Journalism: The Fourth Pillar of Democracy

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Because voters are the decision makers of any democratic republic such as our own, it is imperative that they not only be informed but wholly informed – a democracy hiding information from its people is no democracy at all. This is why journalism is the fourth pillar of democracy – without the free flow of information, democracy ceases to exist.

In a perfect system, journalists could speak with officials with civility, access public records freely, live our lives without worry of waking up one day to see that our work has been deemed unreadable by the government. But it isn’t perfect – nothing is.

There will always be power-hungry bureaucrats pulling wool over the eyes of their constituents – and to do so they must either fool the press or silence it. The First Amendment gives America’s journalists, and her people, an irreplaceable opportunity to pull away that wool.

-Grace Marion, former Editor-In-Chief of her high school newspaper, The Playwickian, and journalism student at University of Mississippi

Grace Marion is being honored by the Hugh Hefner Foundation in the Journalism category for her fight against school censorship after she saw about a dozen articles censored as the former Editor-In-Chief of her high school newspaper, The Playwickian. Grace was able to publish her final jaw-dropping article during her last year at the school, which outed the school for the lack of sexual misconduct records for its teachers.

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