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5 activities to consider before next fall

Posted by on May 28, 2018 in Blog, Digital Media, Ethical Issues, Legal issues, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

By John Bowen, MJE

Looking for end-of-year activities to rebuild or revisit how your student media operate, the range and effectiveness of content, no matter the platform?

Consider the following, either now at the end of the year or during summer staff retreats, to help students strengthen your program’s foundation.

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Clickbait QT68

Posted by on May 16, 2018 in Blog, Digital Media, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Guideline:

Journalists should present relevant information in context so the audience has adequate information on which to base decisions. Context is just as important as factual accuracy and can help readers fully understand an issue and its relevance to their daily lives.

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Use of VR by scholastic media QT 60

Posted by on Apr 17, 2018 in Blog, Digital Media, Ethical Issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

 

Key points/action:

According to its proponents, Virtual Reality offers virtual and immersive storytelling that puts audiences into the scene and enables them to feel such emotions as fear. VR, proponents say, gives people authentic reactions of those in the real situation.

Commercial news media, and others,k are trying VR out across the country. Columbia Journalism Review calls VR “ascendant,” and cites ongoing projects like Harvest of Change and Project Syria. CJR also cites growing consumer interest in VR.

Despite commercial use and excitement about VR’s use, questions still remain for its use in scholastic media. The best thing for staffs to consider is whether using VR as telling stories or presenting news is the best platform or approach.

Some questions:

• Accuracy of context?

• Does its use reflect the preciousness of the real event?

• Is the information expressed in context?

• Are the images accurate and in context?

• Has nothing been added not in the “live” event itself?

What guidelines should student media adapt or create for VR that maintain the best of journalism’s ethical standards?

Stance:

We feel there are no quick and easy answers, but plenty of ethical room for discussion and implementation of workable guidelines.

Reasoning/suggestions:

Before spending funds of the tools needed to make VR become a local and effective tool, student study how journalism organizations use it or plan to use it and how they handle ethical concerns.

ResourcesThe Future of News: Virtual Reality- TED Talks

Virtual reality is journalism’s next frontier – Columbia Journalism Review

 

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Limiting student emails QT57

Posted by on Apr 10, 2018 in Blog, Digital Media, Ethical Issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Guideline and policy

The school can’t keep students from using email addresses they create for communications related to their student media.

Nothing in Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) or Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) overcomes the First Amendment protections students have nor the rights they have under state law.

Key points/action: Talk to the Student Press Law Center for guidance on how to respond to this.

Stance:  Three points to note:

  • The school is not required by CIPA or COPPA to prevent the use of these publication email address that don’t go through the official school Google email service. So long as the school can attest it’s taking appropriate measures to protect students from harm that could result via these emails (training them how to use them and how to respond to inappropriate messages, making a faculty member like the adviser accessible to the students if they have questions or problems, etc.), they will have complied with any legal obligations under those laws.
  • There is no reason the school couldn’t give students on the publication staff a second email address connected to their publication role that operates under the same protocols as the students’ official school email address. This may not be a good option because of the access the school could have to publication-related messages, but it would be a way to satisfy the school’s concerns and get separate emails working more easily.
  • Gmail is not the only option for free email accounts for your publication staff. If your students could work around this by creating new email addresses via another service that can be accessed from the school computers, that might be worth considering.

Reasoning/suggestions: The more challenging issue is whether the school can prevent students from accessing those email accounts on school-owned devices. Again, the SPLC is probably best able to advise you and  your students,

Resource: Mark Goodman, Knight chair in Scholastic Journalism, Kent State University, September 2017.

Related: These points and other decisions about mission statement, forum status and editorial policy should be part of a Foundations Package  that protects journalistically responsible student expression.

