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Building on Student Press Freedom Day

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A time for reflection on and commitment to journalistically responsible student media

Jan. 29, Student Press Freedom Day, is a good time to reflect on the importance of a unfettered student media, especially given the country’s claimed mistrust of and attacks on the media.

Commit to informing your various communities now, and throughout the next several months, about why they should support student journalists and learn ways to evaluate information from any source.

The SPLC has suggestions for activities and educational leadership useable for students, faculty, administrators and community members, Jan. 29 and beyond.

Additional resources might include:
A pillar of strength: the Tinker decision and more. This link leads to information and lessons on Tinker, New Voices, developing mission statements and editorial policies.
Tools of Truth resources. Look for teaching and resource materials on misinformation through sloppy reporting, satire, censorship and deception.
Law and ethics manual. Lessons and resources directly focused on creating a strong mission state, a editorial policy that helps protect free student expression, editorial guidelines to support the policy and procedures to carry out and reinforce the principles of journalistically responsible student media.

For the longer term, consider one or more of these possible lessons, activities or presentations:
• What can be learned from the recent NPR interview flap with Sec. of State Mike Pompeo? Read articles on the incident from the Washington Post, Fox News and Rolling Stone.
• What to do when when it’s difficult to tell what is misinformation. Should journalists refuse to report what they find is gaslighting or spin? Should they identify those who misinform? See information from Poynter.org, Columbia Journalism Review and Global Investigative Journalism Network.
• What will journalism’s future be? Will journalism take more of an advocacy look? Will reporting swing more toward Solutions Journalism? Will media and more importantly audiences, handle the growing glut of mis- and dis-information? Focus on these articles as openers, look for more and work to prevent or enhance the future your students like. Articles to start are from Mediashift, Vox, Solutions Journalism and St. Louis Public Radio.

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