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When law and ethics and good journalism combine

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching, Uncategorized | 0 comments

PART 2 OF a 3-PART SERIES

An experienced Ohio newspaper adviser teams up with a former student — who now has a law degree — to teach the staff about using public records. An alleged rape on campus requires student editors to stand their ground accessing information about it. Once they have details about the incident, they have to decide just what they should – or maybe should not – use. It’s a tale that has all the makings of excellent reporting.

 The incident
An unexpected faculty meeting 10th period in mid-September. Police in the halls earlier in the day. All the students at Shaker Heights High School were talking, but the journalism students were more than curious.

“When I came back (to the journalism room) after the meeting, I told them I was forbidden to talk about it,” adviser Natalie Sekicky said. “Yes, there was an incident. Yes, something happened. But we have to be sensitive.”

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When law and ethics and good journalism combine

Posted by on Nov 7, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

PART 1 OF a 3-PART SERIES

An experienced Ohio newspaper adviser teams up with a former student — who now has a law degree — to teach the staff about using public records. An alleged rape on campus requires student editors to stand their ground accessing information about it. Once they have details about the incident, they have to decide just what they should – or maybe should not – use. It’s a tale that has all the makings of excellent reporting.

The backstory

Journalism teacher Natalie Sekicky admits she’s lucky. Anyone with a full teaching load and student media to advise can usually only dream about being able to put staffers in teams and work with them as they investigate complicated, in-depth stories.

But then Sekicky’s former editor-in-chief Emily Grannis, a college journalism major, started giving “quick lessons” about record requests to the J1 classes while she was home on breaks. When she entered a nearby law school, she said she was able to work “more formally” with the Shaker Heights students.

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Tweet15: Know how to use public records

Posted by on Jan 27, 2013 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

hazelwoodcolorYou have the right to information. Know how to use public records. #25HZLWD http://jeasprc.org/tweet15-know-how-to-use-public-records

Open records—in other words, the government information that is accessible to the public— vary by state.  Sometimes, finding exactly what is public in your state is simply a matter of knowing what state statute details this information.  Use the links below to find out which statute in your state gives more information:
http://www.splc.org/legalassistance/foiletter.asp
http://www.splc.org/knowyourrights/legalresearch.asp?id=15

Then, once you’ve identified a record you would like access to, make a verbal request first. If the record isn’t forthcoming, use the Student Press Law Center’s Freedom of Information letter generator to request your record:
http://www.splc.org/legalassistance/foiletter.asp

Sometimes, school officials will not release information because they claim it violates FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).  Use the link below to better understand what records are closed under FERPA, and what records you legally should have the right to access:
http://www.splc.org/pdf/ferpa_wp.pdf

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