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Editorials

  • GUEST OPINION: When zero tolerence is zero judgment

    By DAVID L. HUDSON Jr.
    First Amendment Center
    Kids shouldn’t be suspended for relatively innocent acts, particularly if they involve speech not intended to cause harm. Yet many public school officials overreact, even imposing suspensions or expulsions on kids for what often are innocent comments or juvenile acts.

  • GUEST OPINION: Journalists face attacks, death in much of world

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    The world news items about reporters killed, news organizations harassed, and unsolved crimes committed against journalists in other nations come nearly daily, generally in one or two paragraphs at most in a newspaper or online.

    These attacks around the globe demonstrate the huge difference between press freedom as we know it in the United States and press freedom elsewhere.

  • GUEST OPINION: Confederate prom dress doesn’t pass muster

    It’s not often that a prom dress triggers a First Amendment controversy, but a Tennessee high school student’s attire did just that.

    Gibson County High School student Texanna Edwards was turned away from her high school prom on April 21 because she was wearing a dress that bore a striking resemblance to a Confederate flag. According to the Jackson Sun, school administrators viewed the dress as inappropriate and potentially offensive.

  • Our Opinion: Tweets and courts really can co-exist

    Twitter has become a tool of the trade for America’s journalists, but judges are grappling with how to deal with the messaging in courtrooms.

    According to an article by the Associated Press, “the micro-blogging site is increasingly putting reporters on a collision course with judges who fear it could threaten a defendant’s right to a fair trial.”

    We’ve been down this path before, most notably with television.

  • OUR OPINION: Harriman’s leadership shows again

    It has been a big spring for the city of Harriman.

    Despite criticism from some, officials there have formally opened their beautifully refurbished grand old theater.

    We are inclined to agree with those who believe the Princess Theatre will stop the decline and restore the heart and soul to Harriman’s downtown.

    City officials also have garnered major support in their idea to turn the old Roane Medical Center, which will be abandoned when the new hospital is completed in Midtown, into a Veterans Affairs hospital.

  • Inside the First Amendment: Public info needs context, interpretation

    By Gene Policinski
    First Amendment Center
    The recently announced move by Encyclopaedia Britannica to end its print editions after 244 years of publishing came by happenstance in the middle of Sunshine Week, an annual campaign nationwide in support of freedom of information.

    The great general reference work for many generations will continue in digital form, like so much of the news, information, literature and art of our age.

  • GUEST OPINION: There’s still good news in journalism

    By Gene Policinski
    First Amendment Center
    The nation’s editors are gathering in Washington, D.C., for the annual convention of the American Society of News Editors — and the good news is the April 2-4 convention once again is being held in hotel meeting rooms, not on the ledges.

    Yes, there are continuing signs of economic trouble for the business of newsgathering and distribution — in particular for newspapers, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

  • GUEST OPINION: Dissenting judge makes sense in case against kid

    By DAVID L. HUDSON Jr.
    First Amendment Center
    Dissenting opinions obviously don’t have the force of law that majority opinions do.

    But that doesn’t mean they aren’t better reasoned. Recall that Justice John Marshall Harlan (the first one) was known as “the Great Dissenter” in part for his solitary dissent in the abhorrent Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), in which the Court sanctioned segregation and the noxious separate-but-equal doctrine.

  • GUEST OPINION: United States walks walk on free speech

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    At the height of the controversy over the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act debate, critics of the bills described them as an assault on Internet freedom and the subversion of the First Amendment.

    The advocates had a point. The proposed laws were arguably overbroad, and we should all be very careful before we give government greater latitude in shutting down websites.

    Still, it’s striking to see what a real attack on Internet freedom looks like.

  • Journalists’ work as watchdogs unquestionable

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    There’s a running joke among journalists that they went into the news business because they didn’t do well in math.
    As a longtime journalist who struggled with freshman algebra, I can relate.
    Still, even those of us with anxiety about numbers have come to embrace the investigative value of data.
    Number-crunching and access to public records drive some of the news media’s most powerful and important reporting, including these examples from the past year: