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Tomorrow’s Nellie Bly may be working on student media today

Posted by on Mar 2, 2024 in Blog | Comments Off on Tomorrow’s Nellie Bly may be working on student media today


Two high school students, participants in the Dow Jones News Fund workshop at Kent State University in 2001, interview each other for the first story they had to write. Getting an early start as a journalist was a big plus in for many women journalists, including Katie Couric, who interned at the all-news Washington, D.C. radio station WAVA when she was in high school. (photo by Candace Bowen)

by Candace Bowen, MJE

If one of journalism’s jobs is to give voice to the voiceless, we should pay close attention to women in the field, especially in March, which is Women’s History Month.

This is a good time, according to the special website of the Library of Congress and other entities in Washington, D.C., to “commemorate and encourage the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women….” 

What female journalists come to mind? Possibly historical figures like Nellie Bly, really named Elizabeth Jane Cochran, who broke the record of Jules Verne’s fictional character and went around the world in 72 (not 80) days. But she also wrote about issues no one spoke oft at the time: bad conditions for women in factories and abuse from male family members. Such subjects meant the Pittsburgh Dispatch, where she worked at the time, lost advertisers, so her editor let her only write about fashion and social events.  

She left Pittsburgh and eventually became a reporter for Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. In the late 1880s, this meant she could cover more important – and sometimes sensational — issues. For instance, she went undercover in a mental institution, called the Women’s Lunatic Asylum, and spent 10 days there to report on the abuse and neglect. Copies of some of her stories and what else she covered are accessible through the Library of Congress link. 

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SJW: Celebrate & rejuvenate

Posted by on Feb 19, 2024 in Blog | Comments Off on SJW: Celebrate & rejuvenate


by John Bowen, MJE

Let the fireworks – figuratively or real – begin

For now is the time of JEA’s Student Journalism Week and all it can do to further democratic ideals.

For 100 years, JEA’s mission has been to support free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities for students and advisers across the country. Although numerous things have changed since 1924, the goal remains.

Celebrate Scholastic Journalism Week. Photo by Anthony Roberts on Unsplash

On Meet the Press Feb. 18, host Kristen Welker showed a clip of Senator John McCain of Arizona talking about the absolute necessity of a free and, at times, aggressive press.

That point can be made about the importance of free and journalistically press in the nation’s schools. If students don’t see the working of free, student run student news media in schools, they won’t understand or practice journalism’s key roles.

As we can clearly see in events today, a society whose press, at any level, is not understood or trusted, often withers away into News Deserts, disinformation machines and stealthful liars, instead of centers of journalistic and social responsibility.

As we celebrate Scholastic Journalism Week and Scholastic Press Freedom Day, cheer and promote journalism as a life-changing education in democratic engagement. But also take time to look at issues and events that will require accurate, contextual and thorough reporting. And sometimes aggressive reporting.

Student journalists and communities can benefit from examining four key cornerstones that nurture, challenge and broaden journalism’s leadership for the future.

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Best practices to shape AI, journalism union

Posted by on Jan 7, 2024 in Blog | Comments Off on Best practices to shape AI, journalism union


by John Bowen, MJE

Fifteen years ago Feb. 1, 2009, copyright education centered on online term papers.

Back then, USA Today reported, as did SPRC’s blog, about a court case against a company accused selling term papers online without proving content ownership. A US district judge in Illinois ordered the owner of the web-based company to stop selling term papers unless he has permission from the paper’s authors.

News about copyright to date in 2024 hasn’t dealt with term papers, but with “Steamboat Willie” and the original images of Mickey Mouse, freed from copyright limitations. There are, though, limitations that keep Disney in charge of most of copyright control on its work and characters. According to Disney spokespeople, the “More modern” Mickey and characters will remain protected from the public domain.

And, it’s clear, if we don’t pay attention, more lasting copyright issues could zip by without much notice.

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Student expression shouldn’t be foreign to journalists

Posted by on Dec 18, 2023 in Blog | Comments Off on Student expression shouldn’t be foreign to journalists


Not My King Signs and chants of Abolish Monarchy filled the Westminster area In London, England May 2, 2023. Even in democratic countries, some protestors could face penalties even for a peaceful protest. Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona for

To appreciate our freedom of speech and freedom of expression, travel abroad. Unfortunately, there are those in this country who think freedoms of expression need to be controlled, especially when they are extolled by students.

by Stan Zoller, MJE

Imagine having to leave your homeland to express yourself.

The mere thought should make you appreciate the fundamental freedoms available to people, let alone journalists, in the United States. Unfortunately, however, there are those who think freedoms of expression need to be controlled, especially when they are extolled by students.

The rights of student journalists play a role far greater than reporting news, sports, voicing opinions or reviewing movies.

Student media is community journalism and the stepping stone for civic engagement. It’s why New Voices laws are more important than ever before.  Student journalists provide the first steps for civic engagement through their coverage of their community – their school where students learn about the First Amendment, learn about the importance of democracy and learn why it’s so important.

What’s needed is a greater understanding why it’s so essential to let students practice and appreciate what they learn.

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Students win money, school board rejects it; Issues create story planning activity

Posted by on Dec 14, 2023 in Blog | Comments Off on Students win money, school board rejects it; Issues create story planning activity


by John Bowen, MJE

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