Credibility may mean less censorship

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Although we’ve walked around the edges of this topic, no one has ever done good quantitative research on the correlation between credibility and censorship. Maybe it’s time someone did to prove my point….

If your students can use AP style and know the difference between a pica and a pronoun, do they have more freedom to publish what they think is important for their audience to hear? If your administrator thinks YOU have a good handle on the basics of journalism, know something about law and ethics and can model vital interviewing skills, does he or she stay out of the publications room?

Granted, some recent high-profile cases seem to indicate no matter how much experience or how many degrees the teacher/adviser has, some principals and school boards are not happy with hard-hitting coverage. But I’m still willing to bet that a little credibility goes a long ways to hanging onto student First Amendment freedoms. If nothing else, it helps bolster the argument that students are learning solid lessons and not simply filling publication pages with fluff. Administrators DO want students to learn more, right?

With that in mind, it may be time to consider showing what you know by earning the Certified Journalism Educator or Master Journalism Educator designation from the Journalism Education Association. These don’t replace whatever credentialing the various states require, but they just might be a little boost to show your bosses you know what you’re teaching.

Oct. 1 is the deadline to apply for the new and improved CJE test to be offered in Washington, D.C. in November.  To find out more, check the Certification Commission pages on the JEA Web site.

Clearly, there’s a good reason JEA has both a Scholastic Press Rights Commission and a Certification Commission. Each in its own way works to support journalism teachers and media advisers.

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