First Amendment: Press

Students explore the scope and limitations of the First Amendment provision that protects Freedom of the Press. The lesson poses a hypothetical scenario involving student journalists handling private information. After a brief class discussion, students investigate the history, various interpretations, and modern relevance of First Amendment Freedom of the Press protections in the Interactive Constitution. The lesson builds on the Freedom of Speech lesson plan by asking students to compare and contrast the freedoms of speech and press through discussion questions including: How are speech and press related? and How are speech and press key to democratic functions? Students will demonstrate understanding by applying Supreme Court decisions, including the AP Government and Politics required case New York Times Co. v. United States, to evaluate the scenario presented earlier in the lesson.

Essential Questions:

  • Does the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protect the Freedom of Press?
  • Why is the protection of the press important in a democracy?
  • Why was the protection of the press so important to the Founders? Why does it remain important to American democracy today?

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Classroom Materials

The lesson builds on the Freedom of Speech lesson plan by asking students to compare and contrast the freedoms of speech and press.

 

Download the Lesson Plan

 

Explore the Interactive Constitution:

FREE SPEECH and Press: COMMON INTERPRETATION

FREE SPEECH and Press: COMMON INTERPRETATION

By Geoffrey R. Stone and Eugene Volokh

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MATTERS OF DEBATE: FIXING FREE SPEECH

MATTERS OF DEBATE: FIXING FREE SPEECH

By Geoffrey R. Stone, Interim Dean and Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School

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MATTERS OF DEBATE: FRONTIERS FOR FREE SPEECH

MATTERS OF DEBATE: FRONTIERS FOR FREE SPEECH

By Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

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