Biggest take away from First Amendment Day 2013: The state of First Amendment rights on college campuses is a concern of the entire nation because college students play a vital role in reporting today’s news.
Last Thursday was First Amendment Day at Iowa State. FAD is an annual tradition at the journalism school that I have had the fortune of being a part of for three years.
The keynote this year was delivered by Executive Director of the Student Press Law Center Frank LoMonte. I have gotten to hear LoMonte speak on First Amendment topics a handful of times during my college journalism career and he never fails to disappoint.
In his talk titled “Social Media and the First Amendment” LoMonte said something that really hit home, the gap between students’ rights on a college campus and those not is as wide as it has ever been.
"Students are the one demographic group in America whose constitutional rights are worse today than they were 40 years ago," LoMonte said.
And here is why this is important:
"While the traditional media adapt to their changing circumstances, student journalists are playing a more vital role than ever before. Campus-based publications, and student collaborations with professional news outlets, are filling in gaps created by the traditional media’s decline," according to an article co-written by LoMonte and Jonathan Peters in The Atlantic.
College students working for their campus publications are able to take more risks, try new things, and fail or succeed in ways professional journalists can’t. Everything we do is meant to teach us to be better journalist, without the risk of losing a paycheck.
That is the vital role college student’s play and if our speech is suppressed and our ability to publish news is challenged, everyone should care.
Here are some links to more information that LoMonte shared with me:
The Atlantic article quite above.
And, as always, if you would like to see more photos from First Amendment Day at Iowa State click here to see the Iowa State Daily’s collection of images.