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.

'Enemies of the people?' Simply, plainly – 'no'

August 16, 2018

A free press brings us the news of the day, from weather to Wall Street, and when done properly functions as a "watchdog on government." The public expects that first part, and the First Amendment — on behalf of all of us — protects that last part.

Printing Guns: Looking at All the Dimensions

August 9, 2018

Are 3-D printer designs protected by the First Amendment? This was the legal defense raised by Cody Wilson back in 2015, who faced prosecution for violating federal gun export laws after he created a gun with a 3-D printer and then posted the blueprints online for others to download and use. Wilson claimed that this violated his right to share information freely. The State Department settled its case against him in July 2018, and for a few days Wilson was able to distribute the blueprints on his website and revel in his success at using the First Amendment to protect the Second Amendment. But by the end of last week, attorneys general in 20 states had filed suit against both the State Department and Wilson, in an effort to force the State Department to rescind its settlement. The states raised a constitutional claim of their own — that the settlement violated the 10th Amendment, which gives states the right to make their own laws, including those governing gun control.

Does It Really Matter That Americans Don't Know Exactly What The First Amendment Says?

July 16, 2018

The majority of Americans are supportive of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, but are also unaware of exactly what those rights are, according to the recently released 2018 State of the First Amendment survey by the First Amendment Center of the Freedom Forum Institute.

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.

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