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Are your student media forums for student expression? Let us know

Posted by on Sep 30, 2012 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

The upcoming 25th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hazelwood decision reminds us how important it is to have student media that are open forums for student expression either by school policy or by practice. Do they exist? We hope so…

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A window on the faces of scholastic journalism: Extensive details about student media presented

Posted by on Nov 8, 2011 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Although scholastic media maintain a strong presence across the nation, according in a new study their numbers lag in schools with large minority and poor populations.

Kent State University’s Center for Scholastic Journalism conducted the study, and its findings came from 1,023 public schools, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, from a total sample of 4, 354 schools.

“Our study doesn’t really tell us how healthy high school journalism is, but it does confirm it’s there and in large numbers,” said Mark Goodman, Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism and one of the survey’s principal investigators.

The full report is available on the Center for Scholastic Journalism’s site.

Of schools surveyed, results showed 96 percent offer some opportunity for students to create content in a school-sponsored journalistic activity. Goodman said he hopes the telling results from this year’s Scholastic Journalism Census will  prompt a periodic assessment of the state of scholastic media.

“We want this count to provide a baseline from which we can assess changes in student journalism over time,” he said.

Other report findings included:

• 54 percent of students in schools without any student media qualify for free or a reduced lunch price. In schools with student media offering, that number is 41 percent.
• Public high schools across the country publish more than 11,000 student newspapers, outnumbering daily and weekly U. S. newspapers by more than 3,000 publications.
• More schools have a student yearbook than any other forum of student media.
• More than 15,000 public high schools offer a journalism or publications class, and the majority of all student media activities are produced in relationship to a class.
• Only 33 percent of surveyed schools have any form of online student media, and only 8 percent publish materials strictly online.
• The average school with student media has 873 students and a 35 percent minority population. The average school without student media has 222 students with a 56 percent minority population.

Some of these findings should be of particular interest to JEA, said assistant professor Candace Perkins Bowen, director of the Center for Scholastic Journalism and another principal investigator. “With that many journalism classes in the nation, our organization should be able to offer curricular support. The right kind of solid classes connected to something like the Common Core Standards could help protect student media and allow it to thrive.”

However, the lack of journalism in smaller schools with higher poverty and minority populations creates a stumbling block.

“Students who might benefit most from having journalism in the curriculum appear least likely to have it offered in their schools,” said Piotr Bobkowski, University of Kansas assistant professor and the survey’s third principal investigator.

Goodman said he hopes JEA and other adviser groups can use this data to support journalism educators.

“Advisers play a crucial role in the success of scholastic media programs and the defense of student press freedom,” he said. “I hope that we all can work to end the roadblocks of high school journalism programs moving online”

To download the full report, visit the Center for Scholastic Journalism site.

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Making a list…

Posted by on Sep 28, 2010 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

The Center for Scholastic Journalism’s Candace Bowen, in response to a request on the JEA listserv, started a wish list for administrators  that would make student staffs’ lives easier and more effective.

We would encourage you to check out that list and add to it.

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Noteworthy information 10: Questions for the new era

Posted by on Aug 21, 2010 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

To help us prepare for scholastic journalism’s new era, let’s look at the 10 roles exercise recently outlined by the Center for Scholastic Journalism. Instead of thinking of the roles in terms of print media, let’s project the roles into the future and discuss them in terms of scholastic media’s use of social media.

And, since no one has definite answers for these uses, let’s look at potential uses in terms of questions  for future discussion.

• Should scholastic media be involved in branding? If we are heavily involved in branding are we, by nature of the media, becoming more interested in advertising and public relations than objective reporting?

• What is the best role in student media for social media: Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Google groups  etc)? It is branding? Is it letting our audiences know what we do doing and what to expect? Is it reporting breaking informtion? Is it some combination? What are the plusses and minuses of each in terms of mission, role legal standards and ethics? You might take a look at the issues raised by Mike Wise, sports commentator of radio and The Washington Post when he knowingly posted false information on his Twitter site. Later, he railed at those who did not factcheck. That may be, but what is his responsibility? Today The Post suspended Wise for a month, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported Wise told his morning radio audience. Poynter covered the event, including reference to the Post’s ombudsman’s comments.

• What is your forum role for online media? Should your students moderate comments or allow them at all? Should they be limited to just students?  From the CSJ blog: “Remember, if your existing letters policy says, in the first sentence, you are a forum and encourage letters (comment) but in the next sentence says you will edit for length and clarity, or moderate for this and that, are you really being “open”? Even if you add the phrase “without changing the meaning,” is that possible to do? If I wrote an 800-word letter and you cut it to 400, even if YOU don’t think you changed my meaning, I’ll bet I would think you did. And if the policy says you will edit for “good taste” or even correct mistakes, have you limited my expression?” Or, is there a developing standard that will allow the forum but still enable free expression?

• If we look to use social media for coverage, what kind of story works best? Worst? What kind of story (assuming your students have already outlined their roles using the framework provided by the CSJblog) is most crucial to the role of the medium?

• Can promotion and objective coverage realistically come from the same use of a single social media outlet (Twitter, Facebook)? Should our students mix opinion and objective reporting using the same outlet?

•It has been said that reporting on the web is probably not the place for depth and longform reporting. What evidence supports this? Can we find evidence that depth and longform flourish on the web? An excellent read from Nieman Journalism Lab suggests some dangers of thinking in terms of “quick find” terms on news searches like Google News and others.

• What is optimal length for web stories? Why? Practioners do not all agree that short (someone suggested 250 words) is better? Take a look at respectied news websites.

• In using social media, what are the roles for breaking news, verification and perspective. Are these inherently contradictory? Should we view one as more important than others? How should each come across in our teaching?

We’d love to see a discussion get started here, on JEA’s listserv, on JEA’s Digital Media site or on any other site open to all advisers.

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Noteworthy information 5

Posted by on Aug 16, 2010 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

As we start the year, we sometimes need to find or in some cases, revisit, roadmaps. Two such roadmaps come to mind.

One involves stating or clarifying your mission. For an excellent exercise, and ongoing discussion about what this mission can entail, look at the Center for Scholastic Journalism blog today, and in the next few days.

The second is examining your beliefs – and your school’s practices – concerning prior review. JEA has long argued strongly against the practice as having no educational value. To revisit JEA positions and stances, go here and to the JEA Press Rights Commission website.

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