Little things mean a lot at the Newseum

Indianapolis Star column
by Warren Watson

J-Ideas Director Warren Watson blogs regularly for the Indianapolis Star. Here are his latest offerings:

Landmark First Amendment Research
with School Principals launched at Ball State

Ball State’s First Amendment institute has launched a landmark research project with 5,000 high school principals nationwide.

J-Ideas, a 5-year-old effort to support student journalism and First Amendment awareness, is reaching out to 5,000 principals to gauge their knowledge level and support for the First Amendment of the Constitution. The research coincides with Sunshine Week, a national effort to support Freedom of Information, an important principle of the First Amendment. <more>

-Campus free-speech thrives

-Ignoramcer in Palin, Dowd free-speech remarks

-Plainfield pays respect to First Amendment

-Banned Books Week


-Author creates First Amendment 'primer'

-New President must revive Constitution

-Traditional news misses Edwards escapade

-Protesters' rights fenced off

-Social networking pitfalls

-Bad year for traditional news gatherers

-Baseball and the First Amendment

-Principals and the First Amendment

-Remembering a crusader

-Photo ID law bad for voters

-Thoughts from the annual U.S. editors convention

-Need for print journalism remains

-Sunshine:now more than ever

-Mean-spirited fans

-Peter Jennings' legacy

-The First Amendment at the Alamo

-A New museum for news

-Author creates First Amendment 'primer'

-Unlikely First Amendment hero

-Harrison represented Hoosiers proudly

-Online course wraps for the fall

-Religious freedom for all

-Reading is FUN-damental

-Nothing negative

-Blogs grow in influence, but beware of anonymity

-Parent rides the bench after blog posting

-Student journalist's actions serves profession poorly

-Examining free speech online

-Remembering the courageous Elijah Parish Lovejoy

-First Amendment protects unpopular speech, too

Student journalists scoop professional press
By Gerry Appel

In an era where student journalists are often criticized for poor decision-making, one student newspaper should receive praise after scooping its professional counterparts. <more>

-Principal wrong in pulling paper

Mile high with the First Amendment...
By Randy Swikle

We were north of the Mile High City near the Rocky Mountains. The principals were voluntarily descending—not from the tall peaks but from their position abutting the summit of school hierarchy. When they reached level ground, we could see each other more clearly. And clear sight leads to insight. <more

  J-IDEAS was developed at Ball State University to develop and encourage excellence in high school journalism through on-site activities, tailored programs, distance learning and digital activities and scholarship. Our goal is to foster First Amendment and civic awareness in our public and
  private schools, and to bring teachers, students, principals and professional editors together to develop the best and brightest young talent for the journalism profession.
  The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s High
School Initiative seeks to encourage students to use the news media, including student journalism, and to better understand and appreciate the First Amendment. As part of the initiative, the foundation funded this “Future of the First Amendment’’ research project, focusing on the knowledge and attitudes of high school students, teachers and administrators. Specifically, the study seeks to determine whether relationships exist – and, if so, the nature of those relationships – between what teachers and administrators think, and what students do in their classrooms and with news media, and what they know about the First Amendment. is a Web site created
by the Knight Foundation to help teachers educate students on the First Amendment. The Web site consists of four sections. “Teach the First Amendment” features links to lesson plans, DVDs, and other web content. “Start Student Media and Protect Student Journalists” features information from various organizations on how to start up student media in schools. “Get Civics Back in Schools” features links to organizations that can help schools create better, more informed citizens.  “Take the First Amendment Quiz” offers an online quiz and additional First Amendment links.
J-IDEAS offers a variety of products for students, teachers, principals, and

anyone interested in the First Amendment, civics, and journalism. Anchoring the J-IDEAS product line is our teaching DVDs—including a teaching DVD on the First Amendment, a First Amendment DVD for principals and administrators, and a DVD on business practices of scholastic journalism.  In addition, J-IDEAS offers DVDs on business reporting and sports writing.  Other J-IDEAS products, including a book on student expression in a digital age and a documentary by student filmmaker Alex Capogna are also available.

  J-IDEAS hosts a variety of meetings several times a year. Learn about J-IDEAS events, and other conferences in education and journalism, in our calendar.
First Amendment rights for students in the information
age continue to be analyzed and debated. In this section, J-IDEAS presents information from a conference held in partnership with the McCormick Tribune Foundation, including links and information on how to acquire a book produced from presentations at the conference. J-IDEAS also has model policies on digital expression that schools can adopt.
  In its mission to encourage First
Amendment freedoms in schools, J-IDEAS has developed multiple projects in this regard to assist principals and administrators in creating schools that value the First Amendment and a free student media. This section of includes information on the Principals Coalition for the First Amendment, information on an online course for principals and administrators on the First Amendment, and order forms for Quill and Scroll’s “Principal’s Guide to Scholastic Journalism” book and J-IDEAS’ “First Amendment Guide for Principals and Administrators” DVD.
  At J-IDEAS, we work in public policy to help students become better citizens through First
Amendment awareness. J-IDEAS creates coalitions of civics leaders, principals, administrators, teachers, journalists and others. J-IDEAS also helps creates discussion across the country for student expression bills. Among other items, this section of includes information on the J-IDEAS Public Policy Alliance, student expression laws, national journalism stories, and features about topics and people relevant to public policy.
  As part of J-IDEAS’ mission, the
organization hosts, and attends, a variety of conferences and meetings. At these events, J-IDEAS staff members often sit down with friends of the First Amendment before a camera. This page contains video interviews with journalists, students, civic leaders, and more. This page links to videos at and
  Latest News

External Links


Review of Future of the First Amendment

Two Connecticut researchers have become synonymous with the problem of poor First Amendment awareness in the nation’s high schools.

Ken Dautrich and David Yalof, professors at the University of Connecticut and backed by the Knight Foundation, have logged thousands of miles nationwide in developing a series of studies and followups about the First Amendment. more


SPLC Exec. Director talks to Ball State students about 'Digital Freedom'

IHSPA 2008 State Convention: The Convergention

Bloggers and Online News Users are Better Informed on First Amendment

Dautrich and Yalof Publish book on First Amendment


  J-IDEAS is funded in part by the 
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's
High School Initiative
and Ball State University.
J-IDEAS | Department of Journalism
Ball State University | Muncie, Ind. 47306
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