Three Region 6 Schools Celebrating the First Amendment

The First Amendment will be getting a lot of attention on three campuses in Region 6 in the next few weeks. I’d like to share details of those events with you here. If you’re near these areas, stop by and check them out!

St. Cloud State University SPJ Student Chapter: First Amendment Forum

SCSU has been hosting this annual forum for nearly 40 years.  This year’s event is entitled “Have the Watchdogs Lost Their Bark?” It focuses on the past, present, and future of investigative reporting.

The forum takes place Friday, April 15th at the Atwood Little Theatre on the SCSU campus.

The event begins at 9 a.m. with a welcome, followed by the panel discussion “The Way We Were”. An expert panel will look back at the history of investigative/watchdog journalism. Panelists include:

-Joe Rigert, former IRE president & retired Star Tribune reporter/author

-Maura Lerner, Star Tribune reporter

-Bob Cowan, WCCO-TV photojournalist

-Lee Rood, Des Moines Register project team leader

At 11:15 a.m., the Defense of the First Amendment Award will be presented to John Bodette, executive editor of the St. Cloud Times

At 1:30 p.m., the second panel of the program focuses on the future of investigative/watchdog journalism. Bodette will moderate with panelists:

-Devlyn Brooks, Forum Communications columnist

-Dave Unze, St. Cloud Times Reporter

-Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV reporter

-Lee Rood, Des Moines Register project team leader

First Amendment Free Food Festival at University of Minnesota and UW-Eau Claire

Two Region 6 SPJ chapters will host First Amendment Free Food Festivals this year.  The FAFFF is a program that has been put on by more than a dozen SPJ student chapters around the country.

The premise is simple: are you willing to give up your first amendment rights in exchange for a free lunch? If you say “yes”, you have to sign away your rights to freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition.

The University of Minnesota Student Chapter will hold its first-ever FAFFF on Tuesday, April 19th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Coffman Plaza, outside Coffman Union. They’ll have food from Qdoba, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Raising Canes.

The UW-Eau Claire Student Chapter will hold its second-annual FAFF on Wednesday, April 20th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the campus mall.  Last year’s event even got national attention on Fox & Friends.

Check out the YouTube video of the Fox interview with two UWEC SPJ members.

So, are you willing to trade your first amendment rights to fill your belly?

Defending the First Amendment and promoting open government are more crucial now than ever. Join SPJ's fight for the public’s right to know — either as an SPJ Supporter or a professional, student or retired journalist.


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