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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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Building on Student Press Freedom Day and Year of the Student Journalist

Posted by on Feb 3, 2019 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

This week began free expression celebration with Student Press Freedom Day, introduced  the Year of the Student Journalist and  showcased lessons and information on the 50th Tinkerversity.

For those who might have missed or wanted this information and more, here is relevant information all in one place:

  • Year of the Student Journalist activities start a calendar year of national and individual events and programming that will raise awareness of student journalists’ role and struggles they face. For more information, go here.
  • Tinker Turns 50 is a celebration of the 50thanniversary of Tinker. Scholastic journalists will be able to follow the Tinkers, John and Mary Beth,through events and programs as they return to Iowa, Feb. 18-28. Livestream and educational resources information are available. General information and links to the full schedule, here.
  • The Schoolhouse Gate is a project to enable student journalists to tell stories about young people and free speech. Students from Parkland will gather submissions from around the nation about how free speech is being celebrated, challenged and used locally. See more information here. 
  • Celebrating Student Press Freedom Day is a JEA project of its Scholastic Press Rights committee with lessons, resources and daily free speech activities. Find those materials here.
  •  RFK Human Rights program extended the nomination deadline for its 2019 Journalism Awards student categories until Feb. 8. For more about the awards and guidelines go here.
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Proactivity can help face a challenge

Posted by on Jan 15, 2019 in Blog, Law and Ethics, New Voices | 0 comments

by Stan Zoller,MJE
Watch just about any team sporting event and at some point, there will be challenge to a call. Or challenge to the rules.

It’s no different with some scholastic journalism programs. Despite New Voices laws in 14 states, and bills introduced in three others, challenges to the rules, or in this case laws, are not unusual.

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Bringing light to relevant issues, past and present, defines journalistic leadership

Posted by on Jan 2, 2019 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Lessons, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by John Bowen, MJE
“I’d rather be a hammer than a nail
“Blowing in the Wind
“Find the Cost of Freedom
Ohio
“Where Have All the Flowers Gone

How do these lyrics and titles relate to scholastic journalism?

  • They all came at a time when people questioned the media, its role and its leadership.
  • They all came at a time when citizens and journalists complained of government mis-, dis and censored information.
  • They all came at a time when activism and protest – from multiple viewpoints – clouded not only the truth on timely issues but also many people’s minds.

Sound familiar?

Fifty years ago, The U. S. Supreme Court upheld students wearing of black armbands as protected speech during the Vietnam war. That war also spawned events and issues that continued to bring activists, protestors and media together.

The war brought new levels of violence against expression some called unAmerican. “America, love it or leave it” was a forerunner of today’s “Enemy of the State.”

Such verbiage frustrated citizens who sought the truth about issues: The Pentagon Papers. MyLai 4. Lt. William Calley. May 4, 1970. The impact of drugs.

2018 and 2019 highlight a tumultuous new era with key similarities to the past.

Distrust of government and news media. Who tells the truth? Whom can citizens believe? Who lies?

And the current issues: Availability of guns, health, drugs, the environment, misinformation and lying. Growing amounts of stress in student lives.

Sound familiar?

We began to learn from Mary Beth and John Tinker and others who opened the schoolhouse gates to free expression, social awareness and creation of change. Free speech and press are important.

If we truly believe the social responsibility role of the news media is an essential partner with freedom – at all levels – we will empower student journalists to seek the truth, to dig for the whole story and to always question authority. They then question what authority tells society as the Tinkers and others modeled 50 years ago.

Reporting will add new meaning to journalistic leadership, advocacy and solutions.

Consider, as a New Year’s resolution, expanding your journalistic studies to include current issues as well as their historical perspectives. Content choices include:

And, as we move into 2019, the hammers, not the nails, will bring clearer insight and exert stronger leadership in today’s societal issues.

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Student journalists should heal and transform the world

Posted by on Nov 11, 2018 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism | 0 comments

JEA president Sarah Nichols, MJE, gives Rachel Simpson, principal of the Convent of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco, her JEA Administrator of the Year award Nov. 3 at the JEA/NSPA convention in Chicago. Here are her comments. Photo by Mike Simons.

JEA Administrator
of the Year, Rachel Simpson

Thanks to the JEA for this award. It is an honor to be here and an extraordinary privilege — and a wonderful surprise, frankly — to be recognized in this way.

Gratitude to everyone in this room for your work motivating student’ voice and student publication. Specifically, in relation to my own school — Convent of the Sacred Heart High School which is a division of Schools of the Sacred Heart  San Francisco — I would like to highlight the excellence of our student journalists and Tracy Sena’s role as their trusted adviser.

I don’t believe the concept of scholastic press freedom would be possible without the trinity of dedicated and ethically minded students, supported by a deeply committed and responsible advisor within a school culture that upholds the empowerment of student voice and agency as a core value.

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