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Clickbait QT68

Posted by on May 16, 2018 in Blog, Digital Media, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Guideline:

Journalists should present relevant information in context so the audience has adequate information on which to base decisions. Context is just as important as factual accuracy and can help readers fully understand an issue and its relevance to their daily lives.

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Senior quotes, wills:
Can harm students, damage credibility QT65

Posted by on May 6, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Senior wills, April Fool’s issues and senior quotes sometimes can be considered the three Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

They  have minimal journalistic value and can quickly damage a staff’s –– and a school’s –– reputation and credibility.

Senior quotes present too much potential for damage and turn over too much control of your student publications to students who are not trained in legal and ethical considerations. Libel, innuendo, and bullying could be slipped into content, and it may slip past your editors or advisers, thus causing harm to students and damaging your publication.

Guideline:

Because senior quotes have minimal journalistic value and great potential for damage, they will not be used in school publications.

Social media post/question:

Senior quotes in your publications? 

Key points/action:

Students love senior quotes in the yearbook or newspaper, but what happens when a student slips something inappropriate in the quote? When does the editor decide what can and cannot go in? What if another student is bullied through a quote, and you don’t catch it? What if a double entendre slips in that no one recognizes? What if a student says something in September that they don’t want published in May? Can you guarantee every student will be equally represented?

Stance:

Senior quotes should be taken out of your yearbooks and replaced with better ways of telling student stories.

Reasoning/suggestions:

Senior quotes present too much potential for damage and turn over too much control of your student publications to students who are not trained in legal and ethical considerations. Libel, innuendo, and bullying could be slipped into content, and it may slip past your editors or advisers, thus causing harm to students and damaging your publication.

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Plan and pack for social media coverage of protests

Posted by on Mar 22, 2018 in Blog, Digital Media, Ethical Issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

 

The three photos on this page are from the Women’s March Jan. 21, 2017, and show what a similar protest could be like March 24. Photos courtesy of Marina Hendricks.

by Marina Hendricks, CJE
Social media offers great possibilities for real-time reporting of protests. Here’s some advice for student journalists who are preparing for protest coverage, based on my experience attending the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2017.

Before you go

Check rules and regulations. Participants in the Women’s March were limited to clear backpacks and handbags roughly equivalent to the size of large wallets. I didn’t have a backpack, so I carried a small cross-body bag and wore a jacket with plenty of pockets for stashing equipment and supplies.

Develop a communication plan. Save phone numbers in your devices so you can contact each other. Use an app such as GroupMe, WhatsApp or Signal to organize group messaging. Study maps to become familiar with the area. Designate a safe rendezvous point away from the protest site (such as a restaurant or coffee shop) and set times for regular in-person check-ins.

Figure out what you’re going to use. In selecting your social media channels for protest coverage, consider where you’re most likely to engage with your audience that day, then make a list of relevant hashtags and handles. Large-scale events typically have both national and local organizing groups. Determine which hashtags you’re most likely to use, and identify the social media players you plan to tag and @mention. Save the list where you can find it easily.

Prepare for coverage. Social media reporting involves working with phones, and large crowds of people mean jammed cellular networks. This excellent article by Beatrice Motamedi, CJE, contains tips on working around jams to report and communicate, and provides other helpful advice. Take an extra phone charger, a clear plastic bag to protect your phone from rain or snow, a small notebook and a couple of pens.

Pack for a long day. In addition to reporting gear, you’ll want items to keep you comfortable throughout the event. These include a refillable water bottle that can be attached to clothing, hand wipes, hand sanitizer, tissues, granola or protein bars, a small first-aid kit, over-the-counter pain reliever and necessary prescription medication, cash (small bills), mass transit cards and maps of the area. Tuck photo identification and proof of health insurance in an inside pocket of your jacket for safekeeping.

At the event

Choose attire carefully. Wear comfortable shoes and a jacket and pants with lots of pockets. Dress in layers, with long-sleeved shirts or hoodies that you can tie around your waist if you get too warm. “Glittens” protect your hands while keeping your fingers free to work your phone. A ballcap can help protect your eyes from sun or rain, depending on the weather.

