At the behest of Kyu Ho Youm, then president-elect of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), and under the auspices of AEJMC and the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, 20 leading communication/media scholars, mostly members of AEJMC, gathered in Eugene, Oregon on April 12, 2013, for a summit on the future of a free press.
An opportunity for AEJMC and its members to play a leadership role in defining the terms of the debate over what “freedom of the press” means, where it applies, and what it requires, the summit provided a venue for a critical assessment of – among other key areas of inquiry – the history and future of the nexus between popular sovereignty and public expression. Looking beyond the First Amendment and other constitutional/statutory protections for a free press, the summit stood an invitation to explore the contradictions, tensions and paradoxes that characterize enduring and emerging discussions about the scope and purpose of free press claims.
The summit began and ended with a discussion among all 20 participants, but most of the day was devoted to four concurrent meetings, each focused on a distinguishable set of ideas and issues, and each limited to five participants. Each of these smaller discussions was assigned a discussion leader, who identified and distributed reading material, facilitated the discussion, and prepared a brief report summarizing the discussion and highlighting whatever consensus or conclusions the group reached. Taken together, these four reports, combined with excerpts from transcripts of the discussions, constitute this report on “Freedom of the Press in the Twenty-First Century: An Agenda for Thought and Action.”
We hope that the presentation of this report at AEJMC’s annual conference in August 2013 in Washington, D.C., will enable other members of AEJMC to revisit, revise and otherwise continue the discussion we began in Eugene.
Theodore L. Glasser, Stanford University
Timothy W. Gleason, University of Oregon