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Campaign spotlights students’ work
that made a difference

Posted by on Jul 30, 2018 in Making a Difference | 1 comment

SPRC members are reintroducing the Making a Difference campaign. This monthly posting will highlight students who have made a difference through their coverage. When your students create content that has a positive impact on your school or community, please fill out the submission form and we’ll tell you how to send your content. JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee will post one or more packages a month on its website and promote them on social media.

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Empowerment, making a difference,
is REAL news

Posted by on Dec 18, 2017 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Censored news is fake news

by Candace Bowen, MJE
Nearly half of U.S. voters think media fabricate news stories about President Donald Trump and his administration, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released this fall.

Commercial media have been trying to drive that number down, but they’re going to need help from journalists too young to even vote yet. High schools, middle schools and even elementary schools have a new crop of reporters who want to tell real stories – and they might just be the answer to changing such poll results.

Take Hilde Lysiak, at 10 years old the youngest member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Her Orange Street News covers everything about her hometown in Pennsylvania from new businesses opening (and old ones closing) to crime stories with quotes from the police and exact wording from criminal complaints.

Both former Student Press Law Center director Frank LoMonte and JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights website have pointed out that censored news is fake news. If sources give student reporters “facts” meant to deceive, if they withhold information about problems thus preventing an attempt at solving them, if they promote platitudes about a school environment that doesn’t exist, this is surely promoting fake news. And it’s not allowing reporters to cover real news that’s important to them and their communities.

In SPJ’s September/October Quill magazine, she’s the Q & A member profile. Asked to offer one piece of advice, Lysiak said, “I would say that reporters should always do whatever it takes to stay focused on getting the truth. Don’t pay attention to the haters. They just zap your energy.”

She also applauded her parents for letting her ride her bike “all over town” when she started reporting as a 7-year-old. “If they hadn’t given me that freedom, I wouldn’t be able to report the news like I do. Sometimes I think the best thing parents can do is get out of the way.”

Thousands of miles away in such places as Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNICEF has been empowering “child reporters,” 12 to 16. Their Stories of Innovation website says, “Evidence gathered over three years in the 11 provinces shows that once aware of their rights, children join forces and take up social issues in their schools and communities. . . . Furthermore, the continued observation of children as eloquent players of change makes adults more respectful in regards to children’s needs.”

These are just two examples of young people whose reporting can make a difference. It’s REAL news, not the least bit fake. They have been allowed and encouraged to find out what is going on in their parts of the world and convey that to their audiences. So even if a 10-year-old can’t make changes, she can inform those who have to power to do so. Think what our high school reporters can – and when allowed to HAVE done that has impact.

Both former Student Press Law Center director Frank LoMonte and JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights website have pointed out that censored news is fake news. If sources give student reporters “facts” meant to deceive, if they withhold information about problems thus preventing an attempt at solving them, if they promote platitudes about a school environment that doesn’t exist, this is surely promoting fake news. And it’s not allowing reporters to cover real news that’s important to them and their communities.

Now just one month shy of 30 years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier case (Jan. 13, 1988), it’s time for some administrators and other haters to “get out of the way.” We have a generation wanting to get the truth and report it to others.

 

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Choosing topics for editorials QT37

Posted by on Dec 12, 2017 in Blog, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

The best and most effective staff editorials are those that tackle an important topic and then give audiences a reason and a way to address it.

Staff editorials should concern local or localized issues for the student body and/or school community. They may advocate, solve a problem or commend.

Guidelines

Staff editorials should concern local or localized issues for the student body and/or school community. They may advocate, solve a problem or commend.

Question: What are best practices in choosing staff editorial materials?

Key points/action: The best and most effective staff editorials are those that tackle an important topic and then give audiences a reason and a way to address it.

