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Tweet11: Approach controversy with confidence, professionalism

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hazelwoodcolorDon’t self-censor. Learn how to approach controversial stories with confidence and professionalism. #25HZLWD
http://www.jeasprc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/SPRC-Standard-7-controv2.pdf

Sometimes, being a student journalist means going head-to-head with others over stories that make people—even those on your staff—uncomfortable.  Often, students are incredibly thoughtful and sensitive toward what stories might create tension or even generate real scrutiny of a person or process in their school.

Feeling wary about a story, and about what could happen if you publish that story, is a completely normal reaction.  But it’s important to remember that having caution and sensitivity towards a subject doesn’t mean you should drop the story completely.  Professional news media cover sensitive topics on a daily basis, and figuring out how to do this is one of the most important lessons student journalists can learn.

When you are faced with covering a difficult or sensitive story, take the time to consider all your options, discuss the ethical implications and ask important legal questions.  You CAN approach controversial stories with professionalism, but it takes time and effort, and willingness on your part not to self-censor the tough stuff.

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