First Amendment Week

The Eastern Kentucky University SPJ chapter was announced as the national Campus Program of the Year Award recipient by the Society of Professional Journalists on Friday, Sept. 6. 

The judges were fascinated by the chapter’s First Amendment Week. 

The SPJ chapter at EKU hosted its annual First Amendment week on EKU’s campus in April. Different events were hosted each day of the event. 

Events during the week included a Guardians of Kentucky panel, a Memorial for International Journalists who Died Reporting the News, a Keeping Information Free panel, a Freedom of Religion panel and The Podcast of Banned Books. 

“We decided to take things a little bit further. This last year we tried some things that we had never tried before,” said Ginny Whitehouse, professor in the department of communication.  “We wanted to recognize these extraordinary members of journalists that were being killed world wide.”

During the Memorial for Fallen Journalists, President Emeritus Charles D. Whitlock and current EKU President Michael Benson signed a proclamation stating student media is a designated public forum and upholds First Amendment rights. Whitlock signed the same pledge a decade ago on April 6, 2009. 

The Keeping Information Free panel featured Zana Day, the communications director for Brand New Congress. Day spoke about her experiences working with political candidates such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Day is a former special projects editor at The Eastern Progress and graduated in 2016 with degrees in journalism and public relations. 

The event also included a Podcast of Banned Books hosted by Blake Vickers and Caitlyn Rahschulte. Vickers and Rahschulte invited professors to join the podcast.

The department of government hosted a freedom of religion panel on the last day. 

“It is such a proud moment for me and the department,” said Collin Overton, the 2018-19 president of EKU’s SPJ’s chapter. 

To learn more about SPJ and the chapters events, visit The Eastern Progress’s office in Combs 325 or email SPJ president, Jennifer K. Perkins at


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