Stance: Develop criteria for choosing editorial topics that can include:

  • A topic that can make a difference
  • A topic for which there can be reliable and credible sources
  • A topic audiences can address and create change
  • A topic that has reported content to provide background
  • A topic for which the reporter(s) can find first-hand information and sources

Reasoning/suggestions:

Remember, editorials are concise, supported and take a stand. Also to note: staff editorials are unsigned because they represent the entire publication or media.


Resources:

Quick Hit: Staff editorial process, JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Quick Hit: Importance of staff editorials, JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Mirror, mirror on the wall,” JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Where have the leaders gone?” JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Editorials under attack, Student Press Law Center

They need the freedom to make mistakes, too,” Lindsay Coppens, JEA Press Rights Committee

Explained: why newspapers endorse presidential candidates, Dylan Baddour, Houston Chronicle

Reading newspapers: Editorial and opinion pieces, Learn NC

Video: How to write an editorial, New York Times

Writing an Editorial, Alan Weintraut

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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Don’t drink the water

Posted by on Nov 20, 2015 in Blog, Making a Difference, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Making a difference…part of a series

sprclogoWhen the water in the fountains and spigots at Rockville High School (Md.) ran rusty, Rampage contributing editor Xavier Rivera knew something had to be done. The three-part investigative report Rivera wrote caught the attention of a state senator and brought the issue to the forefront motivating administration to seek a remedy to reduce the levels of lead in the water to acceptable EPA levels.

Rampage adviser, Jessica Nassau explained that the “story began during a Rampage staff brainstorming session, when students mentioned that the water coming from the fountains tasted “funny.” Editor Xavier Rivera decided that it was a story worth exploring, kicking off a three-story investigative series. He sent water samples to a lab and the results showed lead levels that surpassed the EPA limits.

He interviewed professionals and district officials to get the full story, and the online edition came to the attention of Senator Karen Montgomery, who wrote a letter to the school board. It was clear that this was a safety issue that could not be ignored.

Due to the story, the school began the EPA recommended water-flushing protocol, which brought the lead presence down to what is considered a safe level. The articles really got the attention of students and staff at our school, and we definitely heard from many of them that they wouldn’t drink the water until the problem was fixed.

That the district ultimately had to take action based on a student publication was tremendously empowering for the whole staff of the Rampage, who came to see that journalists really do make a difference. Though the article was primarily Xavier’s, I would like to mention that he had tremendously supportive editors-in-chief who helped him. This was a story that was bigger than one person, and it was wonderful to see the staff come together to make it the best it could be.”

Read the stories at the links provided.

H20 or H2No?

Administration Responds to Water Quality

Flushing Protocol Meklit Bekele– The Rampage Fixes Water Quality

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Crossing the line: student challenges public media ethics

Posted by on Apr 30, 2015 in Blog, Law and Ethics | 0 comments

When a television reporter crossed the line to get a story about a local high school’s security system that led to a school lockdown, a student journalist challenged the media’s ethics.

Kirkwood High School’s (Mo.) Ian Madden knew from journalism class that truth is the most important tool in journalistic ethics. When a reporter from the St. Louis television station KSDK (Channel 5) went under cover to gather information about the the flaws in Kirkwood High School building security, Madden knew he had to challenge the television reporter’s ethics. In addition to surreptitiously gaining entrance into the school, the professional reporter misconstrued and left out crucial information that set off Madden. He was not the only one who noticed. Media from across the country picked up Madden’s challenge, which ultimately let to an apology to the public from the television station.

According to Madden’s adviser, Mitch Eden, “everybody noticed. Local media, social media and, of course, the Kirkwood H.S. media. Ian Madden, Kirkwood Call opinions writer, was so upset he started writing at midnight and posted to TheKirkwoodCall.com the next morning. It connected with the audience receiving more than 30,000 hits in a three-day span. Ian was a spokesperson for his peers and community. He was questioning journalism ethics by the professional media. His piece was picked up and mentioned in several local media outlets and he was a guest on a KMOX radio show. The event itself eventually reached the New York Times, Poynter, SPJ and more. But it was Ian who modeled professional standards, quality journalism and even better passion and judgment first.”

