The power of a free press and other takeaways from First Amendment Days keynote speaker Paul Kix

CATEGORIES: Student Perspective
Paul Kix, author, magazine editor and Greenlee alumnus, presented "Talk Is Cheap. Free Speech Isn't: Why the First Amendment is Worth It" April 12 as part of First Amendment Days.

By Tara Larson, senior in journalism and mass communication.

Paul Kix, a Greenlee alumnus, author and deputy editor of ESPN The Magazine gave a public lecture titled “Talk Is Cheap, Free Speech Isn’t: Why the First Amendment Is Worth It” on April 12.

Kix talked about the importance of our First Amendment rights, and although he had several engaging subtopics within the lecture, there were a few big ones that resonated with me the most.

History is repeating itself.

Kix discussed the history of early politics and journalism and how the First Amendment has been an important factor throughout the decades since America’s earliest presidents.

“This history lesson is really just evidence for how history repeats itself,” Kix said.

He began comparing the Party Press of the 19th century to Fox News and yellow journalists to clickbait websites.

Speaking of the press, that brings me to my next takeaway.

A free press holds our five rights together.

“I believe that a free press is the scaffolding upholding the First Amendment,” Kix said.

Kix advised the audience to be intellectually promiscuous and to avoid getting into a “monogamous relationship with NPR, or the Des Moines Register or, god, Facebook.”

Kix discussed the importance of diversifying the news you consume and reading media beyond what you typically would.

What will diversify the content you consume potentially lead to? That brings me to my final takeaway, my personal favorite from the lecture.

Without an open exchange of ideas, there is no learning.

Kix brought up an idea that being progressive is not shutting down hate speech, but listening and learning instead.

“Censorship is not the right response to what you see as hate speech,” Kix said. “More speech is the correct response.”

Tara Larson is a senior in journalism and mass communication from Humboldt, Iowa. She’s a member of the Greenlee communications team.