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Building on Student Press Freedom Day and Year of the Student Journalist

Posted by on Feb 3, 2019 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

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This week began free expression celebration with Student Press Freedom Day, introduced  the Year of the Student Journalist and  showcased lessons and information on the 50th Tinkerversity.

For those who might have missed or wanted this information and more, here is relevant information all in one place:

  • Year of the Student Journalist activities start a calendar year of national and individual events and programming that will raise awareness of student journalists’ role and struggles they face. For more information, go here.
  • Tinker Turns 50 is a celebration of the 50thanniversary of Tinker. Scholastic journalists will be able to follow the Tinkers, John and Mary Beth,through events and programs as they return to Iowa, Feb. 18-28. Livestream and educational resources information are available. General information and links to the full schedule, here.
  • The Schoolhouse Gate is a project to enable student journalists to tell stories about young people and free speech. Students from Parkland will gather submissions from around the nation about how free speech is being celebrated, challenged and used locally. See more information here. 
  • Celebrating Student Press Freedom Day is a JEA project of its Scholastic Press Rights committee with lessons, resources and daily free speech activities. Find those materials here.
  •  RFK Human Rights program extended the nomination deadline for its 2019 Journalism Awards student categories until Feb. 8. For more about the awards and guidelines go here.
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Celebrating Student Press Freedom Day, 50 years of student rights

Posted by on Jan 27, 2019 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

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Mary Beth Tinker claps her hands while singing a song to high school students in the grand ball room Oct. 1, 2013 at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. The engagement was part of the Mary Beth Tinker Bus Tour. (Photo by David Dermer)

by Lori Keekley, MJE
SPRC members have been working to amass several resources for you as we kick off our celebration of the Tinker anniversary with Student Press Freedom Day. The goal is to keep celebrating Student Press Freedom Day daily leading up to the 50th anniversary of the Tinker decision.

What’s new
Need a bell ringer? We have 18 days worth of scenarios that span from Student Press Freedom Day to the 50th anniversary of the Tinker decision. These scenarios address real-world situations students face. These scenarios include possible answers to guide discussion and resources for further research.

Podcast
This episode celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Tinker decision. Kent State University Knight Chair Mark Goodman explains the importance of the Tinker decision and high school students share what Tinker means to them. Subscribers can listen here and everyone here.

Student Day of Action lesson
Since it’s the Student Day of Action, we decided to give you a lesson plan to educate students about the Tinker decision and (hopefully) inspire them to action. The lesson includes a video of Mary Beth Tinker discussing the Tinker decision and addresses how students can (and should) take action.

As a culminating part of this lesson, students can write a postcard that will be delivered to Mary Beth Tinker on the 50th Anniversary. (You will need to print these on cardstock and then mail them. Details are in the lesson.)

But that’s not all …

We realized as we were creating content to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Tinker case we have so much relevant material. Here are a few, by category, of lessons, blogs, legal concepts and information concerning creating a staff manual with sections on mission, editorial policy, ethical guidelines and staff manual procedures.

It’s also a great time to revisit SPRC’s Quick Tips, which are more than 90 quick pieces addressing everything from empowering student content decisions to the importance of having editorial policies.

As always, please contact me if you have any suggestions or questions concerning this material or have other ideas for contributions.

Thank you and enjoy the celebration.

Lori Keekley

Collaborators include:
Scenarios: John Bowen, Tom Gayda and Lori Keekley
Lesson: Lori Keekley
Podcast: Kristin Taylor

 

 

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A pillar of strength: the Tinker decision

Posted by on Jan 27, 2019 in Blog, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

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Mary Beth Tinker takes pictures at Kent State University’s May 4 Visitor’s Center of exhibits from the sixties. The center documents the era as its protests and time of anti-war expressiion foreshadowed the deaths of four Kent State students.

We realized as we were creating content ( see Lori Keekley’s blog) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Tinker case, we have so much relevant material. Here are a  few by category.

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Tinker v. Des Moines: a legacy for the nation

Posted by on Jan 27, 2019 in Blog, Lessons, Scholastic Journalism | 1 comment

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Title

Taking action on Student Press Freedom Day

Description

In preparation for the 50th anniversary of the Tinker vs. Des Moines U. S. Supreme Court decision, students will learn about the case and its legacy for both students and teachers. This groundbreaking decision’s opinion stated “neither students or teachers lose their rights at the schoolhouse gate.”

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Some of you aren’t going to like this

Posted by on Jan 6, 2019 in Blog, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 2 comments

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by Candace Bowen, MJE
Yes, it’s true. I’m going to question a concept scholastic media latched onto and often treats like the solution to all media problems. We got it from commercial media and have adopted it passionately: It’s storytelling.

And, yes, it certainly has some value, but it has some pitfalls we and our students sometimes overlook. Big pitfalls.

But first a bit of back story.

