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Ethical scenarios

Posted by on Apr 5, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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Scenario 1:

Several in the sophomore class have asked the photo editors to remove their braces in their yearbook photo. The photo editor has asked the editor for advice. 

What are some of the consideration points to consider as journalists? What should the editor’s advice be? Is this a legal or ethical consideration?

Directions for next step for each scenario: (Please note, under each of the next scenarios, the links to post are after the scenario description.)

After a discussion, the teacher could post the following link and ask students to now look at one of these and then repost to their original points to figure out if they were correct in their reasoning and idea.

Scenario 2:

As the sports editor, you want to include a screenshot of your local professional women’s basketball team from the local newspaper’s website to accompany a story on the stoppage of sports. Is this legal use of a photo? If it’s not, what might be a better option?

SPRC link for teachers to post.

Scenario 3:

A student who used to be on staff wrote a letter to the editor questioning the purpose of student media. Should you include the letter? Would it be different if it were an online comment only?

SPRC links for teachers to post:

letters and commentary

online comments.

Scenario 4:

Two students passed when the car was hit by a drunken driver. Should you cover the fatality? How might you do this?

SPRC link for teachers to post.

Scenario 5

Next year, you have plans to make some changes to increase readership. The editorial board is deciding whether to add senior quotes, senior superlatives and senior wills. What are the pros and cons to these? Should they be included in student media?

SPRC links for teachers to post:

senior quotes

senior superlatives

senior wills

Scenario 6:

The students would like to publish an April Fool’s edition of the news media. Given what you know about the role of the student press, should this be done?

SPRC link for teachers to post.

Scenario 7:

You receive the following request:

“I was a student two years ago, and I was interviewed/wrote a story/was in a photo/made a comment that I regret now. I don’t want this showing up in Google searches. Please remove this story from your site.”

SPRC link for teachers to post.

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Forum status of student media

Posted by on Apr 5, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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This online lesson guides students through the basics of forum status for student media and the specifics of how it applies to student media. A statement of forum status is an essential part of a staff manual.

Objectives

  • Students will demonstrate understanding of forum theories for student media.
  • Students will compare and contrast the forum theory concepts with journalism principles, ethics and mission.
  • Students will discuss and select a forum theory statement to pair with their mission, editorial policy and ethics statements.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.10Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grades 11-12 here.)

Length

Based on individual needs

Materials / resources

When your publication is a public forum and when it is not

Choosing your forum status is like choosing the best medicine

Forum status of student media

Resources for teacher background

Model guidelines for policy choices

Easy access to policy models

What should go into an editorial policy? What should not?
Student media policy may be the most important decision you make

Suggestions for student media mission, legal, ethical and procedural language

Introducing a staff manual package to build a foundation for journalistic responsibility

Edit policy sets forum status

Ethics codes are invaluable in student journalism, but not as guide for punishment

How to use this guide for ethical use of staff manuals

Model for ethical guidelines

Takedown demands

Muzzle Hazelwood with strong journalism status as an open public forum

Talking points on prior review and restraint

Dealing with unwanted, forced prior review?

Prior review v. prior restraint

Understanding the perils of prior review and restraint

Prior review imposes ineffective educational limits on learning, citizenship

Guidelines, recommendations for advisers facing prior review

JEA defines prior review

Lesson step-by-step

Presentation – Day 1

The teacher will share this link with students. Students will have read this before class time. The teacher will also share this information:

• In the post-Hazelwood world, it is more important than ever for student journalists and their advisers to know what policies their school has adopted relating to student publications or student expression. 

The language of those policies (whether they give editorial control to students or keep it in the hands of school officials) and the amount of freedom that students have traditionally operated under at the school can determine whether Hazelwood or Tinker sets the standard for what school officials will be allowed to censor.

Three types of forums are open public, limited public and closed.

• A closed forum: An example of closed is a PTA newsletter. The owner of the forum can control its content. Censorship is allowed. Little learning about the role of a free press in a democracy would take place. Little learning about the various roles of journalism would take place.

• Students have no expectation of freedom of expression.

