Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

7 Online Resources for First Amendment Education

Oct. 29, 2010, 11:46 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Study: More know "The Simpsons" than First Amendment rightsKnight Foundation recently received a question from a university professor in journalism looking for First Amendment educational resources.

It's a great question, because a well-reported study in 2006 said Americans know a lot more about The Simpsons than they do about the amendment that makes the cartoon possible.

Here are some resources ' not exhaustive or comprehensive by any means ' which might be useful for anyone interested in teaching the rights of the First Amendment:

  1. A site dedicated to First Amendment education is 1 for ALL.' It has campus programs, like the Liberty Tree Initiative, and details on possible grant funds and other programs that have been tried in the past.
  2. Another great site is the First Amendment Center, which has online resources and the latest news on first amendment cases.
  3. For high-school journalists, there's a self-directed online course offered by News University which is free to take.' It's about an hour-long class that provides information on First Amendment rights as a high-school journalist.
  4. News University also has a free hour-long course on the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act for journalists or anyone who wants to know more about freedom of information laws and practice.' The National Security Archive also has some good online reading on FOI.
  5. Sunshine Week ' which is next happening March 13-19, 2011 ' has online toolkits and a reading room on their site with some good resources.
  6. The Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press have a First Amendment Handbook for journalists on their site, in addition to case briefs and other resources.
  7. Finally, the Newseum in Washington, DC has a First Amendment Gallery which might make a great field trip for nearby students or groups further afield that are able to travel.

As I mentioned, these resources are not intended to be comprehensive ' but perhaps a good starting point for someone looking for information.