The Varela Awards for Journalism will award up to $40,000 dollars in cash prices.

National VARELA Awards for Journalism to celebrate the 1st Amendment and new American journalism

PHILADELPHIA – The Félix Varela Awards for Excellence in American Journalism, the awards established 4 years ago by the AL DIA Foundation, will be, for 2012, also a celebration of one of the pillars of the US Constitution, the First Amendment. The Varela Awards will recognize the best feature writing, best blogging, best documentary, and best photojournalism on Latino and Multicultural Issues in America. The VARELA Awards, offers the largest cash prize in its category, giving $10,000 per award, along with a golden medal of Father Félix Varela, an American intellectual of Latino origin who had a great impact on 19th Century America. The announcement was made at Temple University’s School of Communications and Theater in Philadelphia, PA, by the Chairman of the AL DIA Foundation, Hernán Guaracao, and Temple University School of Communication and Theater’s Interim Dean,Thomas Jacobson. They officially opened the competition, calling for submissions between now and August 2012.

Useful notes on the First Amendment, libel, and copyright

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution

After the American colonists won their freedom from England in 1783, they could not agree on the form of their new government. Many were afraid that a strong central government would lead to tyranny again. So the colonists added ten amendments to their new constitution in 1787 guaranteeing a number of fundamental rights for the citizens of the new country. The first of these amendments protects, among other things, the right to free speech and a free press. The government CAN regulate speech (or “expression” as it is now called) but only under certain conditions, the most important being obscenity, concern for public safety or national security.