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Introduction Schedule
Location/Parking Registration
Continuing Education Sponsors

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logo for current First Amendment Congress

The 14th Annual
First Amendment Congress
for High School Students

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This year’s First Amendment Congress is held on Halloween!
Costumes are welcome if approved by your school.
If you dress up, consider a costume related to one of the First Amendment freedoms!

Constitution Hall (map)
University of Central Oklahoma (UCO)
Edmond, Oklahoma

The Annual Congress is hosted by
Freedom of Information Oklahoma, Inc.

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts." —Abraham Lincoln

Our Constitution’s First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, but it doesn’t say anything about honesty.

It doesn’t provide tips on how to tell the difference between fact and opinion, or between journalism and rumor, or knowledge and belief. In this big marketplace of ideas, how do we discern the truth from fiction? How do you become smart consumers of free speech? A special session at the 14th First Amendment Congress looks at this question.

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8:30 AM


Constitution Hall
University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond


Opening Session

How well do you understand the First Amendment provision on freedom of speech? Oklahoma State University associate professor Dr. Joey Senat, our MC for the day, will present examples of challenged speech to enlighten students on this most fundamental of freedoms.


Truth, Lies and the First Amendment

Stretching the truth and telling falsehoods aren’t new—especially during campaign season. In a world where more and more people get their news from “friends” on social media, or via biased cable channels or blogs, how do we know if we’re getting the truth? Have we entered a “post-truth” era as some have suggested? University of Central Oklahoma professor Dr. Mark Hanebutt offers some surprising answers.




New Media and the News

Blogs, vlogs, websites, social media, and other new media are impacting how we read, hear and see the news. This panel of new media practitioners will talk about the impact of this technology on journalism in general, and on their own news products in particular.

Chris Krug, Editor, Monitor Oklahoma
Peter Rudy, Editor, Capitol Reporter
Michael Mason, Editor, This Land Press
Moderator: Alex Cameron, Anchor, News 9—Tulsa

12 PM



Election/Survey Results

Zach D. Taylor Essay Contest winners recognized.


Free Speech Issues for High School Students

Adam Goldstein, attorney advocate for the Student Press Law Center, joins the Congress via Skype to discuss current news and issues related to the First Amendment rights of high schoolers.



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Location and Parking

We'll meet at Constitution Hall in the University Center at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. Enter the campus on Garland Godfrey Drive from Second Street.

To get to Second Street in Edmond, exist east off Broadway or west off I-35. Congress participants are asked to park east and southeast of Constitution Hall.

Congress participants arriving in cars are asked to park east of Constitution Hall. (See map below.) School buses will be given parking instructions when they arrive.

map of campus for parking
click for large map (pdf)

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Registration cost includes lunch and refereshments

Students and Teachers   $5 per person (includes lunch)
$8 each after October 2

All other individuals   $15 (includes lunch)

Scholarship and transportation assistance are available on a limited basis.

To register, or for more information,
please contact the Oklahoma Library Association, 405–525–5100.

Registration deadline is Friday, October 20, 2012

Download invitation and registration form

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Continuing Education

CEU credit is planned for Public Librarian Certification, as is "Verification of Attendance" for educators.

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Oklahoma's First Amendment Congress is sponsored by:

Freedom of Information Oklahoma, Inc.

215 E. 6th Street, Edmond, OK 73034–4602
(405) 341–3169 •

Co-sponsors of the Congress are:

  • Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation
  • Oklahoma Department of Libraries
  • Oklahoma Library Association
  • Oklahoma Newspaper Fund
  • Oklahoma Press Association
  • Oklahoma State University, School of Media and Strategic Communications
  • The Oklahoman
  • University of Central Oklahoma
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Students! Enter our 2012 Essay Contest
and Win Cash Prizes!

Oklahoma high school students are invited to enter the 2012 Zach Taylor First Amendment Congress Essay Contest, sponsored by Freedom of Information Oklahoma. First prize is $300, second place receives $200, and third place prize is $100. Check out the details here!

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