Cynthia Simmons


Cynthia Simmons

Associate Teaching Professor

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  • Bachelor's: Macalester College
  • Master's: University of Wisconsin
  • J.D.: University of Washingotn



Cynthia Simmons teaches mass media law. Her hope is that students will learn the full extent of their First Amendment press rights and exercise them boldly.

Her journalism novel "Wrong Kind of Paper," published by Sunbury Press in 2021, uses fiction to examine media conglomeration, police racism and the corruption that can follow when local journalism dies. She is also a co-author of "The Jury and Democracy," published in 2010 by Oxford University Press. The book was translated into Japanese in 2016.

Simmons’ current research focuses on the role of the jury in mass incarceration and what journalists and regular citizens can do to stop it.

Simmons’ 15-year career in journalism included print, wire service and public radio work. She was the news director at WORT in Madison, Wis., and covered the Wisconsin Legislature for United Press International. Her political reporting for New Mexico public radio won the state Associated Press award for public service journalism. She has also written for legal trade publications.

Before coming to Penn State, Simmons taught at the University of Washington where she directed the Olympia Legislative Reporting Internship Program for three years.

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Cynthia Simmons
11 Carnegie Building
(814) 865-6851