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Student journalists are the real deal

Posted by on Nov 4, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

As editor Gillian McGoldrick and former editor Tanvi Kumar tell their stories to NPR co-host Audie Cornish, another former student who stood up for her right so speak — Mary Beth Tinker — tapes the presentation. (photo by John Bowen)

by Cyndi Hyatt
A few weeks back a student reporter asked a school administrator if she could cover a school-related banquet at a local country club, an event much touted and advertised.

Sure was the response, but she would have to buy a ticket.  

She was not expecting that response, nor was I.  After some adviser-led investigation and nudging, the reporter was granted access to the event and the story appeared in the latest issue of the newspaper.  

The student reporter was even approached by the district’s public relations people for photos to use on the district website and in press-releases.

But what got me thinking was the initial assumption about her – that a student reporter was not a “real” reporter.

And that is a gross misconception to say the least.

Would the response be the same if the local news van showed up to cover the story?  I doubt they would have had to dish out $100.00 for entrance to the event. I imagine the organizers would have welcomed the professional media, grateful for the coverage.  

And, as it turned out, the only coverage was from the school student-run newspaper.

Facing the challenge of having students recognized as legitimate, trained journalists will never go away, but this most recent incident had me thinking of three steps we take every year to help others recognize the credibility of our young journalists.

  1. Press passes for everyone.  Each year we have our photography editor take head shots of all staff.  A local printer makes us complementary color photos so all we pay for are the sleeves and the logo lanyards.  All passes are dated and signed by the advisers.
  2. Staff apparel.   Student reporters are identified further as journalists by the tee-shirt or fleece jacket they wear to events.  It’s a uniform approach, recognizable in school and community.
  3. Assertion.   In the case of a paid event, our students are encouraged to approach the organizers with a statement rather than a question.  “We would like to cover your event Saturday” is a lot stronger that “May we come to your event on Saturday?” A few adjustments in language can make a difference.

A solid student journalism program needs to command the respect it deserves.  Don’t settle for no when you are doing the community a service, telling others’ stories or spreading the news.

Look the part and be assertive. The results are worth it.

 

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New Quick Tips listing can help provide
solutions, guides to media issues

Posted by on Oct 29, 2018 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Working on a sensitive story? Looking to add new ethical  guidelines to help students deal with new technology? Want to finalize the process to use if students wish to run political ads or endorsements?

Quick Tips can help with ethical guidelines supported by reasoning and staff manual procedures to reach outcomes you desire.

If you or your students have suggestions to add to our list, please contact SPRC Director Lori Keekley.

This is our latest Quick Tips list. We hope you find its points useful.

Each newly posted QT  has a short annotation and a link to the materials. Each addition also has links for more depth and related content.

To see a list of already posted Quick Tips, please go here.

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Solutions Journalism

Posted by on Oct 29, 2018 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Solutions Journalism doesn’t offer its solution to issues. It does report on what others haveworked and what has not

by Kristin Taylor
David Bornstein co-authors the “Fixes” column in the New York Times, a column focused on solutions journalism. In his 2012 TED talk, Bornstein explains why he has pursued solutions in his investigative journalism rather than simply focusing on the problem.

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Seeking journalistic truth

Posted by on Oct 29, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Helping student journalists to seek the truth

by Kristin Taylor

What does it mean to be truthful? Is truthfulness accurate numbers and statistics? Multiple points of view? Context to help the reader understand the time and place and other circumstances? All of the above?

Journalistic truth “means much more than mere accuracy,” according the seminal text “The Elements of Journalism” by Kovach and Rosenstiel. “It is a sorting-out process that takes place between the initial story and the interaction among the public, newsmakers and journalists.”

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Handling sponsored content

Posted by on Oct 29, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Student media, when faced with publishing sponsored content, should act carefully and with the best interests of the audience/consumer first.

Although it is quite possible scholastic media will never face making a decision to run content known as sponsored or native ads, students and advisers should prepare guidelines just in case.

Sponsored content and native advertising, two media terms for paid materials, are becoming a fact of life for media and consumers. That said, student media, when faced with publishing them, should act carefully and with the best interests of the audience/consumer first.

Scholastic media owe it to their audiences to expect clearly sourced and non-slanted information, particularly with so much concern with fake news.

 

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