  • Students should have no expectation of learning news or objective journalism.
  • Students should have no expectation of creating original pieces.
  • Students should have no expectation of decision-making.
  •   Hazelwood applies

• A limited public forum: A limited forum can be limited to whatever the establisher of the forum wants it to be: a forum for sports coverage, for example. It can be reviewed, or not reviewed, by the originator’s designation. If reviewed, the owner of the forum has all the legal responsibility and control. If not reviewed, the students, for example, could be designated as being in charge and enjoy the freedoms and bear the responsibility. A good many student media fall into this category where school districts trust their students, their advisers and their curriculum. Students learn about the media’s role in a democracy, and about their own civic responsibility. If education about the media’s role in a democracy and learning critical-thinking and responsibility are the school’s mission, then the second type of limited forum is used.

Limited-closed:

• Students have no expectation of freedom of expression

• Students should have no expectation of learning news or objective journalism.

• Students should have no expectation of creating original pieces.

• Students should have no expectation of decision-making.

• Hazelwood applies.

Limited-open: 

• Students have an expectation of freedom of expression.

• Students should expect to learn news or objective journalism.

 •Students should expect to create original material

• Students should expect to make decision

 • Tinker applies if no prior review.

• An open public (designated) forum:  The third category is an open forum, much like speakers’ corner in the United Kingdom. Anyone can speak, and the school (government) bears no legal responsibility. Schools can designate student media as open forums by policy or practice. This is noted within the Hazelwood decision, as is a limited open forum with student decision-making control.

Open forums:

 • Students have an expectation of freedom of expression.

 • Students should expect to learn news or objective journalism

  • Students should expect to create original material.

 • Students should expect to make decisions.

 • Tinker applies if no prior review.

 Activity 1

Students will decide which of the following statements they would prefer for their student run media (keeping in mind the various platforms of print, broadcast, yearbook and digital should be under the same policies and their staff manual reflect that), and why they made that choice. 

Students will write their choice on the discussion board Student Media Forum Statement the teacher created. Students should choose the forum carefully and refer to it in the policy section of your staff manual. It might also play a role in development of Mission statement.

Statement 1: All school-sponsored student publications and productions are XXXXXXX forums.  While students may address matters of interest or concern to their readers/viewers, as XXXXXXX forums, the style and content of the student publications and productions can be regulated for legitimate pedagogical, school-related reasons.  School officials shall routinely and systematically review and, if necessary, restrict the style and/or content of all school-sponsored student publications and productions prior to publication/performance in a reasonable manner that is neutral as to the viewpoint of the speaker.  Legitimate pedagogical concerns are not confined to academic issues but include the teaching by example of the shared values of a civilized social order, which consists of not only independence of thought and frankness of expression but also discipline, courtesy/civility, and respect for authority.  School officials may further prohibit speech that is grammatically incorrect, poorly written, inadequately researched, biased or prejudiced, vulgar or profane, or unsuitable for immature audiences.

Statement 2: [NAME OF SCHOOL] student media are designated public forums in which students make all decisions of content without prior review by school officials.

Freedom of expression and press freedom are fundamental values in a democratic society. The mission of any institution committed to preparing productive citizens must include teaching these values and providing a venue for students to practice these values, both by lesson and by example.

As preservers of democracy, our schools shall protect, encourage and enhance free speech and the exchange of ideas as a means of protecting our American way of life. (This choice can be supported with other students that enhance or explain the position)

Statement 3: The Board designates all school-sponsored student media, with the exception of those originating from classrooms or educational settings not otherwise directly associated with student publications and productions, as XXXXXXX forums whereby students can address matters of concern and/or interest to their readers/viewers. (Under this policy student journalists, content-creators and/or performers involved in these publications/productions have the right/or do not have the right to determine the content of the student media. Social media could be blocked/not blocked, depending on board decision) 

Activity 2

After students have chosen and sent their statements to the teacher, the teacher can distribute this information to students Or, save it for another lesson, say on what goes into a policy statement and what does not:

