Project Censored is an investigative sociology project dedicated to freedom of information throughout the United States of America. It is managed through the School of Social Sciences at Sonoma State University. The core of the project is the Media Censorship, Sociology 435 class for any given year. As an educational outcome of this class each student becomes expert in library database research through course requirements of long hours in the library conducting coverage reports, on more than 200 underpublished stories. Nearly 200 people are directly involved including: Sonoma State University and School of Social Sciences progam staff, students, faculty, research interns, community experts, funders and volunter judges. Major sources of funding are provided by hundreds individual of donors, the Office of the President & Office of the Provost and the School of Social Science at Sonoma State University, Working Assets, Anne Roddick and The Body Shop International.
Project Censored publishes yearly, a trade paperback review of the Top 25 Censored Stories of the Year. Features of the hardcopy include Junk Food News, comic strips by Tom Tomorrow, subscription information for publications which produced top 25 stories, updates on previous top stories, essays and interviews. It is printed in New York, Toronto, London and Frenches Forest (in NSW Australia).
Other projects include For the Record a weekly radio program hosted by Pat Thurston, which features underpublished stories.
Project Censored is a nonprofit project within the Sonoma State University Foundation, which has the American tax status of a 501(c)3 organization. Its principle objective is advocacy of and protection of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and freedom of information in the United States. Project Censored identifies and researches underreported, ignored, misrepresented, or censored stories and is actively encouraging the development of a national interconnected community based media news service that will offer a diversity of news and information to local mainstream audiences through print, radio, television and computer. Support and encouragement is provided to journalists, faculty, and student investigation into First Amendment and freedom of information issues.
The criteria for Project Censored new stories:
- contains information that the general population has a right and a need to know but to which it has limited access.
- is timely, ongoing and has implication for a significant number of residents of the United States.
- has clearly defined concepts and is backed with solid verifiable documentation.
- has been published electronically or in print, in a circulated newspaper, journal, magazine, newsletter, or similar publication from a foreign or domestic source.
- has direct connections and implications for people in the United States, which can include activities that American Citizens are engaged in abroad.
The Dean of American Broadcasters Walter Cronkite says:
- Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasters are practicing thorough and ethical journalism. (2000)