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Contests should stress how to be journalists as much as they do winning

Posted by on Mar 31, 2019 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by Stan Zoller, MJE
The late sports writer Jerome Holtzman penned a book, “No Cheering in the Press,” which is a collection of fascinating tales by some legendary sports scribes.

In the book, the scribes describe the ascent to the top of the craft to cover some of the nation’s most famous, if not infamous, sports legends.

To no surprise, the ride to the top was accentuated by talent, luck and, of course, hard work.

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When is free speech not so free?

Posted by on Mar 25, 2019 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


Just because legislation or mandates say they protect and promote student voices and student thought, doesn’t necessarily mean they do.


by Candace Bowen, MJE
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

That may be a cliché, but it’s often spot on. And no more so than news lately of various orders and state legislation and school policies seeming to promote free speech. That’s a great idea, right?

Well, maybe not.

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Fools, wills and quotes: credibility disasters

Posted by on Mar 17, 2019 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by John Bowen, MJE
It’s that time of year.

Senior quotes. senior wills and April fools sometimes can be considered the three Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

They  have minimal journalistic value and can quickly damage a staff’s –– and a school’s –– reputation and credibility.

What’s a good media staff to do?

The decision is even more difficult if it involves adamant seniors who demand such humor for their yearbook. Or, if for some reason there’s always been one. Tradition is a powerful wall to breach. With April Fools, some media missions call for entertainment. So, why not?

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‘Hardly any confidence’

Posted by on Mar 10, 2019 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Scholastic journalists must seize the opportunity to improve confidence in media

by CyndiCrothers-Hyatt
A recent national poll conducted by the Columbia Journalism Review asked Americans about their confidence in the press. It’s no surprise that in our country’s current climate there is a level of distrust of the media among Americans.

But the results were shocking. Not only is there mistrust but the level is staggering and mind-blowing.

The poll asked about confidence in seven institutions:  military, law enforcement, universities, the Supreme Court, the Executive Branch, the press and Congress. The group that scored the highest in the “hardly any confidence at all” category?

The press.

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Students in the forefront

Posted by on Feb 24, 2019 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Students who can name one of the five freedoms in the First Amendment earn an appropriate t-shirt from Mary Beth and John Tinker. Represented on stage were Florida, Texas and Iowa. (photo by Candace Bowen)

by Candace Bowen  Third in a series
When anyone tells Mary Beth Tinker that students are the future, she firmly but politely corrects them: “No, they’re the present.”

If the students participating in the #Tinkerversary events this week are typical – and it would seem they are –, the present is in good hands.

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Now things are different in Des Moines

Posted by on Feb 21, 2019 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism | 0 comments

John Tinker signs a black armband for two Callanan Middle School students. They told he and Mary Beth about causes that mattered to them. (photo by Candace Bowen)

by Candace Bowen Second in a series

Des Moines schools, how you have changed since early winter 1965.

That’s when a high school principal got wind of a pending Vietnam War protest – reportedly when his school’s newspaper adviser showed him a story about it for the next issue. He and his fellow principals decided suspensions would be the punishment for anyone who did this.

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