Tuesday, February 16, 2010

First Amendment Revival: Update on McCormick’s Liberty Tree Initiative

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In the past year, we've seen a number of cases where student journalists face prior restraint and censorship. For example, at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois, student editors chose to resign rather than be censored, when administration pulled a controversial story. In light of these cases, it's apparent that First Amendment education is becoming an even more necessary part of a journalist’s training.

Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, carried out a series of events as part of the Liberty Tree Initiative this past fall. Both students and faculty gave an interdisciplinary effort to “bring awareness to the campus and local community about the five freedoms embedded within the First Amendment,” as mentioned in AEJMC’s Media Law Notes newsletter.

Winthrop University held several presentations, panels and discussions that focused on sharing the history of the First Amendment and how to responsibly exercise those rights today. One of the discussions was about the “particular challenges facing newspapers in light of digital technology, such as the Internet and social media… [encouraging] students to use these tools to exercise and preserve their range of First Amendment rights.”

To learn more about how you can bring the Liberty Tree Initiative to your campus, click here.

Join the Liberty Tree Initiative’s Facebook group to learn more about conferences held.

The Liberty Tree Initiative is a program that gives select schools $5,000 to build awareness of the First Amendment through education and information. It was founded in partnership with the McCormick Foundation, American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Knight Foundation, and the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.

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