Stossel Essay Topics

What is going on at colleges across America? These institutions of higher education were once bastions of free speech, where different views and ideas could be discussed openly. Now, many students want to silence those with whom they disagree by claiming they are offended. Are they really just sensitive people? This segment looks at the debate over censorship on college campuses.

Should people be stopped from offending each other? From criticizing each other's views, religion, even race? Should the government protect us from offensive speech, or protect offensive speakers? Should people be afraid to speak openly if what they say offends others? This segment looks at the threats to free speech from Islamic extremists.

What happens when government officials use their power to try to silence their enemies? Where does campaign finance reform begin and our free speech end? This segment looks at one attempt by political insiders to silence their opponents.

What is freedom? How important is freedom to you? People use the word freedom differently, but when we look at North Korea, there is little disagreement that the citizens are not free. This segment looks at one person's escape from North Korea.

Why do some movies seem to go beyond entertainment and include scary messages for children? Can there be a rational environmental debate or does it need to be filled with propaganda and hype? This segment looks at the tactics some use to convince others of impending environmental doom.

News reports, articles, and websites tell us of the waning belief in capitalism. What do you think about capitalism? Is capitalism evil? Or has it lifted billions of people out of poverty? This segment looks at capitalism.

What do you know about Che Guevara? Do you own a Che t-shirt? Do you cringe when you see someone wearing one? This segment looks at Che, his deeds, and his reputation.

What are fossil fuels? Why do so many people dislike them? Are they bad for us? Are they bad for the environment? What are the alternatives? This segment looks at the debate over fossil fuels.

Has the earth warmed? Have we caused it? Does it matter? Is there really a looming crisis or is this much ado about nothing? And what happens to people who disagree? This segment looks at the way the global warming debate is playing out.


WIN A TRIP TO NEW YORK CITY as well as CASH PRIZES by entering our second annual Video Contest!

Teachers, help your students earn great prizes by entering them in Stossel in the Classroom's second annual video contest, for students aged 14-23! We have prizes for teachers, too! And teachers submitting winning videos also win the trip to New York!

Teachers may submit an unlimited number of student videos on our website between now and the February 26th deadline. Simply have your students view the segment on this page, and create a 1-3 minute video to submit to our contest.

Students who are at least 18 years old may submit their own videos.

Natural disasters often bring people together, as they undertake rescue operations and work to rebuild their communities. People outside the affected communities usually offer additional support. But what about those that see a disaster as a way to make money? Watch John Stossel's video about "price gouging" and create a 1-3-minute video, arguing for or against laws that prohibit price “gouging" during an emergency. How do such laws affect disaster victims? How do they change the incentives of potential suppliers?

See complete rules and submission information for more details.

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