MADISON — The Madison Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, with the cooperation of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, is sponsoring a college publication contest to promote the First Amendment.
The contest is named after John Patrick Hunter, a former Madison Capital Times reporter, who focused attention on First Amendment rights in the 1950s when scores of people declined to sign a typed portion of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights at a local park.
Student journalists can submit material associated with some aspect of protecting the use of the First Amendment in their community or on campus during the contest period. Up to $250 in prizes will be awarded.
Any items published or aired between Sept.1, 2018 and March 30, 2019 defending or advocating the right to assembly, freedoms of the press, religion, speech and the right for citizens to petition their government will be considered.
The John Patrick Hunter First Amendment Award for student journalists seeks opinion or editorial columns on the subject as well as stories reflecting current issues surrounding the First Amendment on their campuses or communities.
Attention on First Amendment rights has been in the forefront of the news nationally and internationally as citizens have taken to the streets to protest police shootings, governments seeking to silence the press, politicians attacking the press as providing “fake” news and others attacking religious freedoms.
Protests on college campuses also have focused attention on student rights of freedom of expression.
Sam Martino, a retired journalism instructor and Madison SPJ Chapter member, said its critical in a representative democracy for students to support the protection of the First Amendment.
Contest winners in editorial writing and news presentation will be announced at the WNA convention in early 2019.
Entries should be submitted to the SPJ Madison chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org