Freedom of Speech Week honors the significance and importance of free speech in America, something that affects and touches every American life, especially through media broadcasting. Directly contributing to the celebration of free speech, Biola University Cinema & Media Arts junior Chris Newell and alumni Melodie Turori (’09) and Rob Croft (’08) participated in this year’s Freedom of Speech Week PSA contest, where they took first and third place.

Sponsored by the McCormick Tribune Foundation, the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF) and Broadcast Education Association, the NABEF created a public service announcement competition in honor of National Freedom of Speech Week, Oct. 19-23, 2009. Six scholarships were awarded to students across the nation, three Biola students were the recipients of these. Newell won first place in the television category while Turori and Croft jointly won third place in the radio category.

“These students were selected from a talented pool of entries, and they all showcase their insight and creativity regarding freedom of speech,” said BEA Executive Director Heather Birks, according to

The students were challenged to make a film or radio announcement addressing “what freedom of speech means to me.” Newell filmed students around Biola’s campus with tape covering their mouths, essentially their right to speech. The words “Imagine your world without free speech” accompanied the powerful images. Croft and Turori creatively represented what freedom of speech meant through radio and had Croft’s voice censored during a radio announcement.

The winning PSA entries were made available for radio and television stations nationwide to air during National Freedom of Speech Week and anytime thereafter. In addition, the winners were flown to Washington D.C. and were honored at a NAB Freedom of Speech week luncheon on October 15.

Written by Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator. Jenna can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at