The language of the First Amendment leaves no doubt about the importance the Founding Fathers placed on free and open discourse. As the press is the only non-governmental institution specifically mentioned in the Constitution, the Founders surely realized the importance of its role in democracy. The interconnectedness of today’s world makes free and open exchange of information crucial. Journalism was never more important to democracy and to a free society than now.

“Undergirding all its functions is the most foundational purpose of a free press, which is to hold us all accountable,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. “In the media, the daily discussion of the nation’s business and the world’s – which with the advent of the Internet, cable television, and other means of instant access to the news is now on a 24/7 cycle—is the way we take the temperature of our lives, our culture, our society and even our civilization; it is the way we assess our direction and debate where we are going, or should be going, in the future.”

It is imperative for this world-class research institution, and for the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, to help lead the way.

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