First Amendment Day 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 (All day)

UNC campus

About the event

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will celebrate its ninth-annual First Amendment Day on Tuesday, Sept. 26. This campus-wide, daylong event is designed to both celebrate the First Amendment and explore its role in the lives of Carolina students. Students and other members of the university community will read from banned books, sing controversial music and discuss the public university’s special role as a marketplace of ideas and the need to be tolerant when others exercise their rights. As always, First Amendment Day is observed during National Banned Books Week.

For more information, please visit the UNC Center for Media Law & Policy website.


First Amendment Day Opening Ceremony

Front Steps of Carroll Hall | 9:30-10 a.m.


Ethics and the First Amendment in Conflict: A Student Debate

Reese News Lab (in the basement of Carroll Hall) | 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.


The Future of Free Expression? A Panel Discussion on the "Campus Free Speech Act"

Classroom 5046, UNC School of Law | Noon - 12:50 p.m.


Banned Book Reading

Front steps of Manning Hall | 12:30-2:30 p.m.


Investigative Reporting: Breaking the Marines United Story

Reese News Lab (in the basement of Carroll Hall) | 1-2 p.m.


Who Can Speak at Carolina? The State of Free Expression at UNC

33 Carroll Hall | 2-3:15 p.m.


A Bumpy Ride: How UNC’s Student Journalists Are Navigating Today’s Media Landscape

Freedom Forum Conference Center, third floor of Carroll Hall | 3:30-4:45 p.m.


Carolina Ukulele Ensemble

111 Carroll Hall | 6:30-7 p.m.


KEYNOTE: Bill Adair: The Enemy of the American People and the Future of a Free Press

111 Carroll Hall | 7-8:15 p.m.


First Amendment Trivia Contest

Linda’s Bar and Grill | 8-10:30 p.m.

Keynote speaker


Bill Adair

Knight professor of the practice of journalism and public policy | Duke University
Director | DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy

The 2017 First Amendment Day keynote speaker will be Bill Adair, the Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism & Public Policy and director of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at Duke University.

One of 25 Knight Chairs at universities around the country, Adair’s research and teaching focuses on fact-checking and new forms of journalism.

The creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning website PolitiFact, Adair has been recognized as a leader in new media and accountability journalism. He worked for 24 years as a reporter and editor for the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times) and served as the paper’s Washington Bureau Chief from 2004 to 2013. He launched PolitiFact in 2007 and built it into the largest fact-checking effort in history, with affiliates in 11 states. In 2013, he managed the site’s first international expansion with the launch of PolitiFact Australia.

Adair has lectured about fact-checking and new media at conferences and universities around the world. He has made hundreds of appearances on television and radio on programs such as the Today Show, Nightline, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Reliable Sources, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and the Colbert Report.

His awards include the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting (with the PolitiFact staff), the Manship Prize for New Media in Democratic Discourse and the Everett Dirksen Award for Distinguished Coverage of Congress.

About the Center for Media Law & Policy

The UNC Center for Media Law and Policy is an interdisciplinary research center run jointly out of the UNC School of Law and UNC School of Media and Journalism. The center serves as a forum for study and debate about the broad array of media law and policy issues facing North Carolina, the nation, and the world. The center’s work ranges from the legal and policy issues affecting traditional media organizations to the challenges posed by new communication technologies, including social media, the Internet, and mobile technology, and the impact they are having on governments, on the economy, and on cultural and social values throughout the world.

The center capitalizes on the extraordinary strengths of UNC-Chapel Hill’s highly regarded law and journalism schools. Center events and projects bring together a diverse group of legal and communication scholars, media professionals, and practicing attorneys. Faculty and graduate students affiliated with the center conduct media law and policy research, host public events, including UNC’s annual First Amendment Day, and work to educate North Carolina’s business community about the opportunities for supporting and expanding entrepreneurship in the field of information technology.

For more information

For more information, please visit the UNC Center for Media Law & Policy website.