Content for Member Papers

NNA provides its members with content they can reprint in their papers or on their websites. This content includes First Amendment columns or editorials from the Freedom Forum, available weekly.

The biggest threat to democracy might be the loss of local newspapers

June 14, 2018

If you're reading this column in your local newspaper, congratulations! Just by skimming your eyeballs over this page, whether it's in print or online, you're doing a vital service for your hometown, and for democracy as a whole. (Go ahead and take the rest of the day off.)

An ongoing outrage, a tragedy — and a puzzling farce

May 31, 2018

The reports came like thunderbolts this week: Another journalist beaten to death in Mexico. Two journalists killed in the United States while reporting on a dangerous storm. And a Russian journalist assassinated in Ukraine.

Proposed Infrastructure Laws Jeopardize Freedom to Assemble

May 21, 2018

Rightly or wrongly, certain First Amendment issues tend to dominate the national conversation more than others. Bring up President Trump's tweets criticizing the news media, college campus protests of controversial speakers, or the possibility of the government regulating Facebook and you're bound to inspire a rousing and possibly heated discussion. Mention that state laws protecting critical infrastructure might actually erode the right to assemble and you're more likely get blank stares and a hasty topic change. After all, it's an issue that combines the freedom of assembly, which barely anyone knows about, with state and local law, which barely anyone cares about. Throw in the word "infrastructure" and it's practically anti-clickbait.

Hannity Hassle: Let's Apply 'the Five W's and How'

April 20, 2018

If the burning national question of the moment is whether Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity is a "journalist" or not, let's use the long-held set of journalistic questions to investigate: The proverbial who, what, when, where, why and how?

Sinclair: Next time, just put your name to the message

April 6, 2018

Sinclair Broadcasting's recent promotional message on the state of today's news — delivered to its TV audiences nationwide — is as protected by the First Amendment as it was an oafish attempt to hide corporate messaging under the veneer of local news reporting.

School walkouts in the wake of 'Parkland' — protected by the First Amendment or not?

February 26, 2018

The national walkouts that students are currently organizing to call for new gun control legislation are commendable examples of "Generation Z" exercising its First Amendment freedoms. Unfortunately, students, teachers and other staff are likely to run up against legal limits around free speech and protest on school grounds.

Protect journalists with the same laws that protect all of us

February 1, 2018

I understand the motivation behind the just-proposed Journalist Protection Act, which would make it a federal crime to attack those involved in reporting the news. The legislation comes at a time of particularly vocal attacks on news operations and individual reporters, many of which stem from the highest office in the land.

Let's focus on real journalism — not so-called 'fake news'

January 18, 2018

President Trump's "Fake News Awards," posted late Wednesday, were more gimmick than "gotcha" — worth a moment's attention, perhaps, but not much more.

'Weakening' libel laws is not the right tactic — for anyone

January 11, 2018

Making it easier to sue people for libel is not a good idea — for our democracy in general, and even for President Trump and a few of his personal lawyers, in particular.

The Lazy Person's Guide to Being a Good Citizen

December 26, 2017

You sometimes suspect that you're not as well-informed as you should be. When you read about that study that found that middle school kids were unable to distinguish paid advertisements from news stories, you shook your head sadly — then secretly wondered if you would do much better. You've heard that most people are so entrenched in their own beliefs that even indisputable facts can't change their minds, and would really like to believe you're different from most people. (But doesn't everyone think that?) You have, on at least a couple of occasions, pretended that you were familiar with a subject you actually barely understood.

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