A proverbial cherry on the top of an already dream-like experience, Mary Beth Tinker and I were recognized as the 2014 winners of the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award in Education. Christie Hefner presented the awards during a May 20 ceremony at the Newseum, in Washington, DC.
The Tinker Tour's first national free speech and civics education bus tour is now one for the history books. It was, by almost all accounts, a smash success. Honestly, I still have to pinch myself that we pulled it off. From east to west and from north to south (with lots of time spent in the middle), Mary Beth and I traveled nearly 25,000 miles in the Tinker Tour bus, passing through 41 states and two foreign countries, making more than 100 stops at schools, colleges, law schools, juvenile detention facilities, conventions, libraries and churches. It was inspirational. It was rewarding. It was historic. It was, at times, a bit grueling. It was truly magical.
I will post a more thorough account of the experience -- with lots and lots of great photos -- in the future. (And we recently just learned that the University of Oregon journalism school team working on a documentary film, "Stand Up For Your Rights," of the tour, is a finalist for a MacArthur grant. Fingers crossed.)
Until then, you can see a brief video slideshow and recap of our Fall Tour and -- if you missed us "live" -- see the Tour -- and hear Mary Beth's (and my) story -- onstage during our Spring Tour here. (Thanks Mountlake Terrace High School.)
Mike Hiestand is the founder of Zenger Consulting. He is currently Senior Legal Counsel with the Student Press Law Center. He was the staff attorney for the nonprofit Center, located just outside Washington, D.C., between 1991-2003 and worked as the Center’s sole consulting attorney until 2012. He continues to assist student media via the Center's legal hotline and works with the SPLC on special projects affecting the student press community. Over the years, he has provided media law and First Amendment help to nearly 18,000 high school and college student journalists and their advisers.