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Free Press in a Free Society

In 1999, the Institute began developing Free Press in a Free Society, a First Amendment education project.  The program is free to schools and organizations and relies on volunteer lawyers to moderate panels in their local high schools and at events for high school students, drawing on local reporters and legal experts to educate students on First Amendment press issues.  The goal of the program is to educate high school students on First Amendment values in the context of the real life issues and dilemmas faced by the working press.

Free Press in a Free Society programs have been held in Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Among the reporters, editors, law enforcement experts and lawyers who have participated in the Free Press in a Free Society program are: David Diaz (WCBS-TV); Stephen Engelberg (The New York Times); David Gelber (60 Minutes); Rikki Klieman (Court TV); Len Levitt (Newsday); Larry Neumeister (Associated Press); Juliet Papa (1010 WINS); Eric Shawn (Fox News); Lou Young (WCBS-TV); Commissioner Paul Browne (NYPD); Neil Herman (former FBI counter terrorism expert); Zachary Carter (former federal court judge); the Honorable Emily Jane Goodman (Supreme Court State of New York); Jack Litman (Litman, Asche & Gioiella); and Solomon Watson (General Counsel, The New York Times Company).

With support from the First Amendment Center, MLRC Institute has created a detailed program handbook that contains strategies for producing and moderating these seminars.  The handbook also has three fully developed hypothetical scenarios that can be used as a basis for a seminar as well as a videotape of a seminar.

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