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Plan and pack for social media coverage of protests

Posted by on Mar 22, 2018 in Blog, Digital Media, Ethical Issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

 

The three photos on this page are from the Women’s March Jan. 21, 2017, and show what a similar protest could be like March 24. Photos courtesy of Marina Hendricks.

by Marina Hendricks, CJE
Social media offers great possibilities for real-time reporting of protests. Here’s some advice for student journalists who are preparing for protest coverage, based on my experience attending the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2017.

Before you go

Check rules and regulations. Participants in the Women’s March were limited to clear backpacks and handbags roughly equivalent to the size of large wallets. I didn’t have a backpack, so I carried a small cross-body bag and wore a jacket with plenty of pockets for stashing equipment and supplies.

Develop a communication plan. Save phone numbers in your devices so you can contact each other. Use an app such as GroupMe, WhatsApp or Signal to organize group messaging. Study maps to become familiar with the area. Designate a safe rendezvous point away from the protest site (such as a restaurant or coffee shop) and set times for regular in-person check-ins.

Figure out what you’re going to use. In selecting your social media channels for protest coverage, consider where you’re most likely to engage with your audience that day, then make a list of relevant hashtags and handles. Large-scale events typically have both national and local organizing groups. Determine which hashtags you’re most likely to use, and identify the social media players you plan to tag and @mention. Save the list where you can find it easily.

Prepare for coverage. Social media reporting involves working with phones, and large crowds of people mean jammed cellular networks. This excellent article by Beatrice Motamedi, CJE, contains tips on working around jams to report and communicate, and provides other helpful advice. Take an extra phone charger, a clear plastic bag to protect your phone from rain or snow, a small notebook and a couple of pens.

Pack for a long day. In addition to reporting gear, you’ll want items to keep you comfortable throughout the event. These include a refillable water bottle that can be attached to clothing, hand wipes, hand sanitizer, tissues, granola or protein bars, a small first-aid kit, over-the-counter pain reliever and necessary prescription medication, cash (small bills), mass transit cards and maps of the area. Tuck photo identification and proof of health insurance in an inside pocket of your jacket for safekeeping.

At the event

Choose attire carefully. Wear comfortable shoes and a jacket and pants with lots of pockets. Dress in layers, with long-sleeved shirts or hoodies that you can tie around your waist if you get too warm. “Glittens” protect your hands while keeping your fingers free to work your phone. A ballcap can help protect your eyes from sun or rain, depending on the weather.

Practice safety. Make sure a trusted adult knows where you’re going to be and how long you plan to be there. Follow the buddy system – work in pairs. Maintain awareness of the environment around you. Look for alternative routes to exit the protest site. Be prepared to see and hear things that may make you uncomfortable. Remember, you’re there to report. If you feel unsafe, however, leave the area.

Make yourself identifiable as a student journalist. Carry a staff photo ID and/or wear a staff shirt. If you have business cards, take some with you.

Be considerate. There’s no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place. That said, when interviewing and shooting photos or videos, make sure people are comfortable with what you’re doing.

This is especially important with children. Ask permission first, from the kids as well as their parents. Even if kids seem comfortable, parents understandably may get nervous. They may not want their children on social media. For tips on interviewing children, see this Columbia Journalism Review article and this guide written by Sarah Carr for the Education Writers Association.

Exercise judgment. People who attend protests are passionate, creative and colorful in expressing their opinions. Their language and signs may be explicit. Watch and listen for what might not meet your editorial standards.

Savor the experience. You are witnessing history and helping to record it. Enjoy!

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Tips for audio reporting of protests, walkouts

Posted by on Mar 21, 2018 in Blog, Broadcast, Digital Media, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Video and audio by Lucie Rutherford. Used with permission Part of HHS Media, Harrisonburg High School’s coverage of students, faculty and staff lined up to show solidarity with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High where 17 died in a shooting Feb. 14.

Knowing how to prepare and work with audio in covering protests, walkouts. SPRC member Vince DeMiero and junior Marianne Nacanaynay of TheHawkeye.org  talk about solutions to audio issues.

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