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What do you do in the event of
student, faculty death? QT5

Posted by on Sep 4, 2017 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

This guideline is the one you must have, but never want to use.

It’s important to have a guideline in place before a student or staff member dies. Journalists should report a student or staff death in an objective, consistent manner that has been decided when the staff manual is being revised. Choosing what to publish at the time of any tragedy is not wise and can cause staffs to make choices that create problems in the future.

Guideline:

In the event of the death of a student or staff member, a standard, obituary-type recognition will commemorate the deceased in the newspaper and online news site. A maximum one-fourth page feature, or similar length for each obituary, should be written by a student media staff member and placed on the website within 24 hours and in the newspaper at the bottom of page one.

For the yearbook, if the fatality happens prior to final deadline, the staff might include feature content as the editors deem appropriate. For those unofficially affiliated with the district, the editors-in-chief should determine appropriate coverage, but should not include an official obituary.

Stance:

Journalists should report a student or staff death in an objective, consistent manner that has been decided when the staff manual is being revised. Choosing what to publish at the time of any tragedy is not wise and can cause staffs to make choices that create problems in the future.

Reasoning/suggestions:

In the event of the death of a student or staff member, students should follow guidelines to produce a standard obituary.

  • The staff manual should outline type and size of photo use. For example, the editors may determine a school portrait-type photo is preferable. It also should provide guidance on length of the obituary and should specify the recommended timeline (such as posting via electronic media within 24 hours) as well as whether it will appear in upcoming print media in a place previously established.
  • Web and print coverage should include school and community reaction as it happens.
  • The editorial board should consider what place, if any, an obituary has in the yearbook and should specify how time, space limitations and cause of death (as well as any other factors) play a role in that decision.
  • For deaths of individuals not officially affiliated with the district, student editors should determine appropriate coverage. This may or may not include an official obituary.
  • Facts individuals provide for the obituary should be fact-checked like those of any other news.
  • Staffs should obtain public records as available.

Resources:

Obituaries, JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee

Lesson: With Freedom of the Press Comes Great Responsibility, Journalism Education Association

Summing Up a Life: Meeting the Obituary’s Challenge, The Poynter Institute

Audio: Covering Death, JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee, Press Rights Minute

 

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Determine who owns student work
before publication starts QT19

Posted by on Sep 3, 2017 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Absent a written agreement indicating otherwise, student journalists own the copyright to the works they create. Each media outlet should ensure it has clear policies in place for staff members and the publication that spell out ownership and the right of the publication to use student work

Deciding who owns content of student media should be an important decision for all platforms and programs. Contained within that decision are implications for the forum concept, how content can be used and by whom, and how staffs handle takedown demands.

 

Guidelines: Absent a written agreement indicating otherwise, student journalists own the copyright to the works they create. Each media outlet should ensure it has clear policies in place for staff members and the publication that spell out ownership and the right of the publication to use student work.

Question: Who owns the content of student media and why should this be a concern?

Stance: Advisers have asked questions about who should own the content of student media, what the possible options are and what steps are involved in the decision-making process.

Deciding who owns content of student media should be an important decision for all platforms and programs. Contained within that decision are implications for the forum concept, how content can be used and by whom, and how staffs handle takedown demands.

Reasoning/suggestions: Students, with input from advisers, should pick a solution that best fits their situation. The choices are students own rights to content with granting access to student media for its use or student media owns the content with access rights to students.

For multiple reasons, it is not a good idea to have the school own student media content.

Student media staffs should use suggested guidelines from the Journalism Education Association Scholastic Press Rights Committee and the Student Press Law Center to craft an ownership statement suitable for their program.

ResourcesWho owns student-produced content? Scholastic Press Rights Committee

Ownership of student content

Back to School: Who Owns What?, Student Press Law Center

Contribution to Collective Work, U.S. Copyright Office

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When international issues turn local

Posted by on Jul 18, 2017 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by Candace Bowen, MJE
What kind of coverage has appeared in your student media about climate issues? No, not rehashing something from CNN about the trillion-ton chunk of ice that broke off Antarctica, though that is certainly a concern. And not repeating Time’s coverage of President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron discussing the causes of extreme bad weather.

What has your staff written about how climate change is impacting you and your community – and what the future could be like where you live? Showing leadership is a part of the ethical role of all journalists, and informing your readers and helping them understand complicated issues is part of your job.

What has your staff written about how climate change is impacting you and your community – and what the future could be like where you live? Showing leadership is a part of the ethical role of all journalists, and informing your readers and helping them understand complicated issues is part of your job.

So, what is the best way to explain this multi-faceted, often contentious issue? How can you localize it … or CAN it be localized?

When President Trump announced early this summer that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord because the 2015 agreement was unfair to American businesses, not everyone agreed this was a good thing.

In particular, mayors of cities all of country were concerned with what more than 95 percent of climate scientists say – humans are causing increasingly severe impact to our way of life.

With that in mind, mayors from all over the nation responded to a survey from the Alliance for a Sustainable Future, a new organization made up of the  U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES).

