Archives: freedom of speech

American Library Association’s list of “most challenged books” for 2020

June 1, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, First Amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, journalism.

Chances are, there’s a group in your community that wants to dictate what books you and your children can read. They often do this by telling public libraries what they should not put on the shelves. Most libraries resist this kind of pressure, and the American Library Association keeps track of these challenges. Here is • Read More »

Unity and the lack thereof – American style

November 30, 2020 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, freedom of speech, history, journalism, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

In the immediate aftermath of political campaigns, the winner (and sometimes even the loser) appeals for “unity,” which often means in real-speak, “I want you to agree with me now that I am in power.” Such appeals, possibly well-meant, rarely have much effect on either supporters or opponents. But it sounds good, and it’s expected. • Read More »

PBS Frontline confronts the Facebook Dilemma

November 19, 2018 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: freedom of speech, journalism, news, reporting.

Some people spend hours a day on Facebook; others have never seen it and actively avoid it. Some people have strongly partisan views, one way or another, which may color their view of Facebook. In my view, it doesn’t matter whether or not you “like” Facebook, or whether you are red or blue or any • Read More »

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Yes, people are still trying to ban books. And they should be opposed.

September 19, 2018 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, First Amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, journalism.

You can shield yourself from ideas that make you uncomfortable or that you disagree with. You may be able, to some extent, to limit the exposure that the young people in your care have to those ideas. But you cannot shield your community from the things you disagree with. That’s called censorship, and in any practical • Read More »

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The purpose of great literature: to make people comfortable

February 14, 2018 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: First Amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, journalism.

That’s what school officials in Duluth, Minnesota (and a few other places, unfortunately) would have you believe. The school system in Duluth is the latest to remove To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the required reading list for ninth graders. The reason they give: the language used in these books • Read More »

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Another painting giveaway; Amazon gift cards; Pliny the Younger, Rome’s great eyewitness reporter; newsletter, Feb. 2, 2018

February 5, 2018 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, newsletter, watercolor, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (4,222) on Friday, February 2, 2018. Hi, I watched a super moon, a blood moon, and a lunar eclipse this week. Not as spectacular as the solar eclipse we saw last summer but still pretty phenomenal. Nature has its moments — many of them, in fact, if we would • Read More »

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J. K. Rowling on freedom of expression

September 7, 2017 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: First Amendment, freedom of speech, journalism.

J.K. Rowling has a point of view: Intolerance of alternative viewpoints is spreading to places that make me, a moderate and a liberal, most uncomfortable. Only last year, we saw an online petition to ban Donald Trump from entry to the U.K. It garnered half a million signatures. Just a moment.   I find almost • Read More »

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In which I answer the question, “What’s next?”, part 2: the suffrage ladies and me

April 21, 2016 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: Alice Paul, freedom of speech, history, journalism, news, photojournalism, Voting, writing.

The suffrage ladies may not be done with me. Those were the women who, between 1910 and 1920, affected the most profound change in the make-up of the electorate in the history of the Republic. In 2013, Seeing Suffrage was published by the University of Tennessee Press. The book was about the 1913 Washington suffrage • Read More »

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The First Amendment, Luther Baldwin and the Alien and Sedition Acts

December 21, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: First Amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, Home, journalism education.

University of Tennessee professor Dwight Teeter discusses the case of Luther Baldwin, a New Jersey man who was prosecuted under the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Baldwin became a symbol of Federalist intolerance during the 1800 presidential election.

This video is part of the Tennessee Journalism Series and was produced and edited by Jim Stovall.

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How we got the First Amendment (video)

December 17, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: First Amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, history, Home, journalism, journalism education, teaching journalism.

In this two-and-a-half minute video, Dr. Dwight Teeter explains some of the political maneuvering that occurred to get the an amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech into the hotly-debated Constitution in the late 1780s. The freedoms protected by the amendment — religion, speech, press, assembly and petition — were not foremost in the minds of the Founding Fathers. Discussion questions are included with this video.

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