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Chapter 1









The First Amendment says that Congress can’t create a law that would abridge the freedom of the press (see Box 1-2 in the textbook).  Do you think that the news media should be free to publish whatever they want?  Do you think Congress should make laws prohibiting certain kinds of ideas, words or images from ever appearing in the news media?  How about profane words?  Or quotes that contain bullying or hate speech?  Or quotes that contain lies?  Certain images?




Suppose, now that you’re in a journalism class, a friend or family member asks your advice on some good news sites to check out.  Find two or three to recommend.  In writing, list them and also answer the following questions:  Why did you select them?  What features of good journalism do they exhibit?


Read the following stories. Then, for each, write a 200- to 300-word response to the following questions: In what ways do you see the journalist performing the watchdog function of the press? How would you describe the public duty the journalist is performing?


a.  Police: sex stings not entrapment 

b.  Annual traffic fatalities 




Go to and click to the winners for the most recent year. Select one of the following categories—public service, investigative reporting, local reporting—and click on the “winners” article. Then:

a.  Click on the first print news story, meaning the top one. (You may see a timeline or graphic at the top of the list of works.  If that’s the case, scroll down to the first news story. But come back to check out the other work later!)


b.  Read the story carefully looking for ways that the journalist(s) are fulfilling the watchdog function and performing their public duty.

c.  Write a 200- to 300-word description of your findings. 

d.  Repeat steps a-c for a second category.

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