ph.D. University of North Carolina
  • M.A. University of North Carolina
  • B.A. Western Carolina University

Research Interests

    Awards and Honors

    Top Three Faculty Paper in Law, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, annual convention, Kansas City, MO., July 30 – Aug. 2, 2003.

    Top Faculty Paper in Law, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Southeast Colloquium, March 3-6, 1994, Charleston, S.C.

    Henry M. Phillips Research Grant in Jurisprudence, American Philosophical Society, 1993.

    Selected Publications


    Mass Communication Law in Virginia, 3d ed. Stillwater, Okla.: New Forums Press, 2001, 210 pp. 

    Mr. Justice Brennan and Freedom of Expression. New York: Praeger, 1991, 194 pp.

    Edited Books

    Communication and the Law, 2014 Edition. W. Wat Hopkins, ed. Northport, Ala.: Vision Press, under contract. Published each January since 1998.


    “Snyder v. Phelps and the Unfortunate Death of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress as a Speech-Based Tort,” 3 Journal of Media Law and Ethics 1-36 (2012).

    “When Does F*** Not Mean F***?: FCC v. Fox Television Stations and a Call for Protecting Emotive Speech,” 64 Federal Communications Law Journal 1-45


    “Snyder v. Phelps, Private Persons and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: A Chance for the Supreme Court to Set Things Right,” 9 First Amendment Law Review 149-92 (Fall 2010).

    “Cross Burning Revisited: What the Supreme Court Should Have Done in Virginia v. Black and Why it Didn’t,” 26 Hastings Communication and Entertainment Law Journal (COMM/ENT) 269-315 (No. 2, 2004).