Click this link to read Madden’s challenge to the professional media.

http://www.thekirkwoodcall.com/_stories_/opinion/2014/01/17/where-ksdk-went-wrong-2/

The following links document the impact of one student’s mission to challenge public media’s for engaging in unethical reporting practices.

*The Call’s breaking news piece of the event for background: http://www.thekirkwoodcall.com/top-stories/2014/01/16/khs-goes-on-lockdown-2/

*Check out these links of professional media covering the event and subsequently covering the journalistic ethics in question:

KHS/KSDK Security “Test”

The Call – Opinions (Ian Madden)

http://www.thekirkwoodcall.com/top-stories/2014/01/17/where-ksdk-went-wrong-2/

The Call – Breaking News (Antonia Akrap and Jane Manwarring)

http://www.thekirkwoodcall.com/top-stories/2014/01/16/khs-goes-on-lockdown-2/

KSDK

http://www.ksdk.com/story/news/local/2014/01/16/newschannel-5-statement-school-safety/4531859/

Poynter

http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/236266/st-louis-tv-station-causes-school-lockdown-pisses-off-everyone/

SNO Summary

http://www.schoolnewspapersonline.com/news-announcements/2014/01/22/students-use-website-to-report-update-community-about-lockdown/

KMOX Radio Show with Ian Madden

http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2014/01/21/mark-reardon-a-kirkwood-high-school-student-responds-to-the-lockdown-nfl-networks-rich-eisen/

Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stacey-newman/tv-media-stunt-school-shootings_b_4647641.html

STL PD

http://m.stltoday.com/news/local/education/man-who-prompted-kirkwood-high-school-lockdown-was-ksdk-staffer/article_aa2ef2de-9905-5b26-a500-1105ae4b0df5.html?mobile_touch=true

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/ksdk-apologizes-again-for-role-in-kirkwood-high-school-lockdown/article_471de79c-76dd-5e47-b840-0b5412078beb.html

Fox

http://fox2now.com/2014/01/16/kirkwood-high-school-locked-down-while-police-search-for-man/

KMOV

http://www.kmov.com/news/local/Unknown-subject-prompts-lockdown-at-Kirkwood-High-School–240583411.html

RFT:

http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/dailyrft/2014/01/ksdk_kirkwood_lockdown.php

McClellan:

http://m.stltoday.com/news/local/columns/bill-mcclellan/mcclellan-ksdk-s-school-scare-lures-viewers-but-loses-the/article_fd5dae3f-25f7-5b85-a7cf-472f68e61f39.html?mobile_touch=true

WKT:

http://www.websterkirkwoodtimes.com/Articles-Breaking-News-i-2014-01-17-191345.114137-Lockdown-at-Kirkwood-High-School-Prompted-By-Reporter-Testing-Security.html#axzz2qobWsB3n

Opposing Views:

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/debates/kdsk-reporter-john-kelley-causes-kirkwood-high-school-lockdown-while-reporting

Gateway Journalism Review:

http://gatewayjr.org/2014/01/23/tv-station-owes-viewers-apology-for-story-missteps/?utm_source=Jan.+24%2C+2014&utm_campaign=01%2F24%2F14+Google+tracking&utm_medium=email

The Apology

http://www.ksdk.com/videos/news/2014/01/19/4653995/

St. Louis Today

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/article_471de79c-76dd-5e47-b840-0b5412078beb.html#.Ut0mD1kKkAw.twitter

SPJ Ethical Code: Avoid undercover methods of gathering info except when traditional open methods won’t yield info vital to public.

http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp:

Donnybrook:

http://video.ketc.org/video/2365158824/

New York Times

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/03/17/business/media/undercover-tv-reports-on-school-security-raise-ethical-questions.html?_r=0&referrer

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