Survey results showed many think this doesn’t have to be an issue supported at the federal level – cities can make a difference, too.

Is your city or one nearby part of a conscious effort to make a difference in the climate? What are some of the actions these cities are taking? Is there something your audience could do to help? Survey results include the list of cities involved and information about what they are doing.

Find a science teacher in your school or a nearby university to talk through the suggestions. Contact the official in charge in your area. Get the facts. Good journalists – with any kind of media – can make a difference.

 

 

 

 

 

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Principals, presidents and getting along

Posted by on Jun 12, 2017 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by Candace Perkins Bowen, MJE

The Washington Post headline asked, “Is media coverage of Trump too negative? You’re asking the wrong question.”

That’s when I realized this could much more than a political statement. What if you replace the president’s name with the name of your school? Does that sound like something you may have heard before?

Student media often receive the complaint: “Your stories are all negative. Good things happen at this school, so why don’t you report them?” But are your administrators maybe asking the wrong question, too?

Margaret Sullivan, media columnist at The Washington Post, said President Trump was like Judith Viorst’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” She cited a Harvard study that looked at news reports in print (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post), main newscasts (CBS, CNN, Fox News, and NBC) and three European news outlets (The UK’s Financial Times and BBC, and Germany’s ARD). From these, the researchers concluded in Trump’s first 100 days about 80 percent of mainstream press coverage reflected negatively on the new president.

But the president of the United States and the principal of any public high school should not be enemies of their respective media. Sullivan said what politicians should look for in coverage – and I maintain this is true for school administrators, too – is “fairness, focus and overkill.”

  • Sullivan asks if news organizations “acknowledge and correct quickly” when they get something wrong. My question: Do student media? Admittedly sometimes things are wrong because someone didn’t answer a student journalist’s questions, but that might be a good starting point for discussion on the importance of communication. If student reporters have the facts, their stories are vastly better.
  • She further asks if journalists allow the president and his administration to respond to criticism. My question: Do YOUR reporters ask for responses, especially when the administrators are upset? That’s hard sometimes, but it’s another important part of communication. A consistent, ongoing dialogue is much better than seeing each other only when some problem arises.
  • Finally, Sullivan writes, “Do news sites give serious, sustained attention to policy issues as well as publishing innumerable hot takes about the ­personality-driven dust-up of the moment?” I’m not so sure student media have “hot takes” that are “personality driven,” but I’ll bet most staffs would admit they may not be digging into policy issues like they could. If students are complaining about cafeteria food, what have they explored and reported about current cost increases of everyday staples, lack of government foodstuffs that used to be available, higher salaries for kitchen personnel due to union issues? In other words, complaints usually have costs or explanations. That costly Astroturf may have come from a generous donor, not funds that could go for textbooks. The guidance counselor who took so long to send a letter of recommendation to colleges might have twice as many advisees as the American School Counselor Association says. Digging deeper would show that.

The president and commercial media will have to sort things out on their own. Making sure both administrators and student journalists know the questions to ask – and the answers to have – is up to us and could go a long way toward eliminating problems.

Want lesson plans about fake news, misinformation or sourcing challenges? Curriculum will be available from JEA by the time you start back to school.

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Quick Hits…because you asked

Posted by on May 3, 2017 in Blog, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by John Bowen
Because of questions asked on JEA’s listserv this week, the Scholastic Press Rights Committee reposts information and guidelines from earlier content ownership and takedown guidelines.

To repost links to these materials, we will use a new format, Quick Hits, designed to respond to questions, offer suggestions and provide resources so advisers and students can make informed decisions.

Rather than term these approaches as policy suggestions, we like to refer to them as guidelines for ethical decision making and procedures to apply the ethical process.

Here are Quick Hits responses to concerns about ownership of student media content and takedown demands.

Quick Hits: Content ownership
Question: Who owns the content of student media and why should this be a concern?

Key points/action: Advisers asked several questions this week about who should own content of student media, what the possibilities were and what steps are involved in the decision-making process.

Stancec:Deciding who owns content of student media should be an important decisions for all platforms and programs. Contained within that decision are implications for the forum concept, how content can be used and by whom and on takedown demands.

Reasoning/suggestions: Students, with input from advisers, should pick a solution that best fits their situation. The choices are students own rights to content with granting access to student media for its use or student media owns the content with access rights to students.

For multiple reasons it is not a good idea to have the school own student media content.

Resource: Who owns student-produced content?

Quick Hits: Takedown demands
Question: When and why should student media take down content, in print or online?

Key points/action: Source’s remorse, writer’s second-thoughts or other rethinking of existing information accessible to employers, colleges or simply to friends sometimes causes uncomfortable questions for student staffs.

What guidelines should student media staffers adapt or create that fulfills the role of historical-record, forum and source of information.

Stance: We feel there are no quick and easy answers, but plenty  of ethical room for discussion and implementation of workable guidelines (not policy) that can withstand the test of time.

Reasoning/suggestions: Policies are not meant to be easily changeable as are journalistic tools and process. Guidelines give flexibility for changing conditions and room for students to make ethical decisions.

ResourcesTakedown demands? A roadmap of choices

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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