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Yes Virginia, journalism still exists

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

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by Stan Zoller, MJE

More than a few years ago, I saw a sign on a colleague’s desk that read: “Tact:  Being able to tell someone where to go in such a way that they actually look forward to the trip.”

Heeding that advice, I’ve become a hell of a travel agent. 

Case in point. I was recently chatting with an acquaintance who wanted to know if I was still teaching journalism.

Of course, I said.

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Silently, heavily, even if optional, prior review and restraint contribute to a crumbling democracy

Posted by on Feb 2, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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

A few weeks ago there was widespread reaction when news broke that the National Archives in Washington D.C. had blurred anti-Trump protest signs in a photograph from the 2017 Women’s March.

Yesterday, The Washington Post reported a similar mural-sized image had been removed from a Library of Congress exhibit days before the exhibit opened last year.

According to a Jan. 17 Post article, a National Archives spokesperson said they blurred critical references to the president’s name “so as not to engage in current political controversy.” A later statement from the National Archives acknowledged “they were wrong to alter the image.” 

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Building on Student Press Freedom Day

Posted by on Jan 29, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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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.

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Use real situations to teach law and ethics

Posted by on Jan 26, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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by Candace Bowen, MJE

Teaching student journalists about legal and ethical issues can be a challenge. Some of my pre-service teachers at Kent State always want student groups to research different law cases and then present their findings to the class, possibility re-enact the trial. Others want teacher lectures, a process that takes at least several days.

Neither work all that well. The former often pays little attention to what the decision means to student media now. (Sure, they can explain about wearing the armbands . . . , but how does that even relate to student media.) Besides, they’re not always very accurate dealing with legal research. And the latter can be pretty darned boring, even with the liveliest presentation.

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Conversations at the Schoolhouse Gate

Posted by on Jan 17, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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Episode 9: Photojournalism during school

The latest episode of the SPRC podcast Conversations at the Schoolhouse Gate focuses on setting the scene and then interviewing students and their adviser at Palo Alto High School.

Students dealt with authorities trying to block them from taking photos when a police officer was injured on campus.

You can listen directly from the website here or — better yet — subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify. This would be a great one to share with your staffs, also.

Student journalists at Palo Alto High School illustrate the tension between press freedom, public safety and ethics during a crisis at their school


In this episode, Menlo School adviser Tripp Robbins asks student journalists what they would do during a rumor-filled crisis at school and then interviews students at Palo Alto High School in California who actually dealt with one.

Students and their adviser, Paul Kandell, talk about the challenges of shooting photos of breaking news and lessons they learned.

If you are a student or a student media adviser with a story about scholastic press freedom, we want to hear from you.

You can reach us at sprc@jea.org 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.

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Teaching students to fact-check themselves and others

Posted by on Jan 12, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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

Thursday, Jan. 9, Facebook announced in a blog post found here their platform will soon allow users to opt out of certain political and social issue advertisements. 

This decision came in response to demands for Facebook to fact check ads before approving their inclusion on the social media feed. 

Two students illustrate the fact-checking process needed for all reporting.

After endorsing government regulation such as The Honest Ads Act, Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management, stated in the blog post, “In the absence of regulation, Facebook and other companies are left to design their own policies. We have based ours on the principle that people should be able to hear from those who wish to lead them, warts and all, and that what they say should be scrutinized and debated in public.”

Fact checking, scrutinizing content and debating ideas in public should be celebrated by student journalists and educators. As journalists, our first and most important task is to seek truth and report it. 

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