Achieving the most positive educational experience for everyone involved – students, advisers, administrators and community – is really simple. And it does not involve control or stripping the educational value of student media. Here are some suggestions:
• Hiring the most qualified educator to teach and advise your scholastic media or helping one without solid journalism background become more knowledgeable;
• Trusting and respecting those educator advisers as well as their student media editors and staff as the students make difficult decisions (and sometimes make mistakes);
• Maintaining dialogue and offering feedback with advisers and student editors so they understand school administrator concerns, but where students understand that they have a real voice in the debate and have the freedom to excel.
Organizations that support these values, including the Journalism Education Association and others, stand ready to help administrators, advisers and student journalists with training opportunities, curricular materials and ongoing dialogue to keep them current on what’s happening in these important fields.
For more information on those groups:
• Journalism Education Association http://jea.org
JEA is the only independent national scholastic journalism organization for teachers and advisers. It supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, by promoting professionalism, by encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and by fostering an atmosphere that encompasses diversity yet builds unity. It offers a voluntary teacher certification program plus the Summer Adviser Institute and two national conventions a year, co-sponsored with the National Scholastic Press Association.
• Center for Scholastic Journalism http://jmc.kent.edu/csj
CSJ is a national clearinghouse with information for and about student journalists and their advisers, a research center on issues affecting scholastic media, an educator of journalism teachers and an advocate for student press freedom and the First Amendment.
• National Scholastic Press Association http://www.studentpress.org/nspa/
NSPA offers two national conventions with JEA, a summer workshop, national critiques and teaching materials for teachers, advisers and students.
• JEA Scholastic Press Rights Commission http://jeapressrights.org and http://jeasprc.org
JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Commission offers teaching materials in law and ethics with an emphasis on free and responsible journalism and up-to-date information to enhance teacher information and leadership abilities. The links are to a website and blog.
• Student Press Law Center http://splc.org
The Student Law Center is an advocate for student free press rights and provides information, advice and legal assistance at no charge to students and the educators who work with them.
• Newspaper Association of America Foundation http://www.naafoundation.org
The Newspaper Association of America Foundation strives to develop engaged and literate citizens in a diverse society. The Foundation invests in and supports programs designed to enhance student achievement through newspaper readership and appreciation of the First Amendment. NAAF also supports research and has funded the repeat of a national study by Prof. Jack Dvorak of Indiana University entitled, “High School Journalism Matters.” It provides evidence to support the value of student media work as students who have participated clearly earn better high school grades, outscore their peers on college entrance exams and earn higher grades in college writing courses than those who were not involved in student media.http://www.naafoundation.org/Research/Foundation/Student-Journalism.aspx
• First Amendment Center http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org
The First Amendment Center is a clearinghouse for comprehensive research coverage of key First Amendment issues and topics, daily First Amendment news, commentary and analyses by respected legal specialists. It also has a First Amendment library of legal cases and related materials.
• Five Freedoms http://www.fivefreedoms.org
The Five Freedoms network is a nationwide community of educators, students and citizens who support the five freedoms of the First Amendment. Its projects and mission focus on enhancing the educational strength of the First Amendment.
• High School Journalism http://hsj.orgHigh School Journalism is offered by the American Society of News Editors and offers lessons plans, articles and advice from commercial journalists and a wide variety of educational materials. It also offers six free, two-week summer workshops for new adviser/teachers and those wishing to gain additional information. The workshops are at six universities around the country
• Quill and Scroll http://www.uiowa.edu/~quill-sc/
Quill and Scroll is the International Honorary Society for High School Journalists and sponsors contests, scholarships and educational materials for students and advisers
• Columbia Scholastic Press Association http://cspa.columbia.edu/
CSPA offers contests and critiques, a large national spring convention and a fall workshop for advisers, teachers and students. It also has a strong adviser organization.
• Friends of the Spoke http://www.friendsofthespoke.org/Friends_of_The_Spoke.html
Friends of the Spoke is a student-designed and -run website, conceived to convince a school board not to adopt prior review. It succeeded.