SOURCE: 1 for All

1 for All

December 15, 2011 03:00 ET

"Free to Tweet" Shortens Scholarship Essays to 140 Characters, Encourages Nationwide Celebration of Bill of Rights Day

Students Compete for $110,000 in Scholarships While Americans of All Ages Celebrate Freedom of Expression in 24-Hour "Tweetathon"

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Dec 15, 2011) - "Free to Tweet" today calls on all Americans to celebrate Bill of Rights day by sharing their appreciation for First Amendment freedoms and specifically encourages student participation with a novel competition offering $110,000 in scholarships for the best tweets. Thousands nationwide are participating, all using the hashtag #freetotweet.

The celebration and scholarship contest, which began at midnight, continues until 11:59 p.m. today, Dec. 15. Today is national Bill of Rights Day -- and the 220th anniversary of its signing -- established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in late November of 1941. Just days later, however, Pearl Harbor was attacked and the United States entered World War II. The holiday declaration was largely forgotten.

All student posts that include the hashtag #freetotweet will be considered to win one of 22 $5,000 scholarships. Only one tweet is required for entry, however students are encouraged to enter as many times as they wish. Students must be between the ages of 14 and 22 to qualify for the contest. More information, including contest rules, frequently asked questions and judging criteria, is available at FreeToTweet.org.

"Americans nationwide are speaking out about their freedoms of expression, making this the largest celebration of Bill of Rights Day in our history," said Ken Paulson, a founder of the 1 for All campaign and president of the American Society of News Editors. "All it takes is 140 characters. We hope all Americans will take time to celebrate these essential freedoms with #freetotweet today."

Also part of 1 for All's daylong celebration of Bill of Rights Day, the Newseum in Washington D.C. is hosting an afternoon conference exploring the role of social media in shaping young people's sense of First Amendment principles. Educators and members of the public can RSVP to attend the free gathering.

"Free to Tweet" is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and organized by 1 for All, an unprecedented educational and public service campaign that builds understanding of the First Amendment and its five distinct freedoms: speech, press, religion, assembly and petition.

About 1 for All
1 for All is a non-partisan, educational campaign that was launched in 2010 to address a general lack of awareness by the American public about the five freedoms afforded by the First Amendment. Initial support for campaign was provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Newseum, McCormick Foundation, American Society of News Editors, First Amendment Center and Gannett Foundation. In addition, more than 1,000 news organizations, religious groups and educational institutions have devoted their time and resources in support of the 1 for All campaign. More information at 1forall.us.

About Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. More information at knightfoundation.org.