"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"

Embattled editors tell
their powerful stories at SPLC dinner

Share

Sometimes it’s the bad things in life that help a person find a cause, a passion or a pathway. From a Pulitzer Prize-winner who sued his principal in the ‘70s to two teens, still closely involved in censorship issues at their own schools, those at the Student Press Law Center’s 40th anniversary dinner Oct. 16 heard stories every teen journalist and adviser should hear.

read more

19 journalism groups urge
administrator organizations to disavow
Neshaminy board punishment of paper, adviser and editor

Share

sprclogoOct. 13, 1987 marked the U.S. Supreme Court’s hearing the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier arguments that ultimately granted administrators the right to control content of high school media in limited situations.

Oct. 13, 2014 marks a time when 19 journalism organizations joined together to urge national groups of administrators and school boards to openly disavow actions of the Neshaminy (Pa.) Board of Education that even went beyond the constraints of Hazelwood in controlling content and punishing student journalists.

“In what we hope will be a watershed event in curing America of the worst excesses of the Hazelwood era,” SPLC executive director Frank LoMonte wrote to the Advisory Committee of the SPLC,  “19 of the nation’s leading journalism organizations — including SPJ, JEA, CMA and the American Society of News Editors — co-signed an SPLC-authored letter distributed today to the nation’s leading school-administrator organizations, urging them to distance themselves from and to publicly disavow the retaliatory behavior of school administrators in Neshaminy, Pa., who are punishing student journalists for refusing to use the offensive name of the schools’ mascot.”

The joint statement can be read here.

Part of the statement pointed directly to the Hazelwood decision’s involvement: “This is a level of authority even beyond the outermost limit the Supreme Court recognized in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, to say nothing of the fact that Pennsylvania law repudiates the Hazelwood standard.”

JEA’a Press Rights Committee and the SPLC had paired on a statement earlier this month condemning Neshaminy board actions punishing the student paper, the adviser and editor.

JEA also commented on the joint statement.

read more

Make history come alive by interviewing local veterans

Share

Beginning today, the JEA SPRC Making a Difference Project will feature a student publication each month featuring work of scholastic journalists that has made a difference in their schools and in their communities. This is the first in a ten-part series. All upcoming posts for the Making a Difference project were published during the 2013-2014 school year.

The Bagpiper staff at Freeman High School in Rockford, Wash. developed a story package that required interviewing of many local veterans and prepped them for publication on Veteran’s Day.  In this package the staff as well as students in their school paid tribute to various branches of the military and individual members of the local veterans groups.

According to adviser Pia Longinotti, “My staff created a special edition honoring Freeman’s military members. Distributed at our Veteran’s Day assembly, the issue told the stories of our military personnel. As an adviser, I was floored by my staff members’ desire to give back to those who served. The reactions of our veterans when they received their copies were incredible. They were so touched by the articles and time taken to tell their stories. Some even Facebooked the issue. The nine students involved showed how much it means to the Freeman School District to have dedicated people protect our freedom, creating a heartfelt thank you.”

If you are planning a Veteran’s Day issue, you can  glean ideas for your Veteran’s Day issue from this staff. Click on the link below to read complete issue of The Bagpiper as a PDF.

Freeman HS – November2013Final

 

 

read more

On news engagement day,
let’s engage others
with news about censorship

Share

sprclogoOct. 7 is #newsengagementday,  a national event created by AEJMC.

The idea is to encourage everyone to engage with news issues and ideas with students, family and, well, everyone.

National News Engagement Day was created to:

  • Raise awareness about the importance of being informed.
  • Encourage everyone to engage with news from reading and watching to tweeting and discussing.
  • Help people of all ages discover the benefits of news.
  • Educate the public about the principles and process of journalism.
  • Ensure news engagement does not die out.

JEA has endorsed the idea and urges all to participate.

I know journalism programs do this daily anyway, but let’s take this one step further.

Let’s spend the day spreading the word about the banality of censorship, particularly that kind of destructive practice we have seen at Neshaminy High School, Highlands Regional High School, Fond du Lac High School and numerous others.

Numerous other resources exist for each school, all findable by searching.

Censorship practices at those schools, past and present is newsworthy in itself, but it also blocks students and related communities from experiencing news.

Making censorship and its effects the focus on news, and using the #newsengagementday hashtag to let others know, would be a worthy use of the day.

read more