Prior Review undermines learning

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John Bowen spoke about some of the problems with prior review and the censorship it can lead to in his Oct. 25th post and an earlier one. However, another problem is more subtle than blatant censorship. It is self-censorship by student editors. Why go to the all the work of planning, researching, interviewing, providing art work and layout design, etc. for a great story when the principal will just pull it anyway because the subject is controversial?
However, it is this type of story that leads to the most learning in a journalism class and make the class come alive, eager to learn to write and research better. The skills learned are life skills that will help the student no matter what profession he or she finally chooses. Learning to plan, to interview face to face, and to write and present information in a way that peers will clearly understand are “sellable skills.” Aren’t skills like those what we educators should be teaching our students? Aren’t teaching these skills what schools should be encouraging instead of undermining?
Prior review leads to less learning. Learning more, not less is what schools should be promoting.
Fern Valentine, MJE

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