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First reactions not always the right one

Posted by on Jan 20, 2010 in Blog, News | 0 comments

Upon reading the story John posted above, my first reaction was one of sadness, probably with a dash of anger thrown in.
I’m not sure why. I think maybe it was because some students who were practicing journalism at a very high level were going to no longer have that chance. Or maybe my initial reaction was that the wrong side had prevailed.
But quickly, that reaction transformed to a reaction of pride.
Knowing that these students were courageous enough to forsake something they obviously hold very dear to their heart for the sake of principles. Former editor Pam Selman’s quote says it all:
“I’d rather practice no journalism than journalism that doesn’t follow with my ethics and what I believe in.”
So while my heart and mind are somewhat saddened that five editors will no longer get to practice – at least under the auspices of their high school – something they love, both heart and mind are buoyed by the fact that are still students around our country who are willing to stand up for those 45 words most of us on this blog hold dear. The fact that these students were able to leave student journalism at Stevenson on their terms, able to believe they have done right by themselves and their readers is no small victory.
As SPRC looks to launch its new Student Partners initiative, this is one of the many types of student we are hoping apply to work with us, because to promote our goals, we need students who hail from all backgrounds and regions of the country. We need students who are passionate about student journalism and the 1st Amendment. That means we want writers and photographers and designers. Copy editors and ad managers. Section editors and staff reporters. Those with experience battling censorship and those without.
Most of all, like the students at Stevenson, we need students who are willing to stand up for what they believe is correct and who are willing to sacrifice and fight for those 45 words we journalists hold most dear.

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Time for a holiday gift?

Posted by on Dec 21, 2009 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Dennis Byrne is clipping folks again in his Barbershop at ChicagoNow. Here is a link to his latest comments on Hazlewood and Stevenson High.

Anyone wanting to give Byrne an intelligent discussion on the impact of Hazelwood as a Christmas gift please do.

Maybe we can open his eyes – and his mind – to other points of view.

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Timber!

Posted by on Dec 18, 2009 in Blog, News | 0 comments

Building off of John’s previous post, tattoos continue to be the scourge of Wentzville, Mo.

Yesterday, after receiving approval from principal and The Wolf’s Howl had been distributed during fifth hour, administrators of the Wentzville School District pulled the paper from circulation.

The offending item this time was again, a tattoo. On a spread about cancer – sorry for the lack of details – there was evidently a photo of a cancer patient who had a small tattoo.The horror … the horror.

It appears that the administrators in Wentzville are attempting to give their counterparts at Stevenson High School a run for their money in the most ridiculous reason to censor a paper contest.

These two schools continue to distinguish themselves in ways that are unfortunately getting a lot of recognition. Stevenson, as it was pointed out by JEA president Jack Kennedy in a letter to the Stevenson administrators, is a nationally recognized model school. Unfortunately in these cases, Stevenson is becoming the model of what not to do when it comes to supporting students, the First Amendment or the educational process. Let’s hope that other administrators and school districts are not paying attention to what these districts are doing, because it could be the start of a very small snowball that is rolling down the hill … its momentum needs to be stopped before this becomes a much bigger problem.

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