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Applications open for 45words, student free speech advocate group


About a year ago, the JEA Scholastic Press Rights Commission created Student Partners, a group of students to lead efforts in supporting free speech and raising awareness about First Amendment issues. We had a great year working with eight passionate and dedicated students, and now it’s time to select the next round of partners to fill positions for our graduating seniors. In the interest of a smooth transition period, we’ll be selecting new Student Partners in February while the current partners fulfill their term through the end of the school year.


This small group of high school students will have an opportunity to serve in a variety of capacities, including meeting both online and at JEA/NSPA national conventions, answering press rights questions at a booth in the convention exhibit hall, planning new student programs to increase First Amendment awareness, building a network of students via Facebook and Twitter, planning and/or hosting press rights events at local and state conventions … and more. Student Partners will be asked to serve two-year terms and attend at least one national convention each year.

In this first year, they presented a “Think F1rst” session and 45words booth at the national conventions, created an online presence (Facebook, Twitter, blog), published an editors’ emergency kit and communicated with students in person and online to answer questions and offer support.


Students in grades 9-11 who are part of a high school media staff and whose advisers are current JEA members are eligible to apply.


Candidates complete an online application here: Members of the JEA SPRC will select Student Partners based on applications submitted by the Jan. 24 deadline. The application asks candidates to provide information about their experience in scholastic journalism and why they want to be involved. The application window is open from now until Jan. 24, 2011.


We hope all journalism teachers/advisers will encourage students who are interested to submit applications. You’ll receive a link to a Google Form for a simple student recommendation as a way to offer feedback. Don’t worry — that’s it. This is not an activity you would be required to oversee (although we hope your interest in your student’s participation may provide an added level of accountability). Commission members serve as adviser liaisons for Student Partners and offer guidance with each aspect of the group’s activities.

Share the application link with your students and encourage them to apply. Still have questions? Send us a message off-list at or

Here is the form:

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