Updates on scholastic issues across the nation

Several events in the world of scholastic journalism – and that affects it – occurred recently. Censorship issues have not taken a summer break:
• Both good and bad news exist for two publications in NJ.  First the good news. John Wodnick, the adviser of the Allendale , NJ newspaper, said.  “Thought you should know– the censored article was published today in the Senior Issue.  Big victory for Adelina and the Fling! Here’s the SPLC article on the situation (there’s a link to a pdf of the article near the end of the news brief):” The adviser of the paper has since resigned. So, while the students had victories with two censorship cases in their favor, their advisers lost. This makes the third member of the GSSPA board lost, John Tagliareni of New Jersey, said. 
In addition, there is further news, both good and bad, from Pemberton, NJ. The Student Press Law Center reported that The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, came out with its 2014 Jefferson Muzzles, the annual award it presents to those that “forgot or disregarded Mr. Jefferson’s admonition that freedom of speech ‘cannot be limited without being lost.’”  The organization gave the dubious distinction by “honoring”  principal Ida Smith for the censorship case.
However, the students are now fighting to keep their journalism classes. While the enrollment numbers are down, in the past, the classes would have been consolidated. John Tagliareni spoke directly to the students, who are fighting the cuts. They, and adviser Bill Gurden, feel the cuts are retribution for the battles and their victory of the publication of their censored article. Sound familiar? The latest bit of information is definitely not good.
• Neshaminy, PA, on the issue of using the term “Redskins:”
–Update: The Neshaminy board police committee voted Tuesday, June 24, to move the full policy, #600, requiring students to use the word “Redskin” for a vote June 26, Thursday. The board will also vote on a social media policy affecting students, #811.
–Principal confiscates last issue; then makes it available again.
–The U.S. Patent Office has canceled six trademarks belonging to the Washington Redskins football team, saying they are offensive to Native Americans. A related article provides more background on the situation.
– wrote this piece about the issue of the “R” word.
– talks about the controversy continuing.
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‘You have the power to IMPROVE the world,
not just change it’ are words worth noting


by Stan Zoller
Sometimes it’s difficult to see the forest through the trees. Or perhaps we spend a lot of time preaching to the choir. Take your pick.

As journalism educators, we know about the problems we face handling student media. So when someone from “the outside” addresses them, it’s a breath of fresh air.

So rather than write about a “really great speech I heard…”, I’m going to let you read it for yourself.

But first, a bit of background. The presentation was by Dann Gire, film critic for the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Gire was the featured speaker at the Illinois Journalism Education Association’s annual award luncheon June 7.

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Current First Amendment issues worth noting


Looking for discussion starters for the end of school?

For the latest on three nationally ongoing censorship issues, check out:

Fond du Lac, WI

• Cardinal Columns: Filthy administrative minds, “dangerous advice” and the persistent kids of Cardinal Columns
• They’re still censoring the Cardinal Columns FYI – now deny seniors a final issues
• Fond du Lac students protest school censorship

Neshaminy, PA
• Neshaminy board tables controversial publication policy changes

• Controversial Neshaminy policy going back to committee

• Why forcing a student newspaper to use a racial slur is wrong on so many levels

• Playwickian staff implores Neshaminy board not to adopt policy preventing student newspaper from banning use of ‘Redskin’ mascot name

Heber City, UT
• Altered yearbook photos at Utah high school spark controversy

• School alters girls’ yearbook photos to cover bare skin, is not sorry

• Photoshop a yearbook photo neckline, and you tell a teen to be someone else

• ‘Shoulder-shaming’ girls at Utah high school: Why the big coverup?

• Students say altered yearbook photos meant to shame them (see related stories)

In related coverage  of journalism ethics now and in the fall, the question of how altering pictures in student media affects journalism as a whole and creates  the potential of multiple ethical lessons.

• Editing yearbook photos not uncommon, says printer



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Exposing the killing impact of Heroin


When Zach Anders wrote about the rise of heroin in his community, he faced prior review. However, the administrators did not kill the story and it later went on to earn several awards. He published this in his high school newspaper, Sitqayu at Henry M. Jackson High School, in Mill Creek, Wash.

According to his adviser, Torri McEntire, “Anders took on a cover story that had been percolating around school for two years – Heroin use was on the rise. Initially, the Asst. Principal and Principal were not completely positive about the idea. During prior review, they raised concerns about the school appearing to be drug-infused. They both believe in student voice and expression, however, and did not try to kill the story.

This piece went on to win a Best Investigative Reporter Award from the Scholastic Press Assn. and a 2nd Place for best feature from the Edward R. Murrow High School Journalism Awards given by Washington State University that includes entries from five states. It was the most-talked about story of the year for Stiqayu. Zach handled the subject matter and the subsequent buzz well as negative reaction and kudos rolled in.

The story raised awareness about a growing problem and provided resources to students, educators and other adults.

Click here to read Anders  story: Heroin on the Rise

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Making a Difference:
Freshman capstone project
localizes national issue of gay rights


by Jane Blystone
Ally O’ Reilly wanted her capstone journalism project for the year to make a difference. She knew that the national issue of gay rights needed localization in her school publication, Pine Whispers. Her adviser, Stephen Hanf, at R. J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was impressed that a freshman would take on such a challenge.

I love this story because one of my freshmen in Intro to Journalism came up with it and developed it on her own for an end-of-year project. She could have tackled a fluffy feel-good story, but instead tied in this story to the recent Supreme Court cases. It was so well written, timely and full of impact for this under-covered demographic that I had no choice but to publish it in our print paper — something normally reserved for upperclassmen taking newspaper class. It got people talking about an issue that impacts a lot of high school students.”

O’Reilly covered the struggle for students in her school to get an LGBTQ group going. She also interviewed a bisexual student and another student who has shared his life with his brother and two fathers as well as a senior writer might do.

Here is her story. National gay rights issues hit home for students



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JEA listed among key ethics and media law resources


JEA has been listed as a part of key media law and ethics resources by journalism titled 100 Key Ethics & Media Law Resources for Journalists.

“Modern journalists, and anyone else working in the media, have thorny ethical issues to contend with,” Kara James wrote in a letter notifying JEA president Mark Newton of the compilation. “The sites,organizations and articles listed here are good places for journalists (or journalism students) to learn more about the legal and ethical landscape of their field.”

The site for the compilation is .

Among other organizations listed include:
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Society of Professional journalists Ethics Handbook
 Nieman Journalism lab

JEA’s link is to the general website. Other JEA links would include the Press Rights Commission and the law and ethics curriculum for JEA members.

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