First Amendment

ASNE supports the First Amendment by keeping its membership informed of key developments and by initiating educational programs about the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. ASNE is proud to support the following endeavors:
First Amendment Editorials
Members can keep up-to-date on First Amendment issues by reading articles on the ASNE First Amendment blog. Members are encouraged to submit editorials and articles for publication on the ASNE blog.
Freedom of Information
ASNE vigorously advocates for freedom of information and government access issues. Recent efforts include opposing legislation related to unauthorized disclosures of classified information that would hinder national security reporting and opposing Internet and cybersecurity bills. ASNE recently joined with other organizations in questioning the independence of the government agency responsible for improving the administration of FOIA. 

Free Legal Counsel and Amicus Briefs
ASNE members enjoy free legal consultation with Legal Counsel Kevin M. Goldberg. Additionally, Kevin works to protect the First Amendment and lobby for legislation important to ASNE interests. ASNE also supported federal Anti-SLAPP legislation that would make it more difficult to file frivolous defamation lawsuits against news organizations. This past year, ASNE has joined at least a dozen amicus briefs in cases before the United States Supreme Court, federal district courts and state supreme courts on issues ranging from FOIA to reporter’s privilege to access to courtrooms and court files.
Sunshine Week
This annual event, held each March to coincide with James Madison’s birthday, was launched by ASNE in 2005. It draws public attention to the importance of open and transparent government. Sunshine Week empowers people to take an active role at all levels of government. Participants now include civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others advocating for the public’s right to know.

Past Endeavors

1 for All
This national initiative provides teaching materials to schools and supports educational programs at colleges through partnerships with local and national First Amendment experts. Grants are available for both high schools and colleges planning First Amendment events. 1 for All reminds the public that the First Amendment serves everyone, regardless of faith, race, gender or political leanings. ASNE encourages its members to become Friends of 1 for All.

Free To Tweet
This online celebration of First Amendment rights -- held in 2011, 2012 and 2013 -- encouraged high school and college students to tweet about the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. Five students with the best tweets from each year won $5,000 scholarships. The contest generated thousands of creative and insightful tweets about our freedoms of speech, prayer, petition, assembly and press.

2007 First Amendment Summit
On Jan. 18, 2007, ASNE convened an emergency summit of 100 newsroom leaders, national security experts, lawyers and others concerned about the compelled disclosure of confidential sources. Key video excerpts from this important day are archived here.

First Amendment Sponsors
ASNE is grateful to the sponsors and co-sponsors of its First Amendment initiatives throughout the years:
Bloomberg News

First Amendment Center

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

McCormick Foundation


Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Gridiron Club

The Poynter Institute