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For your next editorial,
stand up for journalism

Posted by on Aug 26, 2018 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

A graphic like the Boston Globe used  with a collection of newspaper editorials from across the country is simple, clean and very attention-grabbing.

by Candace Bowen, MJE
It’s not too late.

Even if you weren’t back in school by mid-August or hadn’t started publishing yet, it’s not too late to follow the Boston Globe’s campaign to get publications everywhere to write editorials arguing against President Trump’s frequent assertion that journalists are the “enemy of the people.”

“We propose to publish an editorial on Aug. 16 on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date,” The Globe announced. And more than 300 professional news outlets and organizations followed suit.

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Time for informed civic engagement

Posted by on Aug 20, 2018 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

2018 is the season of the which

by John Bowen, MJE

Student journalists must learn to face key questions this fall, not only in terms of scholastic media but also in terms of informed civic engagement:

For example, which information inundating them deserves their belief and active support and which deserves their active skepticism:
• Which version of the truth about collusion in the issues surrounding election meddling?
• Which vision of what America stands for will prevail in the 2018 midterm elections?
• Which political, social, scientific, medical, cultural and educational positions most accurately present reality?
• Which skills will students develop so they cannot only tell the difference between information, misinformation and disinformation but act successfully on those differences?

Responding and acting on these questions – and others below – are among the SPRC’s mission this year.

In other words, when students question authority, as citizens or journalists, they must also question what authority said, authorities’ credibility and reliability and what authority has to gain.

Some call this skeptical knowing or learning. Not cynicism. Not the attack dog theory of media.

The watchdog.

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Ways to celebrate Constitution Day 2018

Posted by on Aug 18, 2018 in Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

The Scholastic Press Rights Committee is again excited to provide lesson plans and activities to help you celebrate Constitution Day and the First Amendment. Constitution Day recognized Sept. 17 each year, and we have a trove of new and archived lessons and activities to help you raise awareness of the First Amendment’s rights and applications for students.

Take a look at the new lessons:

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Face, fight and educate
those who would limit media

Posted by on Aug 16, 2018 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism | 0 comments

by John Bowen, MJE
A Boston Globe article about its Aug. 16 campaign for media to speak out against President Donald Trump’s attacks on journalists called the president’s rhetoric ”alarming.”`

“Whatever happened to the free press?  Whatever happened to honest reporting,” the reporter quotes the president in an Aug. 2 political rally in Pennsylvania. “They don’t report it. They only make it up.”

The Globe seeks editorial comment from other media to stress potential damage to our democracy from the intimidation,  and the importance of an unfettered press.

In a way, the current round of attacks from the president and others have some roots in the 1988 U.S. Supreme Court’s Hazelwood decision. The court’s majority enabled public school officials to limit student expression – not just of student media but any expression in school – under certain conditions.

We now have a generation of teachers and administrators, let along their students, who have only seen media control in many  of our schools.

In a way, the current round of attacks from the president and others have some roots in the 1988 U.S. Supreme Court’s Hazelwood decision. The court’s majority enabled public school officials to limit student expression – not just of student media but any expression in school – under certain conditions.

Hazelwood and other decisions essentially created an expectation student media in public schools could and should be controlled.

If school officials frowned upon criticism, demanded a positive image and prior reviewed and restrained where information did not match their their view of what student media should be, that became the norm. Challenge it and students faced censorship, suspension, withdrawal of school recommendations.

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Maybe #Firstonthefirst initiative can help move the needle

Posted by on Aug 1, 2018 in Blog, Featured, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism | 1 comment

Maybe it was last night’s reflection on Anthony Kennedy’s final day serving as a Supreme Court justice.

Or maybe it was because I’m still recovering from the latest State of the First Amendment survey.

In case you missed it, more than one-third of the survey respondents (40 percent) could not name a single freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment. Only one out of the 1,009 people surveyed could correctly name all five freedoms.

That blows my mind, and I often think about what I can or should be doing differently to help move the needle outside the walls of my classroom.

So today I began what I’m calling #Firstonthefirst.

I made a commitment to talk to five strangers today and share with them about the First Amendment. I’m going to do it on the first of every month, and I hope you’ll join me.

It’s easy enough to visit with folks in line at Starbucks or the grocery checkout, or colleagues at school, or parents on the bleachers at your kiddo’s sporting event. A few minutes of conversation can make a huge difference. I want the people in my community to know the five freedoms and to have a better understanding of why the First Amendment matters.

To make a visual connection, I wore one of my First Amendment T-shirts, and I’ll do that for each #Firstonthefirst. There’s something about seeing those 45 words (or in the case of this shirt, my favorite of those 45) that makes it more memorable, and I hope to leverage the power of social media to spread this movement and get my students — and all of you — having these First Amendment conversations as well.

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