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Breaking news is daunting, chaotic; focusing on ‘A-game’ is

Posted by on Nov 30, 2021 in Blog | Comments Off on Breaking news is daunting, chaotic; focusing on ‘A-game’ is



by Stan Zoller, MJE

To many journalists, the “rush” of a breaking news story is like no other feeling as journalistic instincts kick in at a moment’s notice.

Whether it’s an international, national, regional or local story, covering breaking news requires journalists to resort back to those A-game skills they learned as a student journalist.

It also entails an extreme attention to details as in the early stages of a breaking news story. As hard as it may be during the potential chaos that is often associated with a breaking story, fact checking and accuracy remains paramount.

The recent holiday parade tragedy in Waukesha, Wisconsin is a classic example. The instant and seemingly surreal unfolding of events pushed reporters to the limit to get out as much information. 

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It’s time for student watchdogs to go to work

Posted by on Nov 7, 2021 in Blog | Comments Off on It’s time for student watchdogs to go to work


by Candace Bowen, MJE

It’s happening in Ohio – and 26 other states. Even if it’s not in yours yet, chances are it will be. And chances are it may also impact the kinds of stories your student journalists can write.

Under the guise of ensuring what’s taught in schools isn’t “divisive” or wouldn’t “sow unrest,” more than half the states in the U.S. have bills or other statewide policies that would limit discussion about racism and sexism and other topics.

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Transparency helps keep air in the balloon

Posted by on Oct 31, 2021 in Blog | Comments Off on Transparency helps keep air in the balloon

Photoillustration by JBowen

by Stan Zoller, MJE

Al McGuire, the late basketball coach at Marquette University, used to remind folks that championship basketball wasn’t all “seashells and balloons.”

I suppose you could apply that to just about anything – life, final exams, losing a close game or even journalism.

No matter how many laws are passed, policies adopted and awards won, getting that story isn’t, wait for it, all seashells and balloons.

You just don’t go out and get the perfect source, have the editors love your first draft and the hierarchy throw roses at you when the story runs.

It ain’t all seashells and balloons. 

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Active censorship or community protection?

Posted by on Oct 26, 2021 in Blog | Comments Off on Active censorship or community protection?


Two Ohio high schools have now canceled fall productions of the same LGBTQ-themed play

by John Bowen, MJE

Two points.

Two Ohio public school systems.

The first point is about two student performances of ‘She Kills Monsters’ killed this fall.

Students at Hillsboro High School in southwestern Ohio faced the news of the play’s cancellation after rehearsals had begun, about a month before the production was to open. Students there faced opposition from some parents and a pastor who supported cancellation of the play because one character is implied to be gay. 

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Free Speech Week:

Posted by on Oct 14, 2021 in Blog | 0 comments


Which journalistic change can best enhance free expression,
ensure essential information and restore trust?

by John Bowen, MJE

The past two years brought concepts previously unfamiliar to scholastic journalism: asynchronous, hybrid and Covid. Students and advisers practiced new techniques: Zoom, safe distance, remote interviews and more created individually in schools nationwide.

For some journalism programs it was a time of implementing creative change. Others scrambled to publish at all, but creatively attempted to fill gaps caused caused by limited school programs. Some faced bans dictated by community or school rules on publishing photos of school figures without masks, to showing too many students within a six foot space. Teachers and administrators danced swiftly to discuss legally and ethically sound solutions.

Because participants in the long season of change developed new methods or gathered gumption to tackle issues again, and they could have a multitude of issues to tackle.

All just in time for Free Speech Week, Oct. 18-24.

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