First Things First: A Modern Coursebook on Free Speech Fundamentals
First Things First is a college coursebook like no other. Written by three First Amendment experts and professors, the book provides students with the fundamentals of modern American free speech law in a clear, concise, and accessible manner. First Things First also introduces readers to First Amendment issues related to topics such as student speech, freedom of the press, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, advertising, music censorship, and artificial intelligence. The text includes scores of audio and video links, photographs, and helpful study-aid summaries and questions. First Things First’s vibrant and engaging tone ensures readers will leave this book with a dynamic understanding of their rights and the value of free speech.
Why First Things First?
Costs. On average, the College Board estimates that students prepare to spend around $1,200 a year on books and other materials. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that between 2006 and 2016 textbook prices jumped 88%. Against that backdrop comes our college e-textbook. First Things First’s price is a modest $2.99. At a time when the price of coursebooks continues to soar, this e-textbook costs less than a latte.
Applicability to multiple disciplines. Beyond providing students with a breakdown of modern free speech law, First Things First prepares students for free speech dilemmas they may face in future careers in areas such as journalism, public service, education, music, and advertising. First Things First provides students with the knowledge to be active, inquisitive, and resilient citizens.
Quality control & creativity. Written by three First Amendment experts, this e-textbook is informative and engaging. The traditional college text is replaced with dynamic content designed for college students—and enhanced by scores of audio and video links, photographs, and helpful study-aids.
‘Engaging’ is not a word typically used for law textbooks, but First Things First sets the standard for teaching free speech law. A generation of students who have grown up with multimedia will find this textbook compelling. It combines clearly-written case narratives with frequent excursions to a rich trove of other online material—including video and audio files—that provide additional legal and historical context. And all this costs just $2.99, making it a great option for law courses as well as a supporting text that will enrich a wide range of courses in journalism, history, and politics.
Stephen D. Solomon
Marjorie Deane Professor
NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute
Founding Editor, First Amendment Watch
Author, Revolutionary Dissent
With admirable clarity and brevity, First Things First covers the field of First Amendment law and theory in a readable and accessible way. Through well-selected case excerpts, insightful and thought-provoking questions, and with clever links to supplemental materials, this innovative book explains not just the fundamentals of First Amendment law, but how we got to where we are, and why. It engages the reader with contemporary problems of free expression “ripped from the headlines” and places these issues in historical context, thus helping cut through the clutter of current political passions. The book’s unprecedented affordability makes it accessible on another level as well—it is a must for any student of the First Amendment.
Robert Corn-Revere (1st Amendment lawyer)
Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
First Things First is a welcome addition to the collection of casebooks, articles, essays and legal opinions relied upon by those who teach First Amendment principles. Fewer students arrive on our campuses these days with knowledge of First Amendment fundamentals ranging from campus speech, hate speech, obscenity and religious freedom. Not only is the book’s theoretical approach to teaching these fundamentals refreshingly direct, the content is delivered using cost-effective modes preferred by today’s college students. The audio and video hyperlinks in the e-text make course preparation easier and help professors tie course material to classroom discussion. First Things First is a welcome addition to the course materials for students studying law, journalism, history, political science, government and a host of other disciplines.
Lucy A. Dalglish
Dean and Professor
Philip Merrill College of Journalism
University of Maryland
First Things First is an incredibly insightful and inviting introduction to U.S. speech and press law. Its approach makes its content completely accessible to beginner and expert alike. But even better, its scores of online links to additional layers of material—including streaming audio and video—make this narrative and case-oriented resource like no other. In addition to teaching the law, the various elements help to reveal what it means to live in a free speech society. First Things First is made for the 21st century student—and professor.
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Faculty Affiliate, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Arizona State University