The Free Speech Center

First Amendment News and Insights from MTSU

Deborah Fisher




Deborah Fisher is director of MTSU’s John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies. She brings more than two decades of experience as a journalist to help the College of Media and Entertainment expand national awareness of First Amendment issues.

The Seigenthaler Chair supports a variety of activities related to the First Amendment, free speech, free press rights and other topics of concern for contemporary journalism. This has included distinguished visiting professors and visiting lecturers at MTSU, research related to free expression, seminars and meetings dedicated to expressive freedom and hands-on training for student journalists through the Seigenthaler News Service.

Fisher spent more than 25 years as a reporter and editor. After graduating from Baylor University, she worked in newspapers in Tyler, Beaumont and Corpus Christi, Texas. In Corpus Christi, she was editor and vice president, after rising through the ranks as business reporter and as an editor on the city desk. She became The Tennessean’s business editor in 2003, and in 2007 was promoted to senior editor for news. In 2013, Fisher became executive director of Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides education on the state’s public records and open meetings laws.

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“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

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