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Attending a national convention reaps rewards

Posted by on Sep 26, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments


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

On Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, a group of 20 journalism teachers, and advisers met with Kelly Glasscock of the Journalism Education Association and Laura Widmer of the National Scholastic Press Association at the site of the Fall 2020 JEA/NSPA conference.

Planning must begin more than a year in advance because a lot goes into providing a conference for 6000+ students and nearly 1000 advisers.

On a tour of the facility, Orlando World Center Marriott, the group entered vast conference rooms intended for exhibit halls and awards ceremonies; smaller rooms for breakout sessions; and a pool area outfitted with a game lawn, three big screen televisions and a waterfall slide.

We imagined the area crowded with JEA/NSPA members enjoying the Florida sun a year from this November. After the tour, the team got down to business, discussing everything from convention logo and theme to keynote speaker, media tours, student entertainment and registration.  

Of the hundreds of break-out sessions offered at national conventions, several speakers cover topics on law and ethics, including First Amendment, libel, court cases important to student media, copyright, plagiarism, reporter’s privilege, ethics, privacy, rights and responsibilities and staff policies.

These topics don’t always receive their due in our busy newsrooms, yet understanding them is vital to responsible journalism. Conferences provide students with a chance to delve deeper into the freedoms and protections afforded to student journalists and to hear from the Student Press Law Center.

In addition to all the work that the local planning committee puts into the conference, advisers who bring students spend hours in planning. I have taken students from Tampa, Florida to JEA/NSPA conferences in Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco.

Each experience provided me and my students with experiences that could not be duplicated in the classroom back home. Students met other journalism experts from around the country, heard from keynote speakers with diverse points-of-view, entered contests at the national level, made friends with students from around the country and visited with vendors in the exhibit hall.

Although taking students out of town or even out of state requires planning, organization and a great deal of fund-raising, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. JEA/NSPA created a PDF for schools outlining why conventions matter. It can be found here:

There are two JEA/NSPA Conferences scheduled between now and Orlando, the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention from Nov. 21-24, 2019, in Washington, D.C. and the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention April 16-18, 2020, in Nashville.

It’s not too late to register for the Fall 2019 conference in Washington, D.C. Early bird registration ends Oct. 30. Visit the convention page for more information or to register.

And if you can’t make it there, plan on Nashville or Orlando in 2020. 

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Apply now for 21st annual FAPFA recognition

Posted by on Sep 23, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments


It’s again time to apply for the First Amendment Press Freedom Award. You can access the form here. All first round applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Dec. 15.

In its 21st year, the recognition is designed to identify and recognize high schools that actively support and protect First Amendment rights of their students and teachers. 

Schools will be recognized at the 2020 Spring National JEA/NSPA High School Journalism Convention in Nashville.

To be recognized by JEA, NSPA and Quill and Scroll, schools must successfully complete two rounds of questions about the degree of First Amendment Freedoms student journalists have and how the school recognizes and supports the First Amendment.

Entries will be evaluated by members of these organizations.

Round 1 consists of a student editor and adviser or administrator answering questions. Those who advance to the next level will be asked to provide responses from the principal and advisers and at least two student editors.

In Round 2, semifinalists will also submit samples of the publications and their printed editorial policies in addition to the students, advisers and principals outlined above.

If you have questions, please contact Lori Keekley.

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Ask, don’t assume, to build trust

Posted by on Sep 14, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments


by Lindsay Coppens, The Harbinger Adviser Algonquin Regional High School, Northborough, Mass.

Building trust between student editors and school administrators goes a long way toward having a good year and a publication where students are empowered. 

Yes, part of scholastic journalists’ role is to question those in power and the decisions they make, and it’s essential reporters and editors are skeptical. However, it’s also helpful for student editors and administrators to have a good working relationship. I’ve found that the better the working relationship the more the students feel empowered.

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Journalism and activism: Is there still a line that separates them?

Posted by on Sep 10, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments


(WARNING: I buried the lead…at least for some of you.)

by Candace Bowen, MJE

Following the 2018 March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. and less than two months after the Parkland shootings, CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter asked one of the school newspaper’s editors if she saw “a difference right now between journalism and activism in what you’re doing?” 

“I think that for me, the purpose of journalism is to raise the voices of people who maybe don’t have a voice,” one of The Eagle Eye newpaper’s editors, Rebecca Schneid, replied.

Then the editor added, “And so I think that in its own right, journalism is a form of activism.”

Even though she later said she did see “distinctions between the two,” the Twitterverse exploded with reactions.

Some were critical, saying this is why journalism is having problems and reiterating the importance on sticking to the facts. Others – other journalists, too – agreed with Schneid and pointed out examples of journalists making a difference and being advocates.

But what does this exchange that happened a year and a half ago mean today?

It’s an example of the ethical dilemma student and commercial media face today, and the focus of the 15thannual Poynter KSU Media Ethics Workshop: Act. Action. Activism?

The daylong event will be at Kent State University Thursday, Sept. 19, but it will also be streamed live from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and archived for future viewing so you can watch all or parts of it from anywhere.

And here’s the lead I buried:Perhaps the three best parts for high school media advisers and their students: 

  • Keynote speakers at from 12:30 – 1:45 p.m. EDT will be Melissa Falkowski and Eric Garner, media advisers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. You’ll be able to tweet questions for them, too.
  • Plus two lesson plans are downloadable from the site. Just scroll down below the sponsor list. These include one you can do to get your students thinking about the ethical issue of “just the facts” vs. covering activism. Watching the keynote and other parts of the workshop would be a bonus, but these are also standalone assignments. 

The other lesson plan has students think about how they would have covered the May 4thshootings at Kent State if today’s social media and technology had been available 50 years ago in 1970. A PowerPoint includes the NBC Nightly News report of that event, WKSU’s radio version and two area newspapers’ coverage. It’s a good history lesson and also a very interactive assignment to get students thinking about the effectiveness of today’s various platforms.

  • On top of these, the Center for Scholastic Journalism will award $500 to the school media program with best coverage of activism. This can be a package in any media and by multiple students. Details will be announced during the workshop at 1:45 p.m. EDT and available on the website or from Candace Bowen,
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Real benefits without review and restraint

Posted by on Sep 7, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments


The latest episode of the SPRC podcast Conversations at the Schoolhouse Gate is posted.

Episode 6: Real benefits without review and restraint
interview with Archer School for Girls administrator Gretchen Warner and student editor Anna Brodsky.

Subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or Stitcher or listen directly from this website

After defining the terms “prior review,” “prior restraint” and “self-censorship,” Archer School for Girls journalism adviser Kristin Taylor interviews Archer’s Upper School Director Gretchen Warner and student editor-in-chief Anna Brodsky about the relationship between this private school’s free student press and its administration. 

If you are a student or a student media adviser with a story about prior review or restraint, we want to hear from you. You can reach us at with the subject line “Podcast” or tweet us at @jeapressrights.

So you don’t miss out on future episodes, please subscribe to this podcast through any of the many podcast applications available for your computer or phone.

If you like this podcast, please rate and review us on iTunes! Every review raises our profile and the chance more students and advisers will hear us.

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