Posts Tagged "Law and Ethics"

Contests can help promote
students making decisions

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“You mean my students’ newspaper can’t win the top award? Just because I read their publication before it goes to press?” an irate principal asked when he called his state’s scholastic press association a few years ago. Well, not exactly, but in a way – yes.

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Be proud of each trip you take to publish student media

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by Stan Zoller
Several years ago I was having a conversation with my neighbor, also a teacher.  Our conversation covered the usual teacher stuff – students, administrators, curriculum, union contracts – and course loads.

It was while we discussing the classes we taught, he pronounced that “well, anyone can teach journalism.”

So much for good neighbors.

I asked him what his point of reference was and he, to no surprise, did not have a good answer, but seemed hint that “all we had to do” was put out the paper, which, I guess is like saying all drivers education teachers have to do is start the car.

Journalism teachers seem to be education’s misunderstood children.  It’s the destination – the newspaper, the yearbook, the broadcast or website by which we are judged.  That’s all we do.

What’s overlooked, as we all know, are the intricacies that go into student media.  Not the intricacies of InDesign or Photoshop – but the intricacies of journalism.  The laws, the ethics, the policies and the court decisions.

You know, “hey kids, go and report so we can produce the next edition, get the next sig done or post it.”  You know, we’re like Nike – we just do it.

Journalism educators are notoriously supportive of each other (well, for the most part) and of our craft.  We’re proud when the final product is published, produced or posted.

What we need to be proud of however, is not the destination – but the trip we took to get there.  My guess is most people – in education and out – do not have an idea of everything that goes into producing student media.  They see the photos, read the words, listen to the broadcast and say “nice job.”

What’s overlooked, as we all know, are the intricacies that go into student media.  Not the intricacies of InDesign or Photoshop – but the intricacies of journalism.  The laws, the ethics, the policies and the court decisions.

What separates journalism classes from the many other classes is what students need to know before they get “the keys to the car.”  Our students need to be exposed on a regular basis to court decisions that impact journalism, not just student journalism.

News consumers who read or watch student media should have the same expectations they do as if they were reading the Chicago Tribune, the Sacramento Bee, the Virginian-Pilot or the New York Times.

Unrealistic?  Maybe high school students don’t have Pulitzer Prize winning writing and reporting skills – but they need to have the same ethics and understanding of press law as any reporter.  Administrators need to understand that the student media is not an outlet for students to have fun in print, online or on air.  If journalism educators don’t keep the bar raised for their student journalists, then the door to prior review and prior restraint may swing open.

And before you know it, administrators may think that anyone can teach journalism.

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A Praxis about journalism?
What do YOU know?

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by Candace Bowen

Chemistry teachers take a test showing they know electronic configurations based on the periodic table. History teachers demonstrate what they know about the early river valley civilizations. And the list goes on.

But how often and where do journalism teachers have to prove their knowledge?

Not too often, if the Praxis content area tests are any measure. There has been no such test for future journalism teachers until recently, though the list of tests for those teaching other sorts of courses is long.

First, full disclosure: I know nothing about electronic configurations and even less about early river valley civilizations. I don’t even know too much about the Praxis content area tests.

But the latter isn’t my fault. As soon as I heard about a month ago that such a test exists, my goal was to find out about it.

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‘Whad’ya know?’
New teachers should answer, ‘Law & ethics!’

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by Candace Bowen
As Wisconsin Public Radio’s Michael Feldman asks each week, “Whad’ya  know?” Sadly, even some secondary school journalism teachers with proper credentials can answer, like Feldman’s audience, “Not much!”

At least that appears to be true when it comes to law and ethics.

And some teachers don’t know much because no one required them to learn much to get their jobs.

Case #1:  My own state — Ohio — has Integrated Language Arts licensure, a common sort of “mile wide, half inch deep” curriculum that means pre-service teachers study something about English, speech, theater and journalism, but not necessarily much about any one of those.

In addition, the state Department of Education approves each college’s curriculum, but anecdotal evidence indicates some higher education programs don’t stick to what they submitted for approval more than 10 years ago. Thus students graduate with little or no journalism, and what they do have is often only beginning newswriting.

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Yes, Common Core has room for law & ethics

Yes, Common Core has room for law & ethics
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by Candace Bowen

Like so many things, it’s good news and bad news. The Common Core State Standards actually may help us show how journalism has skills everyone should know, but in the process could we be losing support to teach the very framework necessary to use our voices in democracy?

In other words, where does teaching law and ethics fit with the new standards?

Nowhere that’s obvious, that’s for sure, but maybe we can find niches that aren’t so apparent.

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