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JRN 4425 News Stories about Media and the First Amendment
Eight (8) times during this semester (about every two weeks), you will submit a 150-200-word
summary of a news story from any reputable state or national news source in print, on radio,
on TV, or online. Use Times New Roman, 12-pt. type, double-spaced. The story will be about
the intersection of media and the law (the First Amendment, specifically). Not part of the 150200 words will be a description of where you found this news item (N.Y. Times, CNN on TV,
etc.), the title of the story, the date, and URL, if applicable. In addition to the summary of the
story, I’m looking for any insights you might have on why this is an important case or issue
and any implications for journalists, organizations, the media in general, corporations, etc.
You will submit these through Turn-It-In links I will provide on our Blackboard page under
“assignments.” I will read all of them, but will comment on only those that show a lack of
understanding of the assignment or those that show exceptional critical thinking. You will not be
graded per se on the individual summaries, but, as a whole, they will contribute to your
participation grade. If you write one, but are too late getting it into Turn-It-In, it will not count
for that week. (No excuses.) The story MUST come from a news item from that particular week.
(No excuses.) Do not e-mail them to me directly. You will earn 10 pts. per summary up to 7
summaries. If you complete an 8th summary, that one will earn 30 pts. for a total of 100 pts. for
the 8 submissions. If you submit a summary that is plagiarized, doesn’t pertain to the media and
the First Amendment, or is inferior in some other way, you will receive no pts. for it.
If there is anything you do not understand about this assignment, please ask questions about it in
class so everyone can become informed! The due day and time will be on Fridays at 5 p.m.
beginning on Friday of the second week of classes. The link for the following week opens at 8
a.m. on Saturdays.
Example of a Good Summary: This could have been improved by mentioning that this is an
invasion of privacy and indicating other repercussions besides suicide, such as job losses,
Ashley Madison is a Canada-based website catering to people who are married and
looking to have affairs. The site was recently hacked, leading to the exposure of detailed
information belonging to all of Ashley Madison’s clients. Clients’ information was released
worldwide by the hackers, deeming the situation one of the most successful attempts of data
breaches worldwide. The company responsible for Ashley Madison was broken into last month
and this hack follows. Those caught up in the scandal include United States government
employees who have jobs in law enforcement and national security. Those employees are said to
have used their work networks to access the website. Ashley Madison’s parent company will pay
500,000 Canadian dollars for any information that could lead to the arrest of the hackers. The
FBI has been asked to assist with the investigation of the hack. Two suicides have been linked to
the case since the incident surfaced, but they have not been verified as a result of the breach.
Example of a Fair-to-Poor Summary: This could have been improved by mentioning how this
pertains to the First Amendment. For example, what are the “fundamental rights” she was
referring to, and how do they have an effect on this Supreme Court decision? In addition, the link
to the original article is not given. It is also almost twice as long as instructed.
Kentucky Clerk Defies Court on Same Sex Marriages
Kim Davis, the county clerk at Rowan County Court house, dramatically brought all
activities in the courthouse to a standstill. This is because she defiantly refused to issue couples
of the same sex, a marriage certificate despite a clear law from the Supreme Court approving
such unions. The courts house was jammed by angry gay and lesbian couples who felt Ms. Davis
was infringing into their fundamental rights. Despite this pressure from the many couples, Ms.
Davis did not budge or relent; in fact she told the journalist present that she was following a
directive from God. Having taken office in January, from her mother who had served in a similar
capacity for 37 years, Ms. Davis reiterated that same sex marriages opposed her religious views
and she would never sanction them as long as she was the clerk (Blinder & Pérez-Peña, 2015).
Early in the week, Ms. Davis had gone to court to object on the issuance of marriage
certificates to gay, lesbian and even straight couples, arguing it was against religious
backgrounds. The case was heard by the Supreme Court, but it was not obliged. The same
Supreme Court in June, 2015 following a case of Obergefell vs. Hodges, established a law to be
followed nationwide where it makes same sex marriages a constitutional right. This directive has
been met by heavy opposition, especially by the religious faithful, Ms. Davis acting as an
example. Other states like Alabama have experienced over 11 counties where the administration
refused to issue same sex marriage licenses. Legal experts have termed what Ms. Davis and other
administrations are doing as illegal and actually denying Americans their constitutional rights.
Ms. Davis and similar minded people could be held in contempt of court and risk being jailed or
fined. The advice from the experts is that the times are changing and we should not be held back
by religious connotations.
Example of a Poor Summary: This could have been improved by mentioning how this pertains
to the First Amendment. For example, does the First Amendment protect the press from criticism
by Trump? What does the First Amendment say about the press? Twenty-five percent of this was
plagiarized from the original source. The typeface is not Times New Roman, 12 pt., and it is
single-spaced. Also, the grammar and punctuation are poor, and the plural of “journalist” is
“journalists.” DO NOT FORGET THIS. Legal cases are always italicized.
Kareem Abdul-‐Jabbar wrote an article for the Washington Post comparing Presidential
Candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. The portion of the article that discussed Donald
Trump interested me the most. Kareem Abdul-‐Jabbar reported this week that Donald Trump,
US Presidential candidate, consistently attacks the First Amendment’s protection of a freedom
of press. Donald Trump menaces journalist who attend his campaign in hopes to stifle other
journalist who might want to ask tough but reasonable questions towards the candidate.
In the most recent event, Fox correspondent, Megyn Kelly, went on planned vacation
after Trump threatening her, “I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not
be, based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn’t do that.” He also stated that she had
an attitude during the GOP debate on Fox. This was not the first time Trump had conflict with
the press. Trump refused to give Des Moines Register’s reporters credentials to attend his
campaign even in Iowa in July after the paper suggested Trump should withdraw from the
campaign. Donald Trump has also referred to journalist as “losers” or “unintelligent” because
he felt they treated him harshly since their views did not agree with his.
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