Practice safety. Make sure a trusted adult knows where you’re going to be and how long you plan to be there. Follow the buddy system – work in pairs. Maintain awareness of the environment around you. Look for alternative routes to exit the protest site. Be prepared to see and hear things that may make you uncomfortable. Remember, you’re there to report. If you feel unsafe, however, leave the area.

Make yourself identifiable as a student journalist. Carry a staff photo ID and/or wear a staff shirt. If you have business cards, take some with you.

Be considerate. There’s no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place. That said, when interviewing and shooting photos or videos, make sure people are comfortable with what you’re doing.

This is especially important with children. Ask permission first, from the kids as well as their parents. Even if kids seem comfortable, parents understandably may get nervous. They may not want their children on social media. For tips on interviewing children, see this Columbia Journalism Review article and this guide written by Sarah Carr for the Education Writers Association.

Exercise judgment. People who attend protests are passionate, creative and colorful in expressing their opinions. Their language and signs may be explicit. Watch and listen for what might not meet your editorial standards.

Savor the experience. You are witnessing history and helping to record it. Enjoy!

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SPRC package offers insights
for reporting protests, marches

Posted by on Mar 18, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Legal issues, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by Candace Bowen
Tomorrow will mark the beginning of a series of daily posts to help students cover upcoming protests.

#NeverAgain will represent many thousands of marchers Saturday, March 24 in Washington, D.C., and cities across the country, and JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Committee wants to help student journalists be effective and safe as they report on these and future events.

School walkouts March 14 proved student journalists want to let others know what their classmates are doing, and their impressive news articles, video, audio, tweets and other social media certainly did just that.

But what these journalists may encounter if they head to the nation’s capital or even a city nearby is likely to be very different from reporting on 17 minutes of speeches and balloons on the football field with their classmates.

For one thing, not everyone agrees on the ways to stop school shootings and violence. Counter protesters – possibly armed – are not unlikely. Police will be part of the mix.

These days, some people don’t like journalists anyway, which adds another layer of concern.

The Student Press Law Center has legal FAQs for you. We hope to offer useful logistical and ethical information that could make the difference between a frightening and poorly reported experience and something that tells perhaps the most important story of their generation.

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Handling controversial ads/content QT51

Posted by on Feb 25, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Student media should not discriminate against advertising based on students’ personal beliefs.

For example, students should attempt to include advertisers from multiple perspectives. According to the federal court decision in Yeo v. Lexington, student editors have the right to reject advertisements and school administrators are not legally responsible for advertising decisions students make.

A potential advertiser proposes an ad for your student media concerning a controversial product or service — tanning salons, for example. It’s money, but you also know recent studies show the possible harmful effects of such tanning.

How do you handle the request? What obligations do you have in terms of social responsibility, ethics and health-related issues. Likewise, you may be presented with an ad for an organization many in your staff or student body do not support.

The best path to resolve those questions and face the issues is to prepare for them ahead of time.

Guidelines: Students should not discriminate against advertising based on their personal beliefs. For example, students should attempt to include advertisers from multiple perspectives. According to the federal court decision in Yeo v. Lexington, student editors have the right to reject advertisements and school administrators are not legally responsible for advertising decisions students make.

Question: Should there be a point when media don’t accept ads?

Key points/action: A potential advertiser proposes an ad for your student media concerning a controversial product or service — tanning salons, for example. It’s money, but you also know recent studies show the possible harmful effects of such tanning.

How do you handle the request? What obligations do you have in terms of social responsibility, ethics and health-related issues. Likewise, you may be presented with an ad for an organization many in your staff or student body do not support.

The best path to resolve those questions and face the issues is to prepare for them ahead of time.

Stance: While there are no quick and easy answers, you can build ethical room for discussion by anticipating the issues.

Reasoning/suggestions: First, is it a right v wrong situation? That’s easy. If a right v right ethical situation, then you should have a process of weighing issues.

Develop a set of criteria best suited to your school and its communities. Whose values are the most crucial to the communities? Harm no one? Free expression? Credible information and from which point of view?

Our recommendation is to develop an ethical guideline outlining your key values and then develop a checklist to help students through the decision-making process.

Resources: SPLC Advertising FAQs

Yeo v. Lexington

SPRC: Advertising

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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