About 20 years ago, a fellow high school journalism teacher from Iowa and I were teaching “fact-based American journalism” to teens in Prague and Bratislava. These were two-week boot camps with about 30 students at each site, sponsored by Hungarian-born philanthropist George Soros and his Open Society Foundations. Because not all of our students spoke English, we had support from interpreters.

The ones in Prague were excellent, majoring in this at Charles University and very serious about being accurate. Of course, they had no journalism background, so many nights they double checked their understanding and jargon with some of their friends who were studying to be reporters.

That’s how, on about the third day, they sought us out before the group session started. “We’ve been translating something wrong,” Lucie said apologetically. “And we should have known better.”

She explained that when we sometimes used the word “story” in our descriptions of what the students would be writing for the end-of-the-workshop newspaper, they were translating it as “příběh,“ which referred to fiction, but it should be “reportáž,“ which means news story, the factual reporting we were trying to teach.

Ever since then, a small part of me twitches when I hear journalists talk endlessly about “stories” and “storytelling.” I try to be very careful with my freshman news majors, making it clear all they will do is based on fact.

Thus when I read a tweet from New York University professor and media critic Jay Rosen* a week or so ago, it struck a chord. I happened to see one of several tweets he had about the problems with the term “storytelling”:

“I don’t know how our journalists came to see ‘storytelling’ as the heart of what they do, and ‘storyteller’ as a self-description. I can think of 4-5 elements of journalism more central than ‘story.’ Truthtelling, grounding public conversation in fact, verificationlistening.” (The boldface is mine.)

Then another much-followed media expert, Jeff Jarvis*, who was, by the way, an award-winning high school journalist in his younger days, shared articles and tweets about a German newspaper situation, “The Spiegel Scandal and the Seduction of Storytelling.”There 33-year-old reporter Claas Relotius made up “article after article” because, as he told his editors, he was “motivated by fear of failure.”

Yes, it sounds like Jason Blair, Stephen Glass and Janet Cooke. But Jarvis goes on to explore this more thoroughly through articles in German media about Relotius and his fabrications. Jarvis translates and quotes “A Beautiful Lie,” an essay by Bernhard Pörksen’s in Die Zeit: “What shows up here is called the narrative distortion, story bias. You have the story in your head, you know what sound readers or colleagues want to hear. And you deliver what works.”

Both Jarvis and Rosen write about the problem with the phrase “getting the story” or “getting a quote for the story.” It’s a concept I have warned students to avoid. It sends the message to me that the student isn’t reporting the facts, telling what’s really going on as much as he or she is following a formula – narrative arc, starting and ending with a representative person, using quotes to make it real and move the story along.

All those devices can be fine. They can help attract readers who might otherwise just click on or flip to something else. It gives the situation a face that grabs the attention of today’s often fickle audience.

But it needs to be used sparingly and carefully.

*Rosen had 245K followers on Twitter and Jarvis has 169K.

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Bringing light to relevant issues, past and present, defines journalistic leadership

Posted by on Jan 2, 2019 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Lessons, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

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by John Bowen, MJE
“I’d rather be a hammer than a nail
“Blowing in the Wind
“Find the Cost of Freedom
Ohio
“Where Have All the Flowers Gone

How do these lyrics and titles relate to scholastic journalism?

  • They all came at a time when people questioned the media, its role and its leadership.
  • They all came at a time when citizens and journalists complained of government mis-, dis and censored information.
  • They all came at a time when activism and protest – from multiple viewpoints – clouded not only the truth on timely issues but also many people’s minds.

Sound familiar?

Fifty years ago, The U. S. Supreme Court upheld students wearing of black armbands as protected speech during the Vietnam war. That war also spawned events and issues that continued to bring activists, protestors and media together.

The war brought new levels of violence against expression some called unAmerican. “America, love it or leave it” was a forerunner of today’s “Enemy of the State.”

Such verbiage frustrated citizens who sought the truth about issues: The Pentagon Papers. MyLai 4. Lt. William Calley. May 4, 1970. The impact of drugs.

2018 and 2019 highlight a tumultuous new era with key similarities to the past.

Distrust of government and news media. Who tells the truth? Whom can citizens believe? Who lies?

And the current issues: Availability of guns, health, drugs, the environment, misinformation and lying. Growing amounts of stress in student lives.

Sound familiar?

We began to learn from Mary Beth and John Tinker and others who opened the schoolhouse gates to free expression, social awareness and creation of change. Free speech and press are important.

If we truly believe the social responsibility role of the news media is an essential partner with freedom – at all levels – we will empower student journalists to seek the truth, to dig for the whole story and to always question authority. They then question what authority tells society as the Tinkers and others modeled 50 years ago.

Reporting will add new meaning to journalistic leadership, advocacy and solutions.

Consider, as a New Year’s resolution, expanding your journalistic studies to include current issues as well as their historical perspectives. Content choices include:

And, as we move into 2019, the hammers, not the nails, will bring clearer insight and exert stronger leadership in today’s societal issues.

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