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Civic Education: Resource Hub: First Amendment: Freedom Of The Press Inside A Working Democracy

Resource hub for faculty participating in the Teagle Foundation American Civic Life Infusion Initiative

Module Objectives

This is a thematic unit that focuses on how the Press functions as an important watchdog in a democracy. Students will specifically be focusing on Amendment I in the Bill of Rights and will begin the unit by unpacking the implications of this amendment, focusing on what true freedom means in the context of a free press.

Essential Questions:

  • How does a free Press function as an important watchdog institution inside a Democracy?
  • As citizens within our democracy, how can we consume information responsibly to encourage the continuing function of the press within our free society?

Essay of Final Project Prompt:  

This final project will be a culmination of several assignments. This will include an approximate 4-5 page analysis of how news is generated and consumed in our culture. Students will have to choose one topic or issue. For example, they might choose something like vaccines or an event that is timely like the Impeachment Inquiry. They will have to read articles from both reliable and unreliable sources, sources that skew to the left and to the right. Then, they will write an analysis of how that topic was covered.

Unit Created by Jackie Scott

Please contact Jamie Witman, Online Learning Librarian, for help locating resources for your unit.

The library also offers instruction sessions that are fully customizable: http://libraryguides.ccbcmd.edu/Faculty101/libraryinstruction

Part 1 Resources

Read the following:

Discuss with your group the following questions using the Constitution Center's "What is the First Amendment?":

  • What are some types of speech that are not fully protected by the First Amendment?
  • What has the Supreme Court ruled regarding the Pentagon Papers?
  • What has the Supreme Court ruled regarding Snepp v. United States?

Part 2 Resources

Introduction to All The President's Men

Review the Three Branches of Government - Legislative, Executive and Judicial as part of checks and balances.

 

Think about what happens if all of the branches of government subscribe to the same ideological principals? Who keeps those branches in check then?

The Press is the Fourth Estate—in other words, the Press should function as a fourth branch of our checks and balances.

Research the following (just a simple Google Search will do):

**Make sure to do your search and discussion before you read the book chapters**

  • Incident at Chappaquiddick
  • Pentagon Papers
  • US Relationship with Cuba
  • Vietnam War
  • Watergate and Nixon

Read All The President's Men

The Catonsville Library has one copy of this book available.


Watch All The President's Men as a class

Part 3 Resources

Review the following:

Discuss with your group the following questions using the Constitution Center's "What is the First Amendment?":

  • What are some types of speech that are not fully protected by the First Amendment?
  • What has the Supreme Court ruled regarding the Pentagon Papers?
  • What has the Supreme Court ruled regarding Snepp v. United States?

Supplemental Resources

Review and Read the following:

Library Resources

Check each week's box for library databases, help, and more.

For help with MLA Citations see our library guide: http://libraryguides.ccbcmd.edu/Citations/mla8

Students can request a Research Assistance Program Appointment with a Librarian or ask the Librarian at the desk any time for help with research or citations!

More Databases: