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Now’s the time to consider
applying for FAPFA recognition

Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by John Bowen, MJE
As we start a new school year, JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Committee hopes first and foremost on your list of things to do is to reaffirm your student media’s support for and adherence to the First Amendment and free expression.

Your students can also continue to recognize the  importance of First Amendment practices and policies – and be recognized for it – by applying for this year’s FAPFA award.

This First Amendment Press Freedom Award recognizes high schools that actively support, teach and protect First Amendment rights and responsibilities of students and teachers. The recognition focuses on student-run media where students make all final decisions of content without prior review.

Roughly, here’s a sample of what the judging committee looks for in determining FAPFA recipients:

  • No prior review or restraint by school faculty for all student media.
  • Student staffers make all final decisions of content for all student media.
  • Establish policies at all student media and school system levels or both as public forums for student expression.
  • Remove Internet filters for student journalism use
  • Students, advisers and administrators agree on First Amendment practices, philosophy and application across platforms.

As in previous years, schools seek FAPFA recognition by first answering questionnaires submitted by an adviser and at least one editor. Those who advance to the next level will be asked to provide separate responses from the principal and all media advisers and student editors, indicating their support of the First Amendment. In addition, semifinalists submit samples of their school and media online or printed policies that show student media applying their freedoms.

Schools recognized as meeting FAPFA criteria will be honored at the opening ceremony of the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco.

First round applications are due annually before Dec. 15. Downloadable applications for 2018 are available at this link. Even if your school received the recognition previously, you must re-apply yearly.

This is the 18th year for the award.

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Signing on as FAPFA candidate makes powerful symbolic statement

Posted by on Nov 23, 2016 in Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 2 comments

Confession: For the past 10 days, I’ve spent a good chunk of time glued to media coverage of President-elect Trump, reading about his meetings with prospective leaders and reports of cabinet appointments, cries against Hamilton and SNL on Twitter and updates about the on-again, off-again New York Times meeting.

My nervousness mounts as we transition to a new president known for his attacks on news organizations, for bullying those who ask tough questions, for threats to “open up” libel laws, for ugly rants against those who hold steady to report on the record the actions of our leaders.

And while I’ve made sure to read, donate, sign petitions and facilitate respectful dialogue, I’ve also spent the past 10 days thinking about my journalism students. What can I do? What can we do? What can they do?

As is often the case, the greatest potential for impact is within the classroom. It’s clear to me that my own students’ efforts practicing, protecting and promoting their First Amendment rights matter more than ever.

Next week, Dec. 1, 2016, is the deadline for JEA’s First Amendment Press Freedom Award. I’m glad my students will apply, and here are three reasons I urge other scholastic media programs to do the same:

[1] The FAPFA process provides an important opportunity for students to revisit the core principles of their journalism program as they tell the stories of their school community through truthful and accurate reporting using a wide range of diverse, credible sources. The editors know their publication policies inside and out, but do the other staff members? Would every student on staff be able to answer the FAPFA questions accurately? Perhaps this an opportunity for editors to conduct a mini-lesson to educate or review with rookies some “What happens if …” scenarios.

[2] The possibility of recognition as a First Amendment school is another way to increase awareness in the school and throughout the community. Even if school administrators are supportive of students’ free expression rights both in theory and in practice, it’s likely there are community members who are less aware of what it means for students to make all content decisions free of administrative censorship. It’s another chance to spread the word about what the First Amendment means and why it matters.

Remember, 39 percent of Americans could not name even one of the five freedoms.

Can FAPFA recognition serve to make all stakeholders better understand the educational significance of providing students with an outlet for free expression and the long-term benefits of empowering students with the responsibility of the decision-making process?

Celebrating a school’s First Amendment Press Freedom Award recognition can play a role in the case for scholastic media curriculum development and the long game in protecting both First Amendment education and scholastic journalism specifically.

[3] Signing on as a FAPFA candidate makes a powerful symbolic statement at a crucial time.

My own students have protection from California Ed Code 48907, but they’ll still be using the opportunity JEA’s First Amendment Press Freedom Award provides. In other words, they’ll apply for the award because they can. It’s a chance to speak up and speak out for why that freedom of expression matters so much, and a chance to draw attention to states where students don’t have that right.

Discussing the questions on the first-round FAPFA form reminds students that not every student media program is lucky enough to operate in a student-led environment with journalists empowered by the critical thinking experience of their decision-making process. It puts things in perspective. It emboldens them to use the tools at their disposal, creatively and positively, to fight the good fight. It draws attention to the injustice in schools and states with administrative censorship and helps increase efforts toward press rights legislation.

Editors can proudly share their efforts in attempt to leverage that social currency and widen the scope of attention for First Amendment freedoms just when the New Voices movement — and new White House administration — need it most.

 

by Sarah Nichols, MJE

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In plain view from public places: Photojournalists and free speech

Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Legal issues, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching, Visual Reporting | 0 comments

freespeechweek_logo_mainWhat can and cannot be photographed continues to fall under question, bringing attention to photojournalists and igniting important First Amendment conversations. As part of other Free Speech Week lessons and activities, teachers may use this opportunity to incorporate key readings and discussion geared toward visual storytellers.

For starters, journalism students paying attention to current events likely caught last week’s story of documentarian Deia Schlosberg arrested while filming an oil pipeline protest in North Dakota. If needed, teachers can engage students in a quick research activity to update each other. Key questions: What’s the story? How does this relate to the First Amendment? How does a photojournalist’s role compare to that of a documentarian?

