Brock N. Meeks (born 1956) is an American award-winning investigative journalist. He pioneered the field of online journalism and founded one of the preeminent online publications, CyberWire Dispatch, in 1994. At its peak, CyberWire Dispatch was distributed to more than 800,000 readers via mailing lists and newsgroups. At the height of his online career, Meeks was "the most widely read reporter in cyberspace." CyberWire Dispatch officially ceased publication in early 2004.
Meeks's articles focused on the intersection of government and technology, and were among the first to explore issues such as online rights – including free speech and the right to privacy – encryption, censorship, and the regulation of content.
Meeks gained a degree of fame he'd probably rather not have by being the first journalist sued for libel in cyberspace while writing his CyberWire Dispatch. Journalist and author Dan Gilmor wrote in his book "We the Media": "[Meeks] was, by most accounts, the first Internet journalist to be sued for libel. For all practical purposes, Meeks won the case; he paid nothing to the Ohio company that sued him over his critical report about the company’s business practices, though he did agree to notify the company before publishing anything else about it or the man who ran it. Meeks did pay his lawyers, including several noted First Amendment specialists who donated the vast majority of their time. He was lucky, in a sense, because his case drew the attention of people who wanted to protect our rights."
In the mid-1990s, Meeks was the Washington correspondent for Wired magazine and its online counterpart, HotWired. He wrote features for the magazine and produced two columns for HotWired: Muckraker and Campaign Dispatch. The latter was dedicated to his coverage of the 1996 U.S. presidential campaign.
From 1997 to 2006, Meeks served as chief Washington correspondent for MSNBC.com, covering a variety of policy-related technology topics, including civil liberties and legislative attempts to control the Internet.
After the September 11th attacks in 2001, Meeks created and developed the homeland security beat for MSNBC.com. His work on national security won him the Carnegie Mellon Cybersecurity Journalism award in 2005.
During his ten-year stint with MSNBC.com, Meeks appeared regularly on TV for MSNBC cable and did occasional on-air spots for NBC Nightly News. He also served on an award-winning special projects team that produced "Rising from Ruin," a multimedia project chronicling the recovery of two small Gulf Coast communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Meeks has won several awards from the Computer Press Association for his writing on various topics. In 1990 he won the Thomas Moore Storke Award from the World Affairs Council for "Best International Coverage" for his coverage of the Afghanistan war as a foreign correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle.
He was a founding staff member of the Inter@ctive Week magazine (in 2001 the magazine merged with ZD publication eWeek) where he served as chief Washington correspondent. Before that he spent two years as senior editor for Communications Daily, where two of his stories—one on the possible medical risk of cellular telephones and another on how cell phones were causing deadly interference with critical medical devices—moved Congress to hold hearings. In the latter case, hospitals also established no-cell phone zones.
In 2007 Meeks joined the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington-based, non-profit public interest group, as Director of Communications.
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