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Sept. 22: Discussion of “Who's First Amendment? Reclaiming the Public Interest in Our Media”

Sheila Kennedy and Andrea Price lead a Constititonal Cafe discussion about the contemporary meaning of the First Amendment as part of My Daily Constitution

When: Friday, September 22 Non – 1:00 PM

Where: Indiana Repertory Theatre: 140 West Washington Street Indianapolis 46204

It sure isn't your father's media: five mega-corporations own most of the country's newspapers and broadcasters, while bloggers and internet sites proliferate. What is news, what is "infotainment"? Where do Americans get the information required for informed voting and self-government? What kinds of information are protected by the First Amendment, and why? This discussion will examine Freedom of the Press, blogs, traditional news outlets, "Net Neutrality", the ongoing efforts to revive public access in Indianapolis, and more!

This discussion will be led by Sheila Kennedy and Andrea Price. Sheila is an Associate Professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, where she teaches law and public policy. She is a member of Indiana University Philanthropic Studies faculty, a Faculty Fellow with both the Center for Religion and American Culture in the School of Liberal Arts and the Tobias Center of the Kelley School of Business, and an adjunct professor of political science. She has practiced law in Indianapolis, served on the city’s Corporation Counsel, was president of a real estate development company from 1997-1992, and was Executive Director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, a position she held until she joined the faculty of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs in 1998.

Andrea Price is President of the Board for Public Access of Indianapolis, Inc. (PAI), a non-profit organization that promotes community-based media and is working to restore public access television in Indianapolis. A native of Indianapolis, Andrea is a graduate of Arlington High School and the University of Notre Dame where she received a B.S. in computer engineering and a B.A. in modern languages. She has worked in the computer industry for 20 years.

Well, Sheila and Andrea have commited themselves to discussing an awful lot of issues in an hour! Things may move quickly, so you will want to know what everyone is talking about. Read some news stories about the news media, and recent stories about the First Amendment. (The First Amendment makes the news media the only private industry specifically mentioned in the Constitution ... keep that in mind when you are in a trivia contest.) For some differing perspectives on blogging check out this article on "warblogs," this one from Christianity Today, and this one on political blogs. Wikipedia explains "net neutrality," a concept with many techie implications not really relevant to the discussion Sept. 22. That why you should read some recent news articles, and check out satirical "public service announcements" posted here, especially the one from the Daily Show.

Public Access Indiana has a very good collection of articles and links to resources about the news media and public access TV.

About the venue: The Indiana Repertory Theatre is the only non-profit Indiana resident theatre that produces a full season of plays using full-time professionals. Three doctoral students from Indiana University-Bloomington founded the IRT in 1972 after their nation-wide search for a theatre location led them to Indianapolis. The first eight seasons of the theatre were held in the Athenaeum, a building constructed for Indianapolis German societies in the late 1890s. In 1980, the IRT moved to its current location, the Indiana Theatre, a Spanish Baroque movie palace. The IRT is designated as Indiana’s “Theatre Laureate” and puts on nine productions each season.

If you like this event ... You'll certainly want to attend the Democracy Plaza discussions of free speech moderated by Susan Erickson and Art Farnsley. And for a frame of reference, watch the documentary Control Room about al-Jazeera, part of the MDC Film Festival.

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