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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expert Nat Hentoff said, the Constitution and America’s heritage would be little more than parchment under glass, outdated, fragile and sterile.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expert Nat Hentoff said, the Constitution and America’s heritage would be little more than parchment under glass, outdated, fragile and sterile.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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Tweet2: Choosing your forum status is like choosing the best medicine

Posted by on Dec 24, 2012 in Blog, Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Which forum? Best prescription to cure Hazelwood is open forum for student expression.

http://jeasprc.org/choosing-forum…-best-medicine/ #25HZLWD

Establishing your student media as open forums for student expression – not closed or limited forums – can make a huge difference in developing a cure of Hazelwood. The best forum is like preventative medicine. The worst is like being exposed to active disease cultures. The information and resources below can help you on the road to wellness.

The information below is broken into severalhazelwoodcolor categories:
• Deciding which forum best serves your students – and your community
Importance of  designated forum status
• 
Questions to consider when setting up your forum status
• Questions to ask those who want to limit the forum
• Additional resources (Forum definitions, List of designated open forums, CSJ Forum PowerPoint, CSJ Forum Application)

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Are your student media forums for student expression? Let us know

Posted by on Sep 30, 2012 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

The upcoming 25th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hazelwood decision reminds us how important it is to have student media that are open forums for student expression either by school policy or by practice. Do they exist? We hope so…

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Reaching out: Informing the community about key principles of journalism

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

by Marina Hendricks, SPRC member

Recently, I drafted the following plan for student journalists to use to educate their communities about the role of school publications as forums for public criticism and compromise. I did so as part of my ongoing work for “Social Role of the Mass Media,” a Kent State University online graduate course this semester taught by John Bowen.

“In a world where millions are spent annually by those wanting to influence public opinion, it is crucial that the news media play the role of honest broker and referee as it carries the common discussion. … So journalism must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise,” Bill Kovach and Tom Rosensteil write in “The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect.”

“Yet in a new age, it is more important, not less, that this public discussion be built on the same principles as the rest of journalism, starting with truthfulness, facts, and verification. For a forum without regard for facts fails to inform,” the authors add.

Scholastic journalists are often hindered in their efforts to provide public forums for criticism and compromise by administrators, district officials and other well-meaning adults whose desire to safeguard schools and their students leads to acts of prior review and restraint. Students at large may not understand and appreciate their First Amendment rights, which undermines their support for the public forums of expression provided to them through their school publications. Local media professionals and local citizen may not understand and support the role of school publications as public forums in the community at large.

To address these issues, student journalists could organize a series of outreach activities. These events could be scheduled on a regular basis – once a month, once every nine weeks, once a semester – whatever best fits the school publication’s schedule. More frequent activities could take place during homeroom, lunch, breaks or other open periods during the school day. Less frequent activities could be scheduled after school, in conjunction with other events (such as parent-teacher conferences, PTO meetings, etc.), on Saturdays or even as part of a community fair or festival.

Activities could include:

1) An open house in the newsroom for anyone interested in the school publication and how it operates;

2) A scholastic journalism fair to showcase the work of student journalists in the school district, to raise First Amendment awareness and to provide training opportunities for student journalists;

3) Visits to feeder schools to train and network with aspiring young journalists;

4) Presentations to the faculty senate, PTO, booster and alumni organizations, the local school district board and local organizations to raise awareness of the school publication and its role in the school community;

5) Educational sessions with local media professionals, moderated by student journalists, to help members of the school community learn more about issues that interest them;

6) Operating booths at local events to raise awareness of the school publication, its role in the school community and the First Amendment;

7) Expanding distribution of the school publication (local library branches, malls/shopping centers, community centers, restaurants, etc.) to raise awareness of its role in the community;

8) Forming a parent booster/support group for the school publication;

9) Designating a “reader advocate” to handle questions, concerns, story suggestions, etc.

10) Preparing a “press kit” for school organizations to help them understand how to submit information, news releases, story ideas, requests for photos, etc. (Then, deliver it in person so members of the organizations can ask questions.)

*Note: We welcome your additions of outreach that work to this list. List them, plus your school, in the comments section below.

 

 

 

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Puyallup school paper case now in court

Posted by on Mar 25, 2010 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Testimony began this week over a series of stories on oral sex in the Emerald Ridge High School paper, The JagWire, in 2008.

According to an article today in The News Tribune, plaintiffs could seek $16-32 million from the school district.

The district is citing the paper’s public forum status at the time as well as consent to having their names used as defenses. The school has since installed prior review over student media.

Watch this blog and the The News Tribune site for updates and to follow comments.

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