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Ammunition against prior review and restraint Handling controversy, Part 3 of a series

Posted by on Oct 4, 2011 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Part of the difficulty in reporting controversial issues is how to define the term and the concept. Any article, if misreported in some way, can be controversial. Journalists would start with looking at the process of gathering information, of observing and conducting research.

Each of these steps would take place following journalistically responsible legal and ethical guidelines, no matter their platform.

In short, we avoid controversy even in sensitive issues through preparation and reliance on journalistic standards.

Our goal in Part 3 of Ammunition Against Prior Review and Restraint is to show coherent reporting begins with preparation using a variety of approaches. Resources for at least some of those ways are listed below.

As Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel wrote in The Elements of Journalism, “Rather than rush to add context and interpretation, the press needs to concentrate on synthesis and verification. Sift out the rumor, the innuendo, the insignificant and the spin, and concentrate on what is true and important about a story.”

Reporting in scholastic media that omits essential pieces of information because of review or restraint is an indirect form of fabrication. It destroys not only truth but credibility and reliability. Worse, it may be a little recognized contributor to a world where stakeholders – politically right and left – grow to mistrust media of all types.

We hope these resources will help you and your students in the quest to find a process for reporting stories that are thorough, accurate – and coherent:

• Reporting controversy requires establishing a sound process
• Sensitive Issues Guide
• 10 Tips for Reporting Controversy
• Using Anonymous Sources with Care
• Verification Before Publishing Prevents Issues
• Importance of Getting Consent in Some Issues
• Tips for covering controversial subjects
• Covering controversial topics guidelines, teaching outline

• Questions to ask about controversial issues
• 10 roles activity
• Introduction to handling controversial reporting PowerPoint
• Confidential sources PowerPoint
• Resources for reporting controversial issues

 

 

 

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Foundations for Scholastic Journalism

Posted by on Feb 25, 2011 in Blog, Digital Media, Ethical Issues, Legal issues, News, Projects, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching, Visual Reporting | 0 comments

Late last year, the Scholastic Press Rights Commission asked JEA members and others what clear statements about legal and ethical issues they would like to see compiled in one easy-to-access place.

From their responses the Commission created these 11 Foundations for Scholastic Journalism, in downloadable PDF form below, the first installment of our series. Foundations run from the general, including curriculum standards for law and ethics, to the precise, such as how and when to get consent when publishing articles. It’s a start, and the Commission welcomes suggestions for others we can add in the future.

Some of these incorporate and expand on JEA policies and statements the Board has passed and are available elsewhere on the Web, but here you will find them all in one place. They also offer links to resources that support each concept and can serve as handouts or posters.

1. Journalism as 21st Century skills

2. A Free and Responsible Student Press

3. Administrators Should Support Scholastic Journalism

4. Why advisers should oppose censorship

5. The Importance of Getting Consent

6. The Use of Anonymous Sources

7. Verification is important

8. Handling controversy

9. Foundations to meet Common Core standards for law and ethics

10. A road map: Getting to know the SPLC

11. Who owns the copyright?

We welcome your feedback and recommendations.

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Illinois paper calls for public discussion of issues at Stevenson High

Posted by on Dec 3, 2009 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

The Pioneer press, local paper for Lincolnshire, Illinois, today editorially called for public discussion of the issues surrounding censorship of The Statesman at Stevenson High School.

Last spring, the paper had editorialized against the students.

Now is the time for Stevenson administrators, faculty and students to share their opinions and hear from people with diverse views about issues upon which the Stevenson controversies have touched: Should reporters use anonymous sources — especially if those sources accuse other people of breaking the law? How do administrators keep oversight of a school newspaper from turning into an extension of a school’s public relations department? How do professional journalists respond to potential conflicts of interest, and what should student journalists and educators do when they face conflicts?” the paper stated in today’s editorial.

You can read the entire editorial here.

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