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First Amendment Blog

Deadline pressure: Rhode Island should pass student press-freedom law

June 22nd, 2017 by efitzpatrick

Edward Fitzpatrick, RWU director of media and public relations, New England First Amendment Coalition board member and former Providence Journal columnist:

Earlier this year, student journalists at a Kansas high school decided to write a profile about their newly hired principal. As they researched the principal’s background, they began unearthing questions about her educational credentials.

For example, the young reporters found that she had received master's and doctoral degrees from a school, Corllins University, that was not currently accredited and that had been portrayed in articles as a "diploma mill." Four days after article ran in The Booster Redux, the principal resigned.

First Amendment protects the right to give and to receive

May 23rd, 2017 by efitzpatrick

Andrew Horwitz, professor of law, assistant dean for experiential education and director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at the RWU School of Law:

Sadly, Cranston, R.I., has recently joined the ranks of those jurisdictions that have decided that the best way to deal with homelessness is to make it a crime. This national phenomenon, fostered in an environment of ignorance, fear and hatred, is nothing new, but it is suddenly becoming much more pervasive. Jurisdictions around the country have moved to criminalize activities that are inherently associated with homelessness, such as sleeping in public, sleeping in vehicles, loitering and panhandling. Of course, criminalizing these activities doesn’t resolve the underlying problems, but it does sometimes move the problems out of public view; to some, that seems to be a worthy objective.

Donald Trump vs. Roger Williams

May 8th, 2017 by efitzpatrick

David A. Logan, professor of law and former dean of the RWU School of Law, who has studied and written extensively about First Amendment issues:

One of the many surprises of the 2016 presidential election was the support that the “religious right” or “evangelicals” gave to Donald Trump, a candidate with a well-documented and, indeed, audacious disrespect for traditional family values, especially the sanctity of marriage. Observers ascribe that support to Trump’s often-made promise to appoint conservatives to the Supreme Court of the United States, which could roll back abortion rights and the long-standing recognition of a stout “wall” separating church and state, which is traced to the writing and preaching of the namesake of my employer, Roger Williams University. President Trump delivered on the first item by nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch to the high court.

Liberty of conscience alive among Roger Williams University students

April 18th, 2017 by efitzpatrick

Taylor Stoermer, professor who teaches the history and modern practice of democracy at RWU and public history at Harvard University:

To Roger Williams, liberty of conscience was everything. In one’s conscience lay the very keys to life in this world and the next, as study leads to thought, thought to belief, belief to faith, and faith to salvation.

"The Press & The President" panel sparks debate about Spicer

April 5th, 2017 by efitzpatrick

Kyle Souza, junior journalism major at Roger Williams University:

It’s no secret that President Donald Trump is a fierce critic of the news media. Whether it’s a tweet he sends out at 3 a.m. bashing The New York Times or his verbal attacks on White House reporters during press availability, he has made it clear that he is not a fan of what the news media has to offer.

As president, Trump has jettisoned protocol when it comes to working with the news media. But he works for the residents of the country, and the journalists that work inside the White House must provide the news that the public needs to hear -- which might sometimes include news that Trump may otherwise want to downplay.

Donald Trump and the full-employment-for-lawyers presidency

April 4th, 2017 by efitzpatrick

David A. Logan, professor of law and former dean of the RWU School of Law, who has studied and written extenstively about First Amendment issues:

One thing you can say for Donald Trump’s presidency: He sure keeps lawyers busy.

Within weeks of taking office, he suddenly rolled out immigration rules that banned entrance to travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries, creating chaos and great anxiety at many airports. But that action was immediately challenged by state attorneys general and held unconstitutional by federal judges. And it brought hundreds of pro bono lawyers to airports across the country to help innocent people caught up in a Kafkaesque regime.

Attacks on the media only making them stronger

March 5th, 2017 by efitzpatrick

Harrison Connery, senior journalism major at Roger Williams University:

 

Jon Keller, political analyst for WBZ-TV, welcomed people to the New England First Amendment Coalition awards ceremony on Feb. 24 in Boston, saying: "Ladies, gentlemen, fellow enemies of the people -- glad you could make it out today."

 

RWU journalism Prof. Prado traces history of propaganda, "fake news"

March 2nd, 2017 by efitzpatrick

Paola Prado, RWU associate professor of journalism and adviser to the university's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, spoke with Bruce Newbury on WADK-1540 in Newport on March 1 about propaganda, "fake news" and Walter Lippmann's 1922 book, "Public Opinion."

 

Listen to the podcast by clicking here:

http://wadk.com/assets/podcaster/464/2017_03_01_464_54959_4434.mp3

 

Exercising First Amendment rights is a team sport

March 1st, 2017 by efitzpatrick

Rachel Bimonte, junior journalism major at Roger Williams University:

At a New England First Amendment Coalition event on Feb. 24, Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan began her keynote address by thanking the many journalism students in attendance, including eight students from Roger Williams University.

“I admire the fact that you are making the foray into our somewhat treacherous waters at this particular time,” Sullivan said. “We need you more than ever.”

Sullivan received the Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award during the luncheon at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf. And as she spoke, it clicked: Much like basketball, football and dance choreographies, journalism is a team sport, too. And we each must do our part to exercise our First Amendment rights, to speak truth to power, to deliver the truth.

Enemy of the American People? Undermining a free press

February 20th, 2017 by efitzpatrick

Edward Fitzpatrick, RWU director of media and public relations, New England First Amendment Coalition board member and former Providence Journal columnist:

Absolutely!

The Trump administration appears to be springing more leaks than the Oroville Dam spillway. And that’s a good thing. Otherwise, the public would be drowning in the cascade of “alternative facts” pouring from the White House.