Institute Names Research Director, Communications Director, Media Manager
Alexandria, VA – The Institute for Free Speech (IFS) today announced promotions for three staffers. Scott Blackburn, Luke Wachob, and Alex Baiocco will now serve as Research Director, Communications Director, and Media Manager, respectively.
“This is a great opportunity to expand IFS’s research portfolio,” said Blackburn, who previously served as Senior Research Analyst. “To best advocate for the First Amendment, we need a solid, foundational understanding of the importance of free speech and the impact of the laws that restrict it. Providing this unbiased research will better enable IFS to fulfill its mission. I’m honored to accept this challenge.”
In his new role as Research Director, Blackburn will lead an expansion of the Institute’s efforts to inform public understanding of free speech issues. Past IFS research has included an extensive study of state contribution limit laws, a series of analyses on tax-financed campaign programs, and a history of IRS treatment of nonprofit advocacy groups, among many other original publications.
Thanks in part to its research, the Institute for Free Speech has become a go-to source for journalists and others seeking to understand laws that restrict political speech and association. IFS experts are often sought out by the media to share their perspectives on critical First Amendment issues on TV, radio, and in print. In addition, IFS staff frequently author op-eds, blog posts, and policy papers highlighting important trends in free speech. In his new role as Communications Director, Luke Wachob will coordinate the Institute’s efforts to provide timely and compelling commentary on the free speech issues of the day.
“IFS has done more than any other organization to raise awareness of the complex laws that restrict First Amendment political rights. At the same time, threats to these rights have multiplied at the state and federal levels. I am honored to be named Communications Director and look forward to helping the Institute inform the public of our increasingly vital work to defend free speech,” said Wachob, who was formerly a Senior Policy Analyst.
As Media Manager, Alex Baiocco will be responsible for promoting the Institute’s commentary, research, and litigation on social media. He will also assist the Institute with graphic design work, author op-eds and blog posts, and continue to curate and produce the Institute’s signature daily Media Update. (Those interested in receiving the Media Update can sign up here.) Prior to being named Media Manager, Baiocco was a Communications Fellow at IFS.
“The Institute’s work provides an invaluable First Amendment perspective in debates regarding regulations and restrictions on political advocacy. I am excited to ensure that our educational resources continue to reach citizens, journalists, and policymakers,” said Baiocco.
About the Institute for Free Speech
The Institute for Free Speech is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes and defends the First Amendment rights to freely speak, assemble, publish, and petition the government. Originally known as the Center for Competitive Politics, it was founded in 2005 by Bradley A. Smith, a former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission. The Institute is the nation’s largest organization dedicated solely to protecting First Amendment political rights.