Tweet About First Amendment, Win A $5K Scholarship

Student journalists should know by now, you likely won’t start out earning an enormous salary. And that money will seem even scarcer if you’ve got student loans to pay back. So Thursday is your chance to both support the First Amendment — that’s the one with freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which I really hope you already knew — and to potentially earn a $5,000 scholarship. It’s as easy as exercising your right to tweet — by tweeting about why you love that right (or any of the others in that near sacred amendment). For those who’ve gone through other scholarship competitions, that’s a scholarship essay of 140 characters instead of 1,400 words or so. And with 22 available awards, your odds may be better than many national winner-take-all competitions.

Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (which helped fund part of MY journalism education) and organized by 1 For All, the unique scholarship competition is aptly titled, Free to Tweet. It’s only open to students age 14 to 22. And it’s only happening on Thursday, Dec. 15 — National Bill of Rights Day. All you have to do is tweet about the rights and append the hashtag #freetotweet. You can even just link it to a YouTube video, blog post, public Facebook wall, or whatever creative outlet you can come up with to show off why you believe it’s important people know about these rights. Or you can send an email with your message (or links) to with “Free to Tweet Contest Entry” in the subject line.

Students can enter the scholarship competition by tweeting a message of support — using the hashtag #freetotweet — for the First Amendment. The tweet can be self-contained or link to original content on a website or other social media platform. A panel of educators and First Amendment experts will review the entries and award 22 $5,000 scholarships, one for every decade since the ratification of the Bill of Rights.

You can enter multiple times, as long as each post is unique. So maybe write about all of the rights? For those who need a refresher on what the amendment covers, here’s the actual text:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

You can read the rest of the details here.