Pages Navigation Menu

Fools, wills and quotes: credibility disasters

Posted by on Mar 17, 2019 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by John Bowen, MJE
It’s that time of year.

Senior quotes. senior wills and April fools sometimes can be considered the three Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

They  have minimal journalistic value and can quickly damage a staff’s –– and a school’s –– reputation and credibility.

What’s a good media staff to do?

The decision is even more difficult if it involves adamant seniors who demand such humor for their yearbook. Or, if for some reason there’s always been one. Tradition is a powerful wall to breach. With April Fools, some media missions call for entertainment. So, why not?

Read More

Just the facts, ma’am

Posted by on Mar 2, 2010 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Twenty-nine days and counting.

Some will look toward the culmination of that period positively. Others do so with dread.

April 1. April Fools.

JEA listservians carried out a lively discussion today on the merits and demerits of publishing an April Fools edition. SPLC executive director Frank LoMonte even said to keep his center’s phone number and e-mail address handy if students published such an issue.

Tough decision.

But, I think there are two core reasons for not publishing an April Fools issue:

• The information is known to be false. We spend the rest of the school year developing our credibility over controversy and defending students’ rights and obligation to print the truth. Then in one day we throw caution to the wind and go with information that is not only untrue but even could be taken to be misleading.
We give others the right to know what is coming. Prior review. Prior approval. We do this, in some cases, with the best of intentions, so sources will not be caught unaware, and to make sure information is not too far out of line. We might even mix the untrue with the true, hoping our audiences can tell the difference. This scares me. We, including those of us carrying out JEA’s official position, argue and rant daily about the educational dangers of prior review. So in this case we want to say, here, check it out ahead of time? What will we say to those, now used to prior review, when they ask for it on something of substance?

Twenty-nine days.

A long period of time to think about the plusses and minuses.

No joke.

Read More