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Hold the agenda

Posted by on May 10, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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When information changes rapidly, give the public balance and verification to act on

by Stan Zoller, MJE

During the onslaught of media coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing reporters have been doing is meticulously checking the facts surrounding the outbreak, especially data emanating from the White House.

Student journalists need to follow the same standards as professional journalists. However, it is essential reporting is not only verified, but also balanced. 

As news about the pandemic seemingly changes hourly, reporters need to be vigilant in not just taking the word of a single source with a specific view, especially when details about the outbreak have a political overtone.

Welcome to a crisis in an election year. 

It seems clear that White House officials are not happy when counter points of view are reported by news organizations. The reality is, however, news consumers want and need to hear multiple sides of the story.

As news about the pandemic seemingly changes hourly, reporters need to be vigilant in not just taking the word of a single source with a specific view, especially when details about the outbreak have a political overtone.

While the facts, such as number of tests, deaths and new cases are quantifiable, explanations about data need additional sources, preferably those independent of ties to current or previous administrations.

Mainstream media has done an excellent job in seeking out researchers at major medical centers and universities for independent data. These sources augment your reporting through their independent research.  

It is, however, important to cite any underwriting they may be getting from corporations or foundations as this could skew the independence if the support is connected to a market or political strategy.

But what if there’s not a major medical research facility in proximity to your school? Seeking out experts near your school who can explain data, guidelines and other questions related to COVID-19 will add an excellent dimension to your reporting.

Not only will this give you independent sources, but it will also give you an opportunity to localize, if not hyper-localize, your coverage. While you want to keep your pandemic coverage balanced and independent, the same is true for coverage about political issues related to outbreaks.

It’s also important to make sure comments about the Administration’s handling of COVID-19 in the United States are balanced by comments from politicians on both sides of the aisle.

This is true not only for state legislators, but also for county and municipal officials as well.

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Finding and using copyright-free artwork

Posted by on Apr 24, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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Free License clip art attached. Image attribution required: https://www.vecteezy.com/

by Susan McNulty, CJE, The Stampede and The Hoofbeat adviser, J.W. Mitchell High School, Trinity, Florida

As scholastic journalism programs moved from classroom to homes this spring, students and advisers adjusted to a virtual newsroom. Just a few of the success stories of scholastic journalism across the country include Scarsdale High School’s MaroonThe Diamondback at the University of Maryland, and the Granite Bay Gazette at Granite Bay High School.

Yet student journalists confined to their homes lack the opportunity to capture photos to accompany their stories. They face the challenge of finding appropriate, copyright-free images and artwork to attract readers. Fortunately, free online sources exist to find the eye-catching artwork necessary to gain reader’s attention, while still observing copyright laws and providing proper attribution.

Here are four sources for copyright-free images and artwork for use by the public that do not require creation of an account, as well as links to additional sources and lessons that could be adapted for distance learning.

Google Advanced Image Search

Description: “When you do a Google Search, you can filter your results to find images, videos or text you have permission to use. To do this, use an Advanced Search filter called ‘usage rights’ that lets you know when you can use, share or modify something you find online.”

Directions: Fill in the blanks to complete your search. Select usage rights appropriate to meet your needs.

Google’s disclaimer: “Note: Before reusing content, make sure that its license is legitimate and check the exact terms of reuse. For example, the license might require that you give credit to the image creator when you use the image. Google can’t tell if the license label is legitimate, so we don’t know if the content is lawfully licensed.”

Google’s disclaimer: “Note: Before reusing content, make sure that its license is legitimate and check the exact terms of reuse. For example, the license might require that you give credit to the image creator when you use the image. Google can’t tell if the license label is legitimate, so we don’t know if the content is lawfully licensed.”

CC Search

Description: “CC Search is a tool that allows openly licensed and public domain works to be discovered and used by everyone. Creative Commons, the nonprofit behind CC Search, is the maker of the CC licenses, used over 1.4 billion times to help creators share knowledge and creativity online.”

Directions: Use keywords to search for the artwork you need. On the left side, click Licenses and choose CC0 for “no rights reserved.”

Vecteezy

Description: “High quality vector graphics with worry-free licensing for personal and commercial use.”

Directions: Use keywords to search for the artwork you need. On the left side, limit your search to Free License. Follow instructions for downloading and providing attribution if required

Pixabay

Description: “A vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free images and videos. All contents are released under the Pixabay License, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes.”

Directions: Use keywords to search for the photograph you need. Click on the photo of your choice. Follow instructions for downloading and providing attribution if required.

Additional Resources: 

Student Press Law Center Student media guide to copyright law

10 Best Websites for Public Domain Images

High-res public domain photos that are 100% free

by Stacy Fisher

Find free-to-use images on Google

JEA Curriculum Lessons:

Understanding copyright and creative commons

SPLC media law presentation: copyright

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Basic lessons for teachers to use during online learning

Posted by on Apr 5, 2020 in Blog | 1 comment

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by Lori Keekley, MJE

Several members of the Scholastic Press Rights Committee developed some lessons for advisers to use with their journalism students. The lessons are intended to be asynchronous basic introductions. The goal is to introduce students to the content and provide resources they then can examine further. 

The lessons include information on the First Amendment, copyright, libel, staff manual creation, how to choose a forum concept, prior review and some situational legal and ethical considerations. 

First Amendment — Freedom of Speech rights, especially when it comes to students in any sort of student publication, can be very complex, but there are some overall principles that can lead to a solid understanding of the basics. This lesson provides details and background on what rights student journalists generally possess, gives resources for understanding how any local policies affect those rights and supplies scenarios and links to promote further discussion and involvement.

Copyright — This online lesson helps students independently learn the basics of copyright law and the exceptions to it. After a brief tutorial, students will then either draw or create an online infographic explaining what they have learned. 