Photojournalists use the phrase “in plain view from public spaces” to describe in broad terms their interpretation of access and privacy as related to their First Amendment rights. What does this mean? Teachers can consider this as a warm-up writing prompt or partner conversation between students before sharing as a larger group.

To read more about photojournalists and the First Amendment, teachers can assign small groups to read and report on any of these articles:

NYT Lens blog: Criminalizing photography

University of Missouri protest “muscle” incident

Pennsylvania student shooting routine traffic stop

First Amendment Center: Photographs as speech

ACLU: What to do if you’re detained

Police, cameras and the Constitution

To tie in a media literacy component, teachers may add “Photography and the Law: Know Your Rights” from Photojojo. How is this article more or less credible? How does the material compare to the other articles under discussion? What factor(s) affected your analysis?


It’s likely that most journalism classes already discussed this photo from Aleppo and a related article
 back in August, but the connection here is strong between the power of a photo and why the world depends on photojournalists to capture what audiences need to see, regardless of how terrifying, depressing or controversial those images may be.

The National Press Photographers Association offers this statement about its advocacy work protecting photojournalists’ rights.
After reading related articles and discussing efforts underway to protect those constitutional freedoms, teachers may want to present powerful storytelling images that may spark debate about free speech and/or the ethical considerations photojournalists face. One option is to assign students to find and share photos on their own.

Here is a simple list of possible photos and/or photographers to research and discuss:

  • Yannis Behrakis, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography, on the refugee crisis in Greece
  • General Nguyen Ngoc Loan Executing a Viet Cong Prisoner in Saigon” by Eddie Adams in 1968
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning photos taken by photojournalist Paul Watson of a dead American soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu
  • Image galleries showing treatment of Iraq prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison complex
  • “The vulture and the little girl” by South African photojournalist Kevin Carter in 1993
  • “The Falling Man” by Richard Drew during 9/11 attacks
  • “Fire on Marlborough Street” or “Fire escape collapse” by Stanley Forman
  • “The Burning Monk” by Malcolm Browne

From celebrating Free Speech Week and First Amendment protection of what photojournalists can do legally to the ongoing considerations of what they should do ethically, the topic is one worth exploring on a regular basis.

by Sarah Nichols, MJE

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Free Speech Week lesson:
What does the First Amendment protect

Posted by on Oct 16, 2016 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

freespeechweek_logo_mainLesson:

What does the First Amendment protect?

Description:

This lesson takes a look at the freedoms the First Amendment to the Constitution protects and explores what these mean to students.

Objectives:

  • Students will understand more about their rights.
  • Students will see how the First Amendment applies to them.
  • Students will learn the First Amendment.

Common Core State Standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.9 Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington’s Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”), including how they address related themes and concepts.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8 Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).

 

Length 50 – 60 minutes

 

Materials

  • Copies of the First Amendment for each student
  • First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
  • White board and markers

Introduction (10 minutes)

When students enter the class, ask them to take out a sheet of paper and write down the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. When they are finished, share with them the answers: region, speech, press, assembly, petition.  Discuss briefly what each of these mean.

Small Groups (15 – 20 minutes)

Break into five groups (or, depending on the size of the class, 10 groups with two groups doing each freedom) and assign each group a freedom. Ask each group to list all the ways that freedom impacts their lives. (answers will vary, but should include such things as how free speech would affect students wearing political t-shirts, free press would impact students making content decisions in student media, students wanting to make a change in school policy, etc.)

Report out (10 – 15 minutes)

Have someone from each group list his or her group’s answer on the white board. As each freedom is posted, ask others in the class to add any other ways that freedom comes into play in their lives.

Exit slips (10 minutes)

Ask students to choose one of the five freedoms they think impacts them the most and write why it’s important to them.

Extension

Challenge students to memorize the First Amendment and recite it to the class in the future. Have prizes (candy, hand-made badge, etc.) to award when they successfully repeat the 45 words of this important document.

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Apply for First Amendment recognition
with FAFPA Award

Posted by on Sep 5, 2016 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

sprclogoConstitution Day participation can be a time to  focus student journalists a on recognition for First Amendment practices and policies as well as civic engagement.

For instance, the FAPFA award.

This First Amendment Press Freedom Award recognizes high schools that actively support, teach and protect First Amendment rights and responsibilities of students and teachers. The recognition focuses on student-run media where students make all final decisions of content without prior review.

Roughly, here’s a sample of what the judging committee looks for in determining FAPFA recipients:

  • No prior review or restraint by school faculty for all student media.
  • Student staffers make all final decisions of content for all student media.
  • Establish policies at all student media and school system levels or both as public forums for student expression.
  • Remove Internet filters for student journalism use
  • Students, advisers and administrators agree on First Amendment practices, philosophy and application across platforms.

As in previous years, schools compete for the title by first answering questionnaires submitted by an adviser and at least one editor. Those who advance to the next level will be asked to provide responses from the principal and all media advisers and student editors, indicating their support of the First Amendment. In addition, semifinalists submitted samples of their school and media online or printed policies that show student media applying their freedoms.

Schools recognized as meeting FAPFA criteria will be honored at the opening ceremony of the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Seattle.

First round applications are due annually by Dec. 1. Downloadable applications for 2017 will be available on the JEA website in the fall.

Save this link and apply now.

Meet the challenges raised by Constitution Day. Apply to be a FAPFA-recognized school.

This is the 17th year for the award.

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