Importance of designated forum status

  1. There is no requirement that any government agency establish a forum of any kind.
  2. But once a government does establish a forum, it cannot dictate the content of that forum.
  3. Jurisprudence sees three types of forums: open, limited, closed.
  4. The closed forum is a place that traditionally has not been open to public expression. Examples, in schools, could be newsletters or other means of communication not open to public use. So long as restrictions are reasonable and not based on a desire to suppress certain viewpoints, the government may close public access to them.
  5. The open or traditional public forum is a place with a long history of expression, such as a public park or street corner. The government can only impose content-neutral time, place and manner restrictions on speech in this forum. To override the open, public forum status, the government would have to show a compelling interest.
  6. The limited forum has the most problematic history. It is a place with a limited history of expressive activity, usually only for certain topics or groups. A meeting hall or public-owned theater are examples. The government may limit access when setting up a forum but may still not restrict expression unless there is a compelling interest. Schools, as government institutions, may, by “policy or practice,” open student media for indiscriminate use by the public or some segment of the public.
  7. A designated public forum enables students to make decisions of content, thus empowering them to practice critical thinking and civic engagement roles.
  8. Educational value of the designated open forum is mirrored by the fact most schools have mission statements identifying these as essential life skills for students to learn while in school.
  9. Prior review and a lack of trust in the product (students) schools are expected to produce undermines the very missions school officials say are among their most important.
  10. Studies have clearly shown that students, and communities in general, do not understand the importance of the First Amendment. One reason may be that students are not allowed to practice what they are taught while in schools and thus do not believe the theories of the democratic system.

These definitions should help you understand public forums:

  • Forums by policy: An official school policy exists that designates student editors as the ultimate authority regarding content. School officials actually practice this policy by exercising a “hands-off” role and empowering student editors to lead. Advisers teach and offer students advice, but they neither control nor make final decisions regarding content.
  • Forums by practice: A school policy may or may not exist regarding student media, but administrators have a “hands-off” approach and have empowered students to control content decisions. Advisers teach and offer students advice, but they neither control nor make final decisions regarding content.

Assessment

Students should use their answer as the focus for a short position paper:

            • In no more than 150 words, craft a position statement why their choice would be best for all their audiences. Submit to the teacher for comment and further use.

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Rubric for student media manual assignment

Posted by on Apr 5, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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Rubric for student media manual assignment: 

Exceeds StandardsAt StandardsBelow Standards
Discussion board participationStudent interacted with others concerning the topic a minimum of two timesStudent interacted with others concerning the topic a minimum of two timesStudent didn’t interact with others in the collaboration stage
Collaboration with othersStudent robustly showed how and why the items for discussion should stay or be alteredStudent somewhat showed how and why the items for discussion should stay or be alteredLittle discussion evident
Draft of work commentary Student contributed thoughtful ideas concerning the draft.Student contributed ideas concerning the draft.Student contributed ideas concerning the draft but may have missed the main point.
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Scenarios to help teach law and ethics remotely

Posted by on Apr 5, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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Teachers could do this as one scenario per day unit or sprinkle them throughout many weeks while addressing other areas as well. Topics covered include both legal and ethical concerns such as copyright, photo ethics, basic reporting, takedown requests, etc.

Objectives

  • Students will make a legal or ethical choice based on current knowledge.
  • Students will then evaluate that decision based on resources provided
  • Students will alter or keep the original decision after examining resources. They will also provide reasoning for the final choice.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1.aIntroduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1.bDevelop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2.aIntroduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

Length

 Varies dependent on number of scenarios used.

Materials / resources

SPJ Code of Ethics

Scenarios

Rubric for scenarios 

Each scenario has a link to an existing SPRC resource, which has links to even more resources. 

If used with student media class, teacher should link to the current staff handbook. Teacher could also link to SPRC’s model handbook for students.

Lesson step-by-step

Activity 1 — Teacher upload, student discussion.

Upload the desired scenario in the discussion area of your course. Students should read and respond to the scenario. 

Activity 2 — Teacher post, student re-evaluation      

Teacher should upload the SPRC Quick Tip that addresses the scenario. Ask students to read and then re-evaluate their response. They should provide reasoning for either keeping the decision or adjusting their response. 

Differentiation

These scenarios are specifically for your course. You should opt for concepts students have struggled with in the past or that you or the students find interesting.

