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Working together more than just a phrase

Posted by on Oct 15, 2018 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by Stan Zoller, MJE
More than a few years ago, I produced a corporate television show designed to inform the United States sales force of a major corporation about new sales, existing customer successes and general corporate information.

It was also quasi motivational and one of the anchors’ walk-off lines was  “Working together, we make the difference.” Remember, I produced the show, I didn’t write the copy.

However, as trite as the walk-off for the show was, there is more than a fleeting truth about working together. Especially when it comes to scholastic press rights.

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New Voices podcasts
and valuable information

Posted by on Oct 14, 2018 in Blog, Digital Media, Ethical Issues, Legal issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Looking for information and ideas to challenge students and expand their journalistic experiences, try these first offerings. From challenging concepts to story ideas and approaches, we’ll bring you occasional packages like today’s.

• We’ve launched a new podcast resource from the Scholastic Press Rights Committee — Conversations at the Schoolhouse Gate: The New Voices Podcast!

Our first three episodes are posted. Direct links below; you can find the podcast anywhere you download podcasts, including Apple iTunes and Google Play.

Episode 1 – Neha Madhira – EiC, Eagle Nation Online (Prosper, Tex.)  Neha’s staff faced three rounds of censorship and prior review last year at PHS, and now she’s active in New Voices Texas.
https://pinecast.com/listen/9e9971c1-64ee-4f60-993b-229d9ecc3a3e.mp3

Episode 2 – Steve Listopad – Henderson State Univ. – Steve’s students in North Dakota kicked off the New Voices movement with a successful bipartisan bill in one of the reddest states in the country.

https://pinecast.com/listen/176c0e0f-29ed-4b6c-8d34-24debedd765d.mp3

Episode 3 – Kathy Schrier – Exec. Director, WJEA
The team in Washington were in this fight back in the early 90s, and stuck with it through March 21, 2018, when Governor Jay Inslee signed the New Voices bill into law!
https://pinecast.com/listen/f40e9aaf-bb3d-4b35-b5cc-bccffd0d6ac4.mp3

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/conversations-at-the-schoolhouse-gate/id1437339628

Be in touch – we welcome your feedback. Email Mike Simons at  iteachyearbook@gmail.com

Articles

Trump’s USA Today op-ed demonstrates why it’s time to unbundle news and opinion  content:  Brought to us by Eli Pariser,  originator of the term “filter bubbles,” this piece raises this  point: “Perhaps it’s time to reconsider the whole premise of bundling together hard news and opinion content under the same brand names and domains. If we believe there’s something special about the processes and norms that create journalism (and I do), publishers should draw a brighter line around it — a line that both people and algorithms can understand.

“Moving opinion content onto separately branded sites wouldn’t mean getting rid of it entirely. But the whole practice of op-edding deserves a shakeup anyway, in an era where anyone can self-publish and content is experienced in an atomized form.”

Do journalists spend too much time on Twitter:  “A new study attempts to get at whether journalists ascribe too much importance to Twitter. Shannon McGregor of The University of Utah and Logan Molyneux of Temple University performed an experiment involving about two hundred journalists—some who use Twitter heavily and some who use it only moderately,” writes Mathew Ingram.

The results are interesting, to say the least.

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Tips for reporting the year’s toughest story

Posted by on Oct 7, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by Candace Bowen, MJE

It’s the story of the year, perhaps even the decade. The general topic is listed in the top 10 issues of concern for teens in almost every poll. Misunderstandings and misinformation play a big role, and adults so often don’t know how to talk about it either. This could and should be where student journalists step up, yet, sadly, it’s one of the hardest for them to write about.

Sex. And in particular, sexual assault, has been a female concern for a long time, getting more attention with Harvey Weinstein and #MeToo last year. And now with the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings, teen males see the impact it could have on them – rightly or wrongly.

So, can student journalists write about it? Of course, they can – and should. Some administrators – face it, ALL administrators – may squirm at the thought, but how a staff covers the topic will make a huge difference and might help determine their success.

Here are some things to think about if your students want to write about sexual assault and some helpful resources as well.

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‘Stupid teen stuff’ in student media
can alter history, shape future

Posted by on Oct 2, 2018 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by John Bowen, MJE

Private jokes, misleading and fabricated information have no place in yearbook journalism. In any journalism.

To simplify, in a Sept. 27 hearing about whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh should become a justice on the U. S. Supreme Court, a yearbook sparked controversy years later about the meaning and truthfulness of some content.

People and events around that yearbook and some people noted in it led to an expanded FBI investigation and the attention of millions of people across the country.

In an email to JEA’s listserv, Steve O’Donoghue of California called what happened “an object lesson to every yearbook adviser.

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Check out the new SPRC podcast

Posted by on Sep 30, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Looking to learn more about New Voices and the First Amendment? Check out SPRC’s first in a series of podcasts that will highlight issues of importance to empower student voices.

The first installment of “Conversations at the Schoolhouse Gate” features Neha Madhira from Prosper High School (Texas) and discusses her staff’s fight through prior review and censorship.

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Brett Kavanaugh’s 1983 yearbook provides teachable moments

Posted by on Sep 27, 2018 in Blog, Scholastic Journalism, Yearbook | 1 comment

Yearbooks are forever.

We wear this statement on matching T-shirts, mail it home on marketing postcards and proudly display it on homemade posters created by dedicated publications staffs nationwide.

But less than one week before National Yearbook Week 2018, the phrase takes on new significance during the hearings surrounding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Earlier this week, Kavanaugh’s 1983 Georgetown Prep yearbook page made the news for its references to drinking and partying along with coded mentions of a female classmate that appear to be demeaning inside jokes.

Seeing a yearbook page in the news is always a teachable moment, of course. Journalism teachers can show students — and other stakeholders — the value of yearbooks as historical record, as memory keepers and, depending on one’s perspective, possibly as a sort of character reference. The way people hold on to yearbooks, as Heather Schwedel describes in this Slate article, draws attention to a student publication 35 years later as a form of historical evidence.

What complicates the larger discourse is the social media noise, which quickly shifted to placing blame on the yearbook adviser and others responsible for producing the publication. A tweet by Soledad O’Brien questioned the adviser, and the comments that followed illustrate the wide range of uninformed public opinions about what should and shouldn’t find its way into a yearbook — and who plays a hand in that decision.

What can yearbook staff members learn from the 1983 Cupola?

Recent H.L. Hall National Yearbook Adviser of the Year winners share their perspectives to help add context and offer guidance for students and teachers discussing this in their journalism classes.

 

What is the role of the adviser?

“Advisers are responsible for helping guide staff members in understanding their responsibilities and through challenges they face. They are not there to censor or to dictate content. They are there to provide support, advice and direction. Advisers are not there to serve as editors of student publications. They are there to help students establish the standards and guide them.”

— Brenda Field, MJE; Glenbrook South High School (Glenbrook, Ill.)

“First and foremost, the role of the yearbook adviser is to teach responsible journalism. If we’re doing our jobs, then students will be equipped to make responsible decisions regarding content. And this is what happens every single day in yearbook journalism classrooms across the country. Yes, I read every word that went into the books I advised, as that was the expectation in my school and community. But it was the editors and staff who ultimately determined content.”

— Cindy Todd; retired from Westlake High School (Austin, Texas)

 

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