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Society of Professional Journalists host Free Speech Free Food event

By Julie Pawlikowski, second year graduate assistant in the Media Management program

What happens when students give up their 1st Amendment right of free speech for a plate of free food? This is what the Society of Professional Journalists wants to know and will strive to answer that question during their Free Speech Free Food event. Participants will receive a free food of chicken tenders, mac and cheese, sweet tea and desserts and all they have to do in return is give up their free speech right. Members of the Society of Professional Journalists pick the topics participants can talk about and will police them to ensure that participants stay on topic. If a participant refuses to comply, their food will be taken away and they’ll be removed from the event. This is all done to highlight the importance of our 1st Amendment protections of free speech.

The Free Speech Free Food event is held in early October as part of News Engagement Day, which falls on Tuesday, October 3rd this year. News Engagement Day was developed by Paula Poindexter, a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, who worried that news consumption was declining following the emergence of social media. The annual day is devoted to engaging with news and revitalizing the importance of being informed. According to news-excellence.org,  on News Engagement Day “people of all ages across the globe are encouraged to read, watch, listen to, and discuss news as well as share News Engagement Day activities using #newsengagementday.”

The Free Speech Free Food event is open to all participants and will be from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in Union 613. This event is just one of many that the Society of Professional Journalists hosts. The Duquesne University chapter is part of the national organization and provides members with networking and internship opportunity. The organization hosts industry professionals to speak at panels and other events, hosts trips to Washington D.C., and other events concerned with the 1st Amendment and journalistic ethics. To learn more about the Duquesne University chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, follow on Twitter at @duqspj or send an email to duqspj@gmail.com.

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