Guardian US today announced the appointment of Kai Falkenberg as its first-ever general counsel. Falkenberg will serve as the principal legal adviser to the Guardian US, providing legal and business advice, managing legal complaints and litigation resulting from the publication and distribution of in-depth journalism and other content, and providing expertise on labor, data, tax, contracts and other matters. Falkenberg will report both to Guardian US Managing Director Steve Sachs and Guardian US Editor Betsy Reed, and serve as a member of the Guardian’s global legal team, based in London.
Falkenberg brings more than 20 years of expertise in media law including M&A, data privacy, intellectual property, labor relations, compliance, litigation and other matters. Most recently, she served as executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at G/O Media, a digital publishing company that includes Quartz, Gizmodo, Deadspin, Jezebel, Kotaku, The Root and The Onion. Prior to that, Falkenberg served as acting commissioner and first deputy commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, where she oversaw NYC Media, the country’s largest municipal broadcast network, and the regulation of all film and television production in NYC; editorial counsel at Forbes, Inc.; and as an attorney at leading media law firm Davis Wright Tremaine. She still teaches media law at her alma mater, Columbia Law School, including the country’s first course on the Law & Regulation of Social Media. She serves on the board of a number of organizations, including the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, the Gotham Institute for Film & Media, 70 Faces Media and the Cartoonists Rights Network International. She previously served on the board of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.
U.S. Managing Director Steve Sachs said: “An organization of our size, reach and journalistic ambition demands a chief legal officer of Kai’s stature. Kai has experience managing the complex issues facing a large and growing media business: marketing and advertising, drafting new policies, and protecting the editorial independence and integrity of a news operation. I’m thrilled to have her on board.”
U.S. Editor Betsy Reed said: “Hard-hitting, deeply reported journalism often invites challenges, threats and lawsuits, especially when it attempts to hold the rich and powerful accountable. I have the utmost confidence that Kai’s expertise, drawn from her work at numerous media organizations and law practices dedicated to the rights of a free press, will offer our reporters and editors the best possible defense and protection.”
Falkenberg said: “As an avid follower of the U.S. media landscape and a longtime participant in it, it’s been thrilling to watch Betsy and Steve take the reins of the Guardian US this past year. And I’m even more excited about their plans for the future. I can think of no better place and time to continue the work I’ve pursued throughout my entire career.”
Guardian US has around 90 members of editorial staff across bureaus in New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. In 2022, Guardian US averaged 41 million unique visitors per month and has over 220,000 recurring supporters and digital subscribers in the US.
About Guardian Media Group:
Guardian Media Group (GMG), is the publisher of theguardian.com, one of the largest English-speaking news websites in the world. Since launching its U.S. and Australian digital editions in 2011 and 2013, respectively, traffic from outside of the UK now represents around two-thirds of the Guardian’s total digital audience.
Guardian US is renowned for its Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, and for other award-winning work, including The Paradise Papers. Guardian US has bureaus in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, covering the climate crisis, politics, race and immigration, gender and more.
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