Press Releases

Jun 04, 2019

High School Students Across the Nation Will Participate in Annual Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference

The 2019 Conference Will Convene 51 Talented Students Interested in Pursuing Journalism Careers

 WASHINGTON — From June 14-20, the Freedom Forum Institute will host 51 of the nation’s leading high school student journalists, one from every state and the District of Columbia, for the 2019 Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Each year, this academic and scholarship program inspires and equips some of best and brightest students in the United States to pursue careers in the journalism and media industries. This program was created in 1999 to honor the late Al Neuharth, founder of USA TODAY, the Freedom Forum and Newseum.

The rising high school seniors, selected from hundreds of applicants, are awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington to attend the conference, and additionally will each receive a $1,000 scholarship to the college of his or her choice. A list of the 2019 Al Neuharth Free Spirit Journalism Scholars is available at

The Freedom Forum Institute enlists the help of high school journalism educators throughout the country to recruit applicants and promote this important program. Prospective applicants were required to submit work samples, letters of recommendation, student transcripts and essays about their interest in journalism, as well as the qualities they possess that render them “free spirits.”

“As ambitious, young journalists, these 51 students epitomize the ideals set forth by the Free Spirit program. In each of them we see the imagination to dream, the courage to dare and the capability to do great things,” explained Jan Neuharth, chair and CEO of the Freedom Forum.

During presentations, meetings and experiences at the Newseum and at additional destinations across the nation’s capital, the selected students will learn about the importance of a free press, the First Amendment and its critical role as a cornerstone of democracy.

In addition to touring the Newseum, the students will hear from numerous presenters, including David Fahrenthold, a reporter at The Washington Post and the 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner for National Reporting. The students will also attend a taping of NBC’s “Meet the Press” with host Chuck Todd at the NBC News studio.

The students will also attend the presentation of the 2019 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in The Media at the Newseum on June 17. This year’s recipient is Pulitzer Prize–winning photojournalist Carol Guzy. Guzy will be the 33rd person to receive the award, which recognizes lifetime achievement in the media industry. The award is sponsored by the Freedom Forum, Newseum, Freedom Forum Institute and the University of South Dakota (USD), where Al Neuharth graduated in 1950 with a journalism degree.

About the Freedom Forum Institute

The Freedom Forum Institute is the education and outreach partner of the Freedom Forum and the Newseum. The Institute includes the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Center, the Newseum’s education department and diversity and inclusion programs. The Freedom Forum Institute’s affiliate organizations include the Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota; the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi; and the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University. The Freedom Forum Institute is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including its principal funder, the Freedom Forum.

Press Contacts

Sonya Gavankar
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