TITLE: free! The Freedom Forum Online

ACCESS: http://www.freedomforum.org/

free!, the official Web site and online news service of the Freedom Forum Foundation, is essential for students, educators, journalists, and anyone interested in media and freedom issues. Based in Arlington, Virginia, the Foundation is a "nonpartisan, international foundation, dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people," focusing on four principal priorities: the Newseum, an interactive museum of news, First Amendment issues, newsroom diversity, and world press freedom. These primary concerns are clearly evident when viewing their Web site, which is first-class in coverage and scope. Full-text articles, columns, and in-depth analysis lead to a wealth of research information for further study of free expression. Librarians can take advantage of recent current awareness features such as Internet filtering in schools, flag burning, and censorship of literature.

Subject matter is organized into two major categories, "Freedoms" and "Programs." The "Freedoms" section covers First Amendment rights, technology issues, and international media topics. Most of the daily news stories originate within this grouping. "Programs" includes links to the Newseum, Foundation publications, and topics such as press fairness and journalism education. The center of the opening page presents brief excerpts with links to current articles contained within the outer two sections. One minor flaw in this otherwise outstanding site is the initial confusion resulting from these repetitive links. Freedom Forum staff and Associated Press correspondents author the articles presented here. Once connected to a particular page, "In This Section" typically offers additional resources pertaining to the specific topic being viewed (e.g., Web sites, FAQ's, bibliographies, related news stories, etc.). Documents are updated on a daily basis, and the entire site is searchable.

The free! site offers distinctive features such as is the "First Amendment Outrage of the Week," where a single government act or gesture most offensive to the spirit of free speech, free press and free expression is identified with commentary. Another unique feature is free!Radio, a compilation of audio broadcasts. These programs are an effortless way to stay abreast of journalism issues or challenges to first amendment rights. A noteworthy program, "Newseum Radio", is a one-hour weekly series co-produced by the Newseum and the Foundation.

Works in progress include the First Amendment Center's U. S. Supreme Court Files. This invaluable section contains full-text opinions of First Amendment decisions by the Supreme Court since 1990. What is readily apparent after repeated visits to this site is the rich and exceptional content dealing that is accessible. The authority of contributors is sound, and the currency of material is unbeatable.

Gail Golderman
Union College

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