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Free press–why students should
make decisions of content QT7

Posted by on Sep 2, 2017 in Blog, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

For students to prepare themselves for their roles in a democracy, they must be able to practice guarantees of the First Amendment, thus knowing they can make a difference.

Free expression in student media helps students learn to make critical decisions for which they are responsible, to develop integrity in their journalistic practice as well as their thinking and to engage with people on issues of importance and interest.

Without this freedom, as First Amendment expert Nat Hentoff said, the Constitution and America’s heritage would be little more than parchment under glass, outdated, fragile and sterile.

Without this freedom student journalists would be mouthing approved platitudes that are not real. Censored news is fake news; it is incomplete news and contributes little if anything to public awareness and informed civic engagement.

 

Policy

If you’re developing a new policy, the Scholastic Press Rights Committee recommends using language something like this:

[Name of publication] is a designated public forum for student expression. Student editors make all content decisions without prior review from school officials. 

Question: 

Why should students make decisions?

Key points/action

For students to prepare themselves for their roles in a democracy, they must be able to practice guarantees of the First Amendment, thus knowing they can make a difference.

Free expression in student media helps students learn to make critical decisions for which they are responsible, to develop integrity in their journalistic practice as well as their thinking and to engage with people on issues of importance and interest.

Stance

Without this freedom, as First Amendment expert Nat Hentoff said, the Constitution and America’s heritage would be little more than parchment under glass, outdated, fragile and sterile.

Without this freedom student journalists would be mouthing approved platitudes that are not real. Censored news is fake news; it is incomplete news and contributes to public misunderstanding and mistrust.

Reasoning/suggestions:

“Without journalism, democratic life dies from lack of oxygen,” Roy Peter Clark, senior scholar at the Poynter Institute, writes: “Without democracy, journalism loses its heartbeat. Without a serious study of journalism there can be no understanding of citizenship, democracy or community.”

Resources:

JEA statement on student free expression in a vibrant and flourishing democracy

Democracy dies in darkness

With power comes great responsibility 

First Amendment and the obligation to peacefully disrupt in a free society

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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Questions for thought #6 part of a series

Posted by on Sep 20, 2011 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

The last question of our current series.

Do you have others you would raise?

•  What does a free press contribute to our democratic society?  What are its advantages and disadvantages?  Who benefits from a free press? Now repeat the questions for scholastic media? Are there any differences? What and why?

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Questions for thought 1

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

As the new year starts, we face many issues. Some arise daily. Others reside in the background until events force them on us. These broad philosophical issues often are questions we need to answer before they become crucial.

Over the next several posts we will raise a variety of Questions for Thought. Hopefully, as you consider answers, you and your students will address some important principles of scholastic journalism.

We hope these questions might prove to be worthy assignments and that you might share some of your activities through the comments section here.

Question #1:

School officials argue prior review is important because school media represent the image of the school to the community. Analyze this argument and make two sets of recommendations: one supporting prior review, the other arguing against it. Develop criteria and arguments for each position. Find a neutral audience or class and arrange a debate to generate discussion and – hopefully – an action plan on the subject.

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