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Plenty to learn at the JEA/NSPA convention

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Although this is a totally unscientific finding, it seems like the JEA/NSPA national high school journalism convention next week in Washington, D.C., has more to offer than ever before when it comes information about legal and ethical issues. Take a peek at what the program shows:

“Lifting the Lid on Open Records” and “Censor-proofing Your Publication” are topics Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, will cover. Learn about “Get Right with Copyright,” “Help, I’ve Been Censored” and “Advisers and the Law” from Adam Goldstein, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism attorney advocate, also with the SPLC.

“Open Forum on Press Rights” is a chance to discuss issues and problems at your school with a panel of JEA Scholastic Press Rights Commission members. Besides leading this Q&A session, commission chair John Bowen will  present “Law in the Digital Age” with Mark Goodman, Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism at Kent State and the former executive director of the SPLC.  Bowen will discuss “The Importance of Sound Editorial Policies” with Carrie Faust, another press rights commission member, and Goodman also will explain “State Laws Protecting Press Freedom.” Other commission members are also presenting sessions.

The convention has lots of strands this time, and almost every one of them has some spin on law and ethics. In the strand for new advisers, provided by JEA’s mentoring program participants, are “Advising Students on First Amendment Rights” and “Teaching Accountability: Basic Media Ethics.”  The Broadcast/Digital Media strand covers “Music and Copyright: To Use or Not to Use,” and the administrator strand includes “Why Freedom Works,” “Ethics: A Strategy for Press Freedom” and “Working with Administrators to Prevent Censorship.”

With all these learning sessions, teachers might feel a little more prepared to take the Certified Journalism Educator test sometime in the future. Just to be sure they know what they need, there’s “What You Need to know to be Certified: Legal & Ethical Issues” that I’ll offer Saturday morning.

And this isn’t even a complete list! You may want to learn about the latest way to create graphics or questions to ask to get great quotes from a source. That’s fine. But if you don’t have a solid legal and ethical foundation, your students’ pretty packages and hard-hitting words may not even get to their audiences.

Candace Perkins Bowen, MJE

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