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So your student media
want to do senior wills? QT10

Posted by on Sep 13, 2017 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Legal issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Because senior wills have minimal journalistic value and great potential for damage, they should not be used in school publications.

Seniors wills have been dying a slow death in high school yearbooks. Yes, students love them, but can we defend them as a journalistic device? Do they represent the best of our work, and the most creative way to tell the stories of students in our schools?

Publishing something information not related to all students and which creates significant issues of review might have harsher outcomes than foreseen. Passing Senior Wills off to the senior class for publication might be a workable solution to solving a clash between professional standards and meeting student desires.

 

Guideline: Because senior wills have minimal journalistic value and great potential for damage, they should not be used in school publications.

Question: What is the journalistic value in publishing senior wills?

Key points/action: Seniors wills have been dying a slow death in high school yearbooks. Yes, students love them, but can we defend them as a journalistic device? Do they represent the best of our work, and the most creative way to tell the stories of students in our schools?

Stance: Students need to balance their free expression rights with their mission and social responsibility to truth, accuracy and verified reporting. Senior wills should be taken out of your yearbooks and replaced with better ways of telling student stories.

Reasoning/suggestions: Publishing something information not related to all students and which creates significant issues of review might have harsher outcomes than foreseen. Passing Senior Wills off to the senior class for publication might be a workable solution to solving a clash between professional standards and meeting student desires.

Senior wills are a vestige of the past and serve little purpose in advancing the stories of the school year. When you allow senior wills, you are inviting others to create content for the product which has your name behind it. You lose control of the message and invite students the opportunity to include inside jokes, Libel, innuendo or other messages which may harm other students in your school. Content could slip in that covertly bullies or harms members of your community, and you would be responsible for it.

Resources: Winner of ‘worst reputation’ award sues Ind. High school over comments in newspaper

Related: These points and other decisions about mission statement, forum status and editorial policy should be part of a Foundations Package  that protects journalistically responsible student expression.

 

 

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Censorship lessons

Posted by on Aug 30, 2017 in Blog, Lessons, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

In the era of the fight against fake news, we believe journalists must be aware of the social climate surrounding the work they do. The attacks and delegitimization of the news media on a national scale shouldn’t make us question the work we do.

We must be able to educate ourselves and our audiences about the role and mission of a 21st century journalist.

We’ve created this set of tools for educators to promote discussion about truth and credibility in the media we access as makers, sharers, consumers and evaluators. Our lessons are listed below:

Censorship

In this noncontinuous lesson, students will localize the 2016 Gallup survey “Free Expression on Campus: A Survey of U.S. College Students and U.S. Adults.”  Students will use their technical writing skills to craft the directions (teachers and students), questions similar to the Gallup questions, and an email in addition to tabulating and comparing the survey results. Students will then compare their results with the national results, create an infographic and then write a reflection of the process.

The lesson starts by providing a prompt in which students examine what they would like to cover, but feel they can’t for some reason. Discussion addresses why this self-censorship exists and examines whether this self-censorship should be abandoned.  

Students and the public have a right to view many records kept by schools, municipalities,  states and federal government. Students should review how to submit a public records request and understand the legal aspects of doing so.The Student Press Law Center also hosts an open records letter generator to make it easy to do. Most often, the Freedom of Information Act request will come at a time when you might be crunched for time. Use this lesson to become more familiar with your rights under the Freedom of Information Act.

To go to another of the fake news categories in Tools of Truth:

Sloppy reporting

Satire

Deceptive news

Home

 

Contributors

Candace Perkins Bowen, MJE

John Bowen, MJE

Maggie Cogar, CJE

Michael Johnson

Lori Keekley, MJE

Jeff Kocur, CJE

Kristin Taylor, CJE

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Prior review v. prior restraint: Quick Tip2

Posted by on Aug 24, 2017 in Blog, Legal issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

In brief, the Journalism Education Association has found prior review has no educational value. Instead, JEA believes it is simply the first step toward censorship and fake news. Prior review also contributes to self-censorship and lack of trust between students, advisers and administrators. Prior review conflicts with JEA’s adviser code of ethics.

Prior review occurs when anyone not on the publication/media staff requires that he or she be allowed to read, view or approve student material before distribution, airing or publication.

Prior restraint occurs when someone not on the publication/media staff requires pre-distribution changes to or removal of student media content.

Prior review itself is a form of prior restraint. It inevitably leads the reviewer to censor and student journalists to self-censor in an effort to assure approval.

An officially designated adviser, when working with students and offering suggestions for improvement as part of the coaching and learning process, who reads or views student media before publication is not engaged in prior review.

 

Possible Guideline: Prior review and restraint

Question: What does prior review mean and how is it different from prior restraint?

Key points/action: In brief, the Journalism Education Association has found prior review has no educational value. Instead, JEA believes it is simply the first step toward censorship and fake news. Prior review also contributes to self-censorship and lack of trust between students, advisers and administrators. Prior review conflicts with JEA’s adviser code of ethics.

Stance: JEA would define prior review and restraint as follows:
• Prior review occurs when anyone not on the publication/media staff requires that he or she be allowed to read, view or approve student material before distribution, airing or publication.