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Rubric for legal and ethical scenarios

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Exceeds StandardsAt StandardsBelow Standards
Discussion board participationStudent interacted with others concerning the topic a minimum of two timesStudent interacted with others concerning the topic a minimum of two timesStudent didn’t interact with others in the collaboration stage
Reasons for decisionStudent robustly showed their reasoning on how and why the original decision should remain or be altered using the resource information providedStudent somewhat showed their reasoning on how and why the original decision should remain or be alteredLittle discussion evident
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Re-examining the student media staff manual

Posted by on Apr 5, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

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Staff manuals provide student journalists with resources and guidance during times of need. Now is the perfect time to reevaluate (and review) your current guidelines — and maybe even policies. These virtual conversations will not only help students understand what to do, but also what they may want to examine for future. 

Objectives

  • Students will examine their current media staff manual (if no manual exists, students should work to create one).
  • Students will discuss what might need updating or revising. 
  • Students will write and edit the current manual.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.10Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grades 11-12 here.)

Length

Basic level — 6 self-paced discussion board and collaborative doc activities

Materials / resources

Your current staff manual

JEA SPRC resource on staff manual

Rubric for student work

Way for students to collaborate online

Discussion board availability

Computer access

Annotation link for guideline example

Links for Activity 2

Forum status of student media

Prior review v. prior restraint

What should go into an editorial policy? What should not?

Student media policy may be the most important decision you make

Index of SPRC’s Quick Tips that will be beneficial for talking points for final activity.

Lesson step-by-step

Activity 1 — Mission statement discussion 

Teacher should upload the media mission statement found in the current staff manual in a discussion board. (If one doesn’t exist, students should work together to create one.) Teacher will then post the current mission statement of the student media. Ask students what they think might need to be altered.

Activity 2 — Mission statement part two 

When students have discussed, teacher could post a sample mission statement such as the one on the SPRC site:  

_____________ (school name) student media provide complete and accurate coverage, journalistically responsible, ethically gathered, edited and reported. Student-determined expression promotes democratic citizenship through public engagement diverse in both ideas and representation.

Ask students “what are the similarities and differences between the student media mission statement and the one posted”? What should the current mission statement be? Ask students to recraft as necessary. This could be done on a shared document if that is easier. 

Activity 3 — Policy statement 

Teacher should upload the current either board or student media level policy statement. Again through a discussion board, ask students to discuss what the strengths and weaknesses of this policy may be. 

Activity 4 — Policy statement comparative

Have the students compare the student media policy with what may be found at SPRC as well as look at the Quick Tips listed in the Resources above. Again, ask students to suggest changes to the current policy.

Activity 5 — Student choice

Students should brainstorm areas using a discussion board in which they might want to have ethical guidelines. Let them know that a great place to start is to think through any issues they had during the year. For example, what do you do when someone requests prior review of an article? Takedown request? Who can place an ad? They could also look to the current list in the manual for ideas. 

Teacher should form groups prior to Activity 6

Activity 6 — Group work (this step may be repeated if needed)

Ask students to post the current guideline and then examine its language while comparing it to the current language on SPRC. They should not only reexamine, but recraft as necessary using a shared document. This time, students should highlight the text and say why they made these choices. This will serve as a rough draft and starting point for the finalization of the manual.  

Guideline example (see annotation here):

Old:

Because student media is consumed by readers under the age of 18, we will not cover content that might be identified by our community as not adhering to common moral standards. The adviser will make the final decision in all cases.

SPRC sample:

Final content decisions and responsibility shall remain with the student editorial board. Student media will not avoid publishing a story solely on the basis of possible dissent or controversy.

New: 

The student media editorial board of (high school name here) will make all final decisions of content without prior review and restraint.

The board will not back away from covering a story because of possible controversy or arguments of readers. The goal is to provide the truth to an issue and robustly cover the students and staff of the school.  

Extension:

Teacher or editor could compile all the content suggested and rewritten by the students. Using a collaborative document, the teacher should set the share setting to “anyone with the link can comment.” Ask students to comment on one another’s work and ideas. Then, the editorial board could meet virtually to rework and rewrite as needed.

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