About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for "New Visions of the Future of Press Freedom"

McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
January 29, 2020

Good afternoon, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased you could join us for this afternoon’s program, whether you are here in the theater or joining us through Facebook or YouTube.

Today’s discussion, “New Visions of the Future of Press Freedom,” is presented in partnership with the Student Press Law Center.

We are pleased to welcome our panel of student journalists, and our moderator, America Tonight’s Joie Chen, and look forward to the discussion about the future of press freedom and their experiences of censorship and successful efforts to overcome it.

But first I want to let you know about two other programs coming up soon in the McGowan Theater.

Tomorrow night at 7 p.m., we will present a special preview screening of episode one of a new television series, A More or Less Perfect Union, which explores the most contentious issues in American history and today through the lens of the U.S. Constitution. After the screening, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg, the host of the television program, will hold a discussion with historian Hadley Arkes.

And on Monday, February 3, at noon, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David Zucchino will be here to discuss and sign his latest book, Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy.

To keep informed about events throughout the year, check our website, Archives.gov, or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Check out their website—archivesfoundation.org—to learn more about them and join online.

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Today, January 29, has been designated Student Press Freedom Day—a national day of action (now in its third year), which seeks to celebrate the contributions of student journalists and amplify the need to fully apply the First Amendment to them and their advisers. As the home of the original Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights, we are the natural venue to host this discussion on press freedom and the important role that journalists play in our democracy.

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And now it’s my pleasure to turn the program over to Hadar Harris, the executive director of the Student Press Law Center. A human rights attorney, Hadar joined the SPLC in 2017. She previously served as the executive director of the Northern California Innocence Project. For 13 years, Harris was executive director of the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law. Earlier in her career, Harris served as executive director of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, a bipartisan legislative service organization of the U.S. House of Representatives, under the leadership of the late Congressman Tom Lantos.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Hadar Harris.