Ken Paulson on the First Amendment

March 05, 2015
First Amendment Center president and CEO Ken Paulson narrates a performance of “Freedom Sings,” a musical tribute to free speech in America, told through rock, pop, hip-hop and country music.

First Amendment Center president and CEO Ken Paulson narrates a performance of “Freedom Sings,” a musical tribute to free speech in America, told through rock, pop, hip-hop and country music.

Courtesy of The Tennessean

Here's a little quiz… What rights are guaranteed under the first amendment? If you said freedom of speech, you're doing pretty well, but, there are four more. A presentation Tuesday night on the University of Illinois campus aimed to boost our understanding of the rights granted by the first amendment – and the debates that often accompany them – through rock, pop, hip-hop and country music. It was called, "Freedom Sings: Speech, Civility and the University of Illinois." Ken Paulson created Freedom Sings more than 15 years ago as a way to help people, especially college students, understand the importance of the first amendment. 

Ken Paulson has what may be the perfect background for an expert on the first amendment… a former radio DJ, he worked at the Daily Illini while earning a law degree from the U of I. He went on to serve as editor-in-chief of USA Today.  And now he's president and CEO of the First Amendment Center. He's also the creator of the musical, multimedia production, Freedom Sings. Illinois Public Media's Amanda Honigfort spoke with him after the event on Tuesday night about issues ranging from the future of the First Amendment, to the Steven Salaita case, to the future of journalism in the digital age. 

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