SPJ hosts Free Speech Week at Tarleton

By Jenna Hagan – 

America is defined by the voices spoken aloud. George Washington once said, “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

The Media Institute created Free Speech Week in 2005, and it is celebrated during the third full week of October every year to show citizens that speaking their mind is something that should not be taken for granted.

On Oct. 21-27, Tarleton’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will be inviting Tim Madigan, Donnis Baggett, and Gayle Reaves-King to speak about Free Speech Week and how it applies to them. Madigan is an author and writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and will speak Tuesday, Oct. 22. Baggett is a former newspaper editor and publisher and is currently the executive vice president of the Texas Press Association. He will speak Wednesday, Oct. 23, and Reaves-King of the Fort Worth Weekly will speak Thursday, Oct. 24.

Members of the Tarleton chapter of SPJ designed buttons commemorating Free Speech Week. The buttons are free and will be handed out in front of the library throughout the week. (Photo courtesy of Society of Professional Journalists at Tarleton)

Members of the Tarleton chapter of SPJ designed buttons commemorating Free Speech Week. The buttons are free and will be handed out in front of the library throughout the week.
(Photo courtesy of Society of Professional Journalists at Tarleton)

You can do your part by becoming familiar with the First Amendment. The First Amendment gives us not only freedom of speech, but freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and the ability to voice your opinion to the government.

For FSW, people are encouraged to use their voice on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and any other media based application to say what they have to say.

There are organizations all over the
United States that are affiliated with FSW, such as the American Bar Association, the Bill of Rights Institute, the Broadcast Education Association, the Clear Education Association, and many others.

Tarleton’s SPJ president, Rachel Peoples, is very eager to get the Tarleton Campus involved in FSW.

“We want to raise awareness and get students involved with their right to free speech in our nation – what it is precisely and how we should exercise it responsibly,” she said.

A presentation board in celebration of FSW will be on display in the Dick Smith Library, and SPJ members will be handing out buttons in front of the library Monday, Oct. 21 and Tuesday, Oct. 22.

Download the Free Speech Flier here.

Free Speech Week Events:

Tuesday, October 22
Covering Sexual Harrassment and Sexual Assault
Tim Madigan
Nursing 103
12:05 – 1 p.m.

Wednesday, October 23
The First Amendment and Its Impact on Texas Newspapers
Donnis Baggett
Nursing 103
12:05 – 1 p.m.

Thursday, October 24
Why Journalism and Free Speech Are More Important Now Than Ever
Gayle Reaves-King
Nursing 107
12:05 – 1 p.m.


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