The First Amendment through my unfiltered eyes

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment didn’t mean much to me personally before this course, but after completing the reading I was assigned to on Blackboard by my professor, my value for the amendment has risen. As I start my career as a visual journalist I have noted that the First Amendment allows us to be in position to take pictures of whatever we wish, with certain restrictions in areas. After my reading, I put my comprehension to the test with the Press Freedom Quiz and performed pretty well to my standards (9 out a possible 10!!!).

The First Amendment should be read and understood by anyone beginning their journalism career because it gives you the rules and regulations of being a visual journalist. One of the aspects of this amendment that stood out to me was that everyone is protected by this amendment, not just persons over the age of 18. High school kids and younger can exercise this amendment when covering stories for their school’s paper. High school kids are allowed to speak on whatever topic they wish without being censored by their school. This allows more information to be given to the student body that reads the newspaper or follows the school’s social media accounts.

The press freedom issue is covered extensively in one of the links assigned to me, its about how young journalists need to know their protection laws when writing stories. According to the Student Press Law Center, The Supreme Court’s Tinker standard protects every K-12 student’s right to lawful, non-disruptive speech, this is just one of the handful examples of press freedom.


What does Amendment I mean to me as a collegiate photojournalism student? It gives me the reassurance for when I go out to shoot projects, I know where I stand and am able to do the necessary requirements of my assignment with freedom. This also translates to my future as a visual journalist and the knowledge of what freedoms I’m capable of when out on the job.

Amendment I gives journalists of all ages the understanding of their boundaries when out reporting and taking pictures for stories. There are only a few limitations that Amendment I can’t protect you from out in the field but apart from those, the mind of a visual journalist can still think creatively within those limits.


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