2017 High School Essay Contest


2017 High School Essay Contest

First Prize: $1,000
Second Prize: $500
Third Prize: $300
Honorable Mentions: $50

Choose one of the following topics:

  1. Donald Trump has suggested that libel laws be “opened up” to make it easier for public figures to sue news organizations and commentators for a “hit piece.” Should new limits be imposed on First Amendment protections and how would that be done?
  2. Does the First Amendment prevent the federal government from creating a registry of all Muslims living in the United States?
  3. During the 2016 campaign, emails that were embarrassing to Hillary Clinton were stolen and released to news organizations. Intelligence reports say they were stolen by Russian hackers. Should the First Amendment protect journalists’ use of stolen information obtained from sources?

Essays must be at least 400 words but no more than 600 words and emailed no later than March 31, 2017, to cfogessay@aol.com. Essays should include the student’s full name, school, grade and teacher email contact information. Winners will be announced by May 15, 2017.

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What We Do

  • Sponsor an annual conference for Connecticut's state and municipal officials on freedom of information issues
  • Underwrite costs of surveys of government agencies to measure compliance with Connecticut's Freedom of Information laws
  • Sponsor an essay contest for high school students on Right to Know and First Amendment issues
  • Present the Walter Cronkite Award a national figure who embodies Open Government principles (Recipients include Mr. Cronkite, Louis Boccardi, Jim Lehrer, and Seymour Hersh
  • Hold public policy symposia, such as the first ever National Privacy and Public Policy symposium, "Striking the Balance: Open Government In the Age of Terrorism and the need for Connecticut to enact a Shield Law
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