First Amendment Day promotes freedom of press

First Amendment Day will be held on Thursday as the Mass Communication Department dedicates the Bob Burke First Amendment Center and welcomes a journalism alumnae as speaker. 

“This is an opportunity for students to hear from an accomplished graduate on the importance of our First Amendment,” said Joe Hight, mass communications professor and Director of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.

Madhu Krishnamurthy, who graduated from UCO in 1998, will speak on the Constitutional amendment that protects five rights, including the freedom of speech and the press, at 2 p.m. in Room 120 of the Communications Building. 

Krishnamurthy is President of the Chicago Headline Club, the nation’s largest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Her goals include helping Chicago area newsrooms improve coverage of communities of color and employment of minorities, and promoting partnerships with higher education journalism programs. Krishnamurthy is a senior staff writer and education writer for the Daily Herald. She covers suburban K-12 school districts and higher education institutions. 

“It also gives us a chance to dedicate our First Amendment Center to Bob Burke, a noted attorney and author who is an Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame member,” Hight said.

According to the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, Bob Burke has written or co-authored 43 Oklahoma historical biographies and other books for the Oklahoma Heritage Association, including one nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He was radio-television journalist and sportscaster at age 15 for KBEl in Idabel; color analyst for OU basketball network in 1967-68; news director of KOMA in 1968; news editor for KTOK from 1969-1971; and play-by-play announcer for ABC sports in New York from 1982-1987. A native of Broken Bow, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a law degree from Oklahoma City University. He was Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce under Gov. David Boren. He serves on numerous Oklahoma foundations and boards and is a practicing attorney.

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