The Importance of a Free Press

"Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;. . ." Why is this guarantee of free speech and a free press the First Amendment to the US Constitution? Why are these rights so essential to a democracy? After revisiting the First Amendment of the Constitution and watching a video of a reporter who was arrested in Ferguson, class members consider the challenges faced by reporters and by police officers in Ferguson.  

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Have groups analyze the statistics reported in the 2015 State of the First Amendment survey and consider what the statistics reveal about changing attitudes in the United States
Classroom Considerations

  • The ninth in an 11-resource case study of the social media and professional news reporting of the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer
Pros

  • Particularly fascinating are the results of the 2015 State of the First Amendment Survey sponsored by the Newseum Institute
  • The included materials ask class members to consider not only the role of the press but also the responsibilities of law enforcement
Cons

  • None