Tuesday, April 08, 2008

3rd in Student 1st Amendment Essay Contest Goes to Stockton Student

Stephanie Tucker
Grade 12 – Stockton High School, Stockton, Mo.
Teacher: Kim Chism Jasper

Free to be Informed

“Write what only you can write,” my English instructor repeats constantly. In our class my instructor challenges us to write a paper that makes a reader second-guess or question their beliefs. You might ask yourself, “What gives someone the right to publish an essay that questions a society’s beliefs?” The answer is free media.

I am a senior in high school and co-editor of the yearbook. As yearbook editor my job is to oversee the work of the staff members and make decisions regarding what events to cover in our book. As a staff we take hundreds of photos each year to compile in our annual book. We have the freedom to include any image or story we want without having to answer to anyone. Without free media our yearbook staff would not be able to write and include the stories that we do. We would not be able to achieve our sole purpose, which is to inform the public.

“Educate and inform the whole masses of the people… They are the only sure reliance for preservation of our liberty,” said Thomas Jefferson, an advocate for free media, and I have him to thank for one of the most used freedom I have. He believed that in order for a society to flourish, the citizens must be well educated and informed of their surroundings. Free media may seem simple and irrelevant to the masses, but without free media the masses would not be able to make daily decisions.

This November our country will make one of the most important decisions regarding our future. We will elect a leader who will represent our society for the next four years and serve as our president. This will be the first presidential election I will be allowed to vote in. I am nervous about making the right decision and choosing a president that will serve me.

In order to make a more informed decision I watch the presidential debates, read articles in the newspaper, and listen to reports on the news. Without the free media, it would be impossible for an 18-year-old student to make an educated decision and vote for the right candidate.

Whether I am doing a task as simple as creating a yearbook to cover a school year or making the important decision of whom to vote for, I rely on the media to inform me. Without free media, I would not be able to save a moment in a yearbook or to save our country with a single vote.


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