Libel — This online lesson guides students through the basics of libel law and the specifics of how it applies to real-world situations. It includes a brief instructional video, a quiz for understanding, and a discussion/writing prompt.

Manual — Staff manuals provide student journalists with resources and guidance during times of need. Now is the perfect time to reevaluate (and review) your current guidelines — and maybe even policies. These virtual conversations will not only help students understand what to do, but also what they may want to examine for future. 

Forum status –– This online lesson guides students through the basics of forum status for student media and the specifics of how it applies to student media. A statement of forum status is an essential part of a staff manual.

Prior review and restraint –– This online lesson guides students through the basics of prior review and prior restraint and the specifics of how it applies to student media. Almost every national journalism education group and professional journalism organization opposes prior review and restraint as having little to no educational value. A position on prior review is an essential part of a staff manual.

Legal and ethical scenarios — Teachers could do this as one scenario per day unit or sprinkle them throughout many weeks while addressing other areas as well. Topics covered include both legal and ethical concerns such as copyright, photo ethics, basic reporting, takedown requests, etc.

If you have any questions, please contact Lori Keekley

Other contributing committee members:

John Bowen, MJE, Kent State University (OH)

Lori Keekley, MJE, St. Louis Park High School (MN)

Matthew Smith, CJE, Fond du Lac High School (WI)

Kristin Taylor, CJE, The Archer School for Girls (CA)

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Basic libel law

Posted by on Apr 5, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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This online lesson guides students through the basics of libel law and the specifics of how it applies to real-world situations. It includes a brief instructional video, a quiz for understanding, and a discussion/writing prompt.

Objectives

  • Students will have a basic understanding of libel law.
  •  Students will apply libel law to real-world scenarios and decision-making.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the benefits of avoiding libel.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.7Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.6Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

Length

25 minutes

Materials / resources

Basic Libel Law Presentation Video

Basic Libel Law Presentation PDF

Student Press Law Center Libel Quiz

Student Press Law Center Libel Quiz ANSWERS with Explanations

Lesson step-by-step

Presentation (10 minutes to complete) — Post a link to the “Basic Libel Law” video and/or to the PDF of the presentation for students to watch and study.

Assessment 1 (10 minutes) — Provide a link to the “Student Press Law Center Libel Quiz,” and have students provide their best answers in whatever manner is easiest (as responses to a Google Form, typed into a doc of some sort, etc.). The teacher may then score and provide feedback or (suggested) provide the “Student Press Law Center Answer Key” as a link directly to students for self-evaluation and some explanation for incorrect answers.

Assessment 2 (5 minutes) — Post the following question (or questions) for extended student response: (1.) Why is it important that journalists hold themselves to high standards in avoiding publishing libel? (2.) [This could be optional for production classes] What does our student publication do to avoid publishing libel? Responses could be submitted for the teacher only or posted in such a way as to allow for sharing and comment by others to encourage some digital dialogue. In assessing responses, look for direct reference to some of the details from the presentation as well as extension to specific, real-world harm to citizens/society of libel and benefits for journalism/society for avoiding libel.

Differentiation

The differentiation is in the video selected and assignment given.

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Prior review and prior restraint

Posted by on Apr 5, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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This online lesson guides students through the basics of prior review and prior restraint and the specifics of how it applies to student media. Almost every national journalism education group and professional journalism organization opposes prior review and restraint as having little to no educational value. A position on prior review is an essential part of a staff manual.

Objectives

  • Students will demonstrate understanding of prior review and restraint.
  • Students will compare and contrast prior review and restraint with journalism principles, ethics and decision-making.
  • Students will develop arguments to defend or oppose the use of prior review and restraint

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.10Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grades 11-12 here.)

Length

Based on individual needs

Materials / resources

Prior review v. prior restraint  

Resources for teacher background

Model guidelines for policy choices

Easy access to policy models

What should go into an editorial policy? What should not?
Student media policy may be the most important decision you make

Suggestions for student media mission, legal, ethical and procedural language

Introducing a staff manual package to build a foundation for journalistic responsibility

Edit policy sets forum status

Ethics codes are invaluable in student journalism, but not as guide for punishment

How to use this guide for ethical use of staff manuals

Model for ethical guidelines

Takedown demands

Muzzle Hazelwood with strong journalism status as an open public forum

Talking points on prior review and restraint

Dealing with unwanted, forced prior review?

Prior review v. prior restraint

Understanding the perils of prior review and restraint

Prior review imposes ineffective educational limits on learning, citizenship

Guidelines, recommendations for advisers facing prior review

JEA defines prior review

Lesson step-by-step

Presentation – Day 1

The teacher will set up a discussion question for students about prior review and prior restraint. 

The prompt follows:

Read these definitions:

  • Prior review occurs when anyone not on the publication/media staff requires that he or she be allowed to read, view or approve student material before distribution, airing or publication.
  • Prior restraint occurs when someone not on the publication/media staff requires pre-distribution changes to or removal of student media content

Once students ponder the definitions, they should read Prior review v. prior restraint.

The teacher should post the following:

• Create two lists, one supporting prior review and the other opposed to it. Based on readings, previous class work and the definitions, list up to 10 reasons each to oppose or support prior review 

When they are satisfied, students would submit their lists to a third, blank, discussion board for use when they work to draft a prior review statement.

Presentation – Day 2 (Could be later or when working on staff manual)

Students will review their pro-con prior review statements and browse through Talking points on prior review and restraint

Using their review choices and other articles, students should each draft a prior review statement to be used with other manual statements on policy, ethics and procedure.

Assessment

Students should craft it as the focus for a short position paper:

            • In no more than 150 words, craft a position statement on how to talk with administrators about prior review..

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