Quick Tips are small tidbits of information designed to address specific legal or ethical concerns advisers and media staffs may have or have raised. These include a possible guideline, stance, rationale and resources for more information. This  is the second in the series

  • Prior restraint occurs when someone not on the publication/media staff requires pre-distribution changes to or removal of student media content.
  • Prior review itself is a form of prior restraint. It inevitably leads the reviewer to censor and student journalists to self-censor in an effort to assure approval.
  • An officially designated adviser, when working with students and offering suggestions for improvement as part of the coaching and learning process, who reads or views student media before publication is not engaged in prior review.

When an adviser requires pre-distribution changes over the objections of student editors, his/her actions then become prior restraint

Reasoning/suggestions: Students learn more when they make all publication choices. Prior review and restraint do not teach students to produce higher quality journalism.

The only way to teach students to take responsibility for their decisions is to give them the responsibility to make those decisions freely. No administrator has ever shown any educational value in prior review.

Continued democracy depends on students understanding all voices have a right to be heard and assuring all viewpoints have a say in their communities.

ResourcesQuestions advisers should ask those who want to implement prior review, JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee

Prior Review, JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee

SPRC Talking points blog

SPRC Talking points

Definitions of prior review, prior restraint

Lesson: Understanding the perils of prior review and restraint

Why we keep harping about prior review

Related: These points and other decisions about mission statement, forum status and editorial policy should be part of a Foundations Package  that protects journalistically responsible student expression.

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How do we assist teachers about
understanding the First Amendment?

Posted by on Feb 12, 2017 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

The Knight Foundation’s recently released 2016 study of student and teacher beliefs, Future of the First Amendment, reported teacher responses that raise First Amendment concerns.

Teacher results showed:
• When asked if  high school students should be allowed to report on controversial issues in their student newspapers without the approval of school authorities, 66 percent of students strongly or mildly agreed. Teachers had a 61 percent disapproval rate.
• When asked whether students should be allowed to express their opinions about teachers and school administrators on Facebook or other social media without worrying about being punished by teachers or school administrators for what they say, 33 percent of teachers strongly or mildly agreed while 54 percent of students did.
• When asked whether schools should be allowed to discipline students who post material on social media outside of school that school officials say is offensive, 28 percent of students strongly or mildly agree while 52 percent of  teachers did.

To get a better idea of how journalism education organizations can react to these findings, we would appreciate your thoughts:

• How can journalism teachers reach out to their peers who don’t understand journalistic freedoms or the importance of those freedoms?
• How can journalism teachers reach out to their non-journalism peers  who don’t support journalistic freedoms for scholastic media about the importance of those freedoms?
• What types of materials should JEA develop to assist these teachers?
• How can journalism teachers and media advisers support other journalism teachers who face prior review and restraint of student media (especially those who do not or cannot attend JEA conventions)?
• How can journalism teachers and media advisers support other journalism  teachers who don’t support freedom of expression for scholastic media  (especially those who do not or cannot attend JEA conventions)?
• What additional resources or materials should JEA develop to support journalism and non-journalism teachers  (especially those who do not or cannot attend JEA conventions)?
• Other comments or suggestions?

Please use the comment section below or contact SPRC current director John Bowen or committee member Lori Keekley with your thoughts.

The Knight Foundation survey, compiled by Kenneth Dautrich of the Stats Group, polled 11,998 high students and 726 teachers. It is the sixth Knight FoundationFuture of the First Amendment since 2004. Past results can be found here.

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Censorship strikes Playwickian again

Posted by on May 11, 2016 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by Jane Blystone
PA School Press Association president

sprclogoToday was one of many days I have talked to students from Neshaminy High School in eastern Pa. over the past three years regarding censorship of their school newspaper, the Playwickian. Once again censorship is lifting its ugly head under different student editors and has now escalated to compelling students to write content the principal wants published, not stories students have agreed to write and publish.

The issue:

One student editor wanted to publish a story in this month’s issue about a pageant for guys in said school called Mr. R—— (the pejorative name for Native Americans) that took place in in March. The majority of the editorial board did not agree to using the pejorative term. As per a 2014 agreement after a national blowout about the pejorative term, students editors have the right to redact the term or not run the story. The student editor, who reported on the story was not satisfied that that word would be redacted, so took the issue up with the principal. The principal demanded it be run unredacted. The editors chose to post the story with the term redacted.

A result:

The adviser resigned effective at the end of this year because she refuses to force student journalists to print the word in their publication as the principal has directed (compelling content)  and the website has been locked down today by the principal (censorship) as you can see here: http://playwickian.com/

How can you and your student journalists help? Simply write letters to these media outlets in their area supporting student rights to choose content and right to edit as per their printed policy.

http://www.buckscountycouriertimes.com/

http://levittownnow.com/

http://www.theintell.com/

Here is the principal’s email as well.
RMCGEE@neshaminy.org

Also post thoughts and support on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #freetheplaywickian. Their Twitter acct. and Facebook acct. are not under auspice of the school but private accounts students own.  If you go to these sites, you can also see what the students have posted about the incident. You can also post, share  and retweet at these social media sites to support them.

https://www.facebook.com/playwickia/?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/search?q=The%20Playwickian&src=typd

Yes, they have contacted JEA SPRC, the SPLC and others. They are doing all the RIGHT things for support. Now I am asking you to help. These students are still fighting this many years-long battle to choose what they will and will not publish without interference from administration, as per our state code regarding Student Free Expression.

 

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