Pages Navigation Menu

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.

Read More

A (written) step toward more faculty support

Posted by on Dec 17, 2018 in Blog, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by Lindsay Coppens
In good times and bad times, having faculty support can go a long way in ensuring student press rights.

Towards the beginning of each year, but sometimes when we’re nearing the end of semester one,  I send an email to the faculty and staff to thank them for their support, to reinforce that the publication is, in fact, student-run (despite being a student newspaper, many community members  assume that I make editorial decisions) and to guide their concerns and communication directly toward student editors.

Read More

Stop being afraid

Posted by on Dec 3, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Legal issues, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by Cyndi Hyatt
The media is under attack.  Although friction between the press and the President is nothing new (John Adams, Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Nixon all had a cantankerous relationship with the press) this current labeling journalists as the “Enemy of the People” has far reaching effects that may even trickle down to student journalism.

In an era of fear and uncertainty, high school and college students are afraid to express themselves openly because of the possibility of making someone else feel offended or uncomfortable or of fueling heated debate or of being accused of faking the news.  

Read More

Trickling down hits the news room

Posted by on Nov 26, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by Stan Zoller, MJE
The Ronald Reagan presidency, if nothing else, introduced the United State to “trickle-down economics,” which was described as a method by which “… benefits for the wealthy trickle down to everyone else. These benefits are tax cuts on businesses, high-income earners, capital gains and dividends.”

It could be described that government edicts would, in the long run,  be the rule of thumb for everyone.

Some pundits still debate the effectiveness of “trickle-down economics” even though Reagan’s eight years as president ended 29 years ago.

Old political stands die hard.

Under the current administration, journalists and journalism educators may be experience “trickle down journalism” in which the condescending attacks on journalism by the Trump Administration are trickling down to the general population.

For journalism educators, especially scholastic journalism educators, the trickle down may be hitting administrators.

Read More

Lack of media diversity creates problems for democracy

Posted by on Nov 18, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by Candace Bowen, MJE
Columbia Journalism Review is focusing on diversity in this fall’s print issue and online site— not the diversity of inclusion or the diversity that just gives us more voices. In the intro to the Fall 2018 issue,author Jelani Cobb, director of Columbia University’s Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Human Rights, says now it’s more than that. She shows how journalists are just plain missing the story.

Read More

Student journalists are the real deal

Posted by on Nov 4, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

As editor Gillian McGoldrick and former editor Tanvi Kumar tell their stories to NPR co-host Audie Cornish, another former student who stood up for her right so speak — Mary Beth Tinker — tapes the presentation. (photo by John Bowen)

by Cyndi Hyatt
A few weeks back a student reporter asked a school administrator if she could cover a school-related banquet at a local country club, an event much touted and advertised.

Sure was the response, but she would have to buy a ticket.  

She was not expecting that response, nor was I.  After some adviser-led investigation and nudging, the reporter was granted access to the event and the story appeared in the latest issue of the newspaper.  

The student reporter was even approached by the district’s public relations people for photos to use on the district website and in press-releases.

But what got me thinking was the initial assumption about her – that a student reporter was not a “real” reporter.

And that is a gross misconception to say the least.

Would the response be the same if the local news van showed up to cover the story?  I doubt they would have had to dish out $100.00 for entrance to the event. I imagine the organizers would have welcomed the professional media, grateful for the coverage.  

And, as it turned out, the only coverage was from the school student-run newspaper.

Facing the challenge of having students recognized as legitimate, trained journalists will never go away, but this most recent incident had me thinking of three steps we take every year to help others recognize the credibility of our young journalists.

  1. Press passes for everyone.  Each year we have our photography editor take head shots of all staff.  A local printer makes us complementary color photos so all we pay for are the sleeves and the logo lanyards.  All passes are dated and signed by the advisers.
  2. Staff apparel.   Student reporters are identified further as journalists by the tee-shirt or fleece jacket they wear to events.  It’s a uniform approach, recognizable in school and community.
  3. Assertion.   In the case of a paid event, our students are encouraged to approach the organizers with a statement rather than a question.  “We would like to cover your event Saturday” is a lot stronger that “May we come to your event on Saturday?” A few adjustments in language can make a difference.

A solid student journalism program needs to command the respect it deserves.  Don’t settle for no when you are doing the community a service, telling others’ stories or spreading the news.

Look the part and be assertive. The results are worth it.

 

Read More