by Jane Blystone
Ally O’ Reilly wanted her capstone journalism project for the year to make a difference. She knew that the national issue of gay rights needed localization in her school publication, Pine Whispers. Her adviser, Stephen Hanf, at R. J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was impressed that a freshman would take on such a challenge.
I love this story because one of my freshmen in Intro to Journalism came up with it and developed it on her own for an end-of-year project. She could have tackled a fluffy feel-good story, but instead tied in this story to the recent Supreme Court cases. It was so well written, timely and full of impact for this under-covered demographic that I had no choice but to publish it in our print paper — something normally reserved for upperclassmen taking newspaper class. It got people talking about an issue that impacts a lot of high school students.”
O’Reilly covered the struggle for students in her school to get an LGBTQ group going. She also interviewed a bisexual student and another student who has shared his life with his brother and two fathers as well as a senior writer might do.
JEA has been listed as a part of key media law and ethics resources by journalism degree.orgtitled 100 Key Ethics & Media Law Resources for Journalists.
“Modern journalists, and anyone else working in the media, have thorny ethical issues to contend with,” Kara James wrote in a letter notifying JEA president Mark Newton of the compilation. “The sites,organizations and articles listed here are good places for journalists (or journalism students) to learn more about the legal and ethical landscape of their field.”
As the national organizations of journalism educators committed to the training of future journalists and the preparation of citizens for life in our democracy, we write to express our vigorous opposition to the proposed policy changes under consideration by the Neshaminy Board of School Directors that relate to school-sponsored student publications
We find the proposed policy changes, which give school officials virtually unlimited authority to censor student journalism even of the highest quality, educationally unsound, constitutionally insufficient and morally indefensible. They are inconsistent with the student media policies recommended by national education experts.
Developing a Put Up Policy
Sometimes the best way to think about a Takedown Policy is to devise a system of proactive steps to avoid needing to take information down. Here are 10 steps to take before publishing:
• Independently confirm information to be used for accuracy, context, perspective, truth and coherence
• Determine whether sources used are credible and representative of diverse and knowledgeable viewpoints
• Clearly attribute all information as needed for clarity and authority
• Avoid anonymous sources except in situations where they are the best source and identities need protection
• Determine whether sources used have conflicts of interest
• Ensure your information has gone through a vetting process with editors
• If using teens or young people as sources, do so with an understanding of minimizing harm as well as publishing truthful and contextual information
• If using social media sources, be sure information is attributed, accurate, in context and used legally and ethically
• Train and background reporters in legal and ethical issues
• If using crowd generated content, clearly indicate the source and ensure its credibility
• Be skeptical of any information you cannot verify
Press Rights Minute is a new Scholastic Press Rights Commission service that offers quick and authoritative 60-second audio support for advisers, students and administrators on key journalistic issues.
Commission member Sarah Nichols created the concept and commission members, students and others completed segments in the series.
We created the service, in part, to practice what we teach our students regarding multiple digital tools — it shows both advisers and students how easy it is to use SoundCloud as another way to tell stories or report information to their audience in a mobile-friendly way.
The Press Rights Commission hopes you will find this service helpful as well as easy to use. We intend to build on the number of segments we have as the year goes on. If you have topics you feel we should address, please let us know.