Understanding Free Press and the First Amendment

On January 5th, 2019, the Sarah Wise Wooten Young Ladies Academy (SWWYLA) ventured to the Newseum, located in Washington D.C., where their mission is to increase public understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment. The focus points for all featured exhibits included the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. Upon arrival, the SWWYLA participants were greeted by Newseum staff who provided an overview of the museum highlights and guided the group through six interactive floors of exhibits. In a Newseum “Talk Back” exhibit, the girls were able to voice their opinion on various controversial topics such as whether groups with hateful views should be prevented from protesting in public spaces.

This activity in particular focused on the freedom of speech and shed light on the incidents in Charlottesville, Virginia. The participants were also afforded the opportunity to learn more about students’ involvement in the civil rights movement, 9-11, the rise of Facebook, and the evolution of print and digital media. We rounded out the tour in the NBC News Interactive newsroom, where the participants were able to act as reporters and record their very own news segments. Once they finished their report the video appeared on the screen where visitors of the Newseum can watch your news report. The participants enjoyed their visit and learned plenty of information regarding their First Amendment rights.


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