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Maybe #Firstonthefirst initiative can help move the needle

Posted by on Aug 1, 2018 in Blog, Featured, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism | 1 comment


Maybe it was last night’s reflection on Anthony Kennedy’s final day serving as a Supreme Court justice.

Or maybe it was because I’m still recovering from the latest State of the First Amendment survey.

In case you missed it, more than one-third of the survey respondents (40 percent) could not name a single freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment. Only one out of the 1,009 people surveyed could correctly name all five freedoms.

That blows my mind, and I often think about what I can or should be doing differently to help move the needle outside the walls of my classroom.

So today I began what I’m calling #Firstonthefirst.

I made a commitment to talk to five strangers today and share with them about the First Amendment. I’m going to do it on the first of every month, and I hope you’ll join me.

It’s easy enough to visit with folks in line at Starbucks or the grocery checkout, or colleagues at school, or parents on the bleachers at your kiddo’s sporting event. A few minutes of conversation can make a huge difference. I want the people in my community to know the five freedoms and to have a better understanding of why the First Amendment matters.

To make a visual connection, I wore one of my First Amendment T-shirts, and I’ll do that for each #Firstonthefirst. There’s something about seeing those 45 words (or in the case of this shirt, my favorite of those 45) that makes it more memorable, and I hope to leverage the power of social media to spread this movement and get my students — and all of you — having these First Amendment conversations as well.

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Join the discussion over protocols for scholastic media

Posted by on Feb 5, 2010 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


Unknown-1Join the discussion over Twitter and the Five Freedoms Network

On February 8-9, 2010, the McCormick Freedom Project and the Illinois Press Foundation will convene a group of crucial stakeholders from across the state and country with the goal of creating a protocol that will serve as a national model for scholastic journalism. The conference will bring together more than 50 representatives from local and national organizations specializing in the First Amendment, scholastic journalism, and school governance, including students, teachers and principals, who are the first to encounter these often tense situations inherent to scholastic journalism, along with superintendents, school board members, and other affected parties.

Session convener and the above groups invite those in scholastic media to join in the discussion through the Twitter hash tag #studentnewsmedia and through their Ning group on the Five Freedoms Network. We’ll be tweeting and posting some questions this week to get the discussion going and will live tweet periodically from the conference. Some of the discussion posts and tweets may become part of the final conference report.

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