Pages Navigation Menu

JEA statement on student free expression
in a vibrant and flourishing democracy

Posted by on Apr 9, 2017 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


The Journalism Education Association, at its board meeting in Seattle Washington April 6, unanimously passed the following statement:

To address current negativity toward news media in general and misunderstanding of its roles in a democracy, the Journalism Education Association reiterates its principles and practices that nourish a lifelong commitment for a vibrant and flourishing democracy.

We strongly believe free student expression as taught and practiced in journalism classes anchors successful scholastic media. So empowered, our programs showcase the importance of news and media literacy, civic engagement, critical thinking and decision-making as the core of lifelong involvement in a democracy.

To protect our democracy and its principles:

  • JEA reaffirms its position that the practice of journalism is an important form of public service to prepare students as engaged, civic-minded citizens who are also discerning information creators and users.
  • JEA will recognize, promote and support strong editorial policies with each media outlet as a designated public forum for student expression where students make all final content decisions without prior review or restraint.
  • JEA will encourage all journalism teachers and advisers to strongly encourage diversity, accuracy and thoroughness in content so student media reflect and make sense to communities they serve.
  • JEA will produce sample editorial policies and accompany them with model ethical guidelines and staff manual procedures that enhance and implement journalistically responsible decisions across media platforms.
  • JEA will encourage journalism teachers and media advisers, even if they must teach and advise under prior review or restraint, to recognize how educationally unsound and democratically unstable these policies and rules are.
  • JEA will insist student free expression not be limited by claims related to program funding or equipment use. Instead, journalism programs should showcase student civic engagement and practice democratic principles no matter what media platform is used.
  • JEA will demonstrate, to communities in and out of school, through its actions, policies, programs and budgeting, its commitment to an informed, vibrant nation where free expression is expected and practiced as part of our diverse American heritage.

Additionally, we believe groups we partner with and endorse should faithfully support principles of free student expression for student media.

Read More

Bill of Rights Day, Dec. 15

Posted by on Dec 7, 2016 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments



Dec.15, 2016, is Bill of Rights Day and a good time to deepen students’ knowledge about intricacies of our government as seen through the first ten amendments.

Such discussions would also be timely and relevant given the political events of an election year and the  change associated with a new presidency.

In a 1941 proclamation, President Franklin D. Roosevelt tapped the fifteenth day of December to be “a day of mobilization for freedom and for human rights, a day of remembrance of the democratic and peaceful action by which these rights were gained, a day of reassessment of their present meaning and their living worth.”

Here are links  to some of what is available:
• National Constitution Center, Bill of Rights Day
Has a section of educational resources and a great “Do-Now discussion question: “Not all the amendment James Madison proposed made it into the final Bill of Rights. Is there anything missing from the Bill of Rights you would have included?” 

• Bill of Rights Institute
With mission words of engage, educate and empower, the Institute provides information for students, teachers and supporters. The site features five lesson plans games and videos on Constitutional principles.

• Bill of Rights Day/United States Courts
This site offers resources for teachers, students and judges. The materials, reports the site, as meant to inform, involve and insire citizens to apapreciate and exercise the Bill of Rights.

• US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Bill of Rights Day
Provides materials available for immigrants tolearn about and prepare for the naturalization process. Good to see if your students could pass the naturalization test.

• 15 facts about the Bill of Rights
Interesting background information for further discussion and use.

Read More

Prepare for Free Speech Week,
Oct. 17-23

Posted by on Oct 9, 2016 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments



freespeechweek_logo_mainFree Speech Week (FSW) runs Oct. 17-23, and JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Committee (SPRC) urges you to honor this cornerstone of democracy by participating either through activities shared by Free Speech Week, ones the SPRC developed or by ones your and your students created.

Free Speech Week (FSW) is a yearly event to raise public awareness of the importance of free speech in our democracy – and to celebrate that freedom. As freedom of speech is a right all Americans share, this non-partisan, non-ideological event is intended to be a unifying celebration.

JEA is a partnering organization.

To prepare for FSW, we urge all student media programs to check out the following FSW links now::

  • Examine the resources available at
  • Link to and display the FSW badge on your digital media; download the FSW logo
  • Consider the organization’s lesson plans as listed here
  • Consider becoming a partnering organization through your school or student media. See the FSW for details
  • Plan to help your communities know more about what free speech isand how they can extend its benefits

Additionally, as FSW draws closer, we will share SPRC original or extended activities based on those listed on the FSW site through the listserv and/or on our website at

Check out the site, plan your celebration activities and honor the free speech that makes this country special.

Read More

Illinois civics law reinforces
value of journalism education

Posted by on Sep 18, 2015 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


sprclogoby Stan Zoller, MJE
The successful passage and subsequent signing by Illinois governor Bruce Rauner of legislation that mandates a one-semester civic education course for high school students provides more than ‘just another’ social science course.

It re-enforces the importance of journalism education.

Throughout the process, The Illinois Task Force on Civic Education cited the need for citizens to be civic literate. One way to achieve that? News literacy.

The task force noted that:

“Responsible citizens include individuals who are informed and thoughtful. They have a grasp and an appreciation of history and the fundamental processes of American democracy; have and understand the importance of news literacy; have an understanding and awareness of issues impacting their communities; have a capacity to think critically; and have a willingness to enter into dialogue with others about different points of view and to respect diverse perspectives.”

[pullquote]Quite simply, the skill that is paramount is the ability to critically think the contents of news reports no matter how they are delivered.[/pullquote]

The impact on journalism educators is simple: informed and engaged news consumers need to receive news reports that are independent, free of bias and provide information that is not only accurate, but also verifiable and transparent. The task force noted that a civics education course needs to offer students more than content; its needs to include skills, especially those related to news literacy.

Quite simply, the skill that is paramount is the ability to critically think the contents of news reports no matter how they are delivered.

Does this validate the need for a journalism course? Not solely, but it is a message that administrators need to hear. Ethically produced journalism that embellishes the basic fundamentals of news literacy has a new goal – at least in Illinois – to provide news consumers, as Tom Rosenstiel and Bill Kovach note in “The Elements of Journalism” information that people need to live their lives and to also understand the world. They also write that it needs to be “meaningful, relevant and engaging.”

To achieve this, the need for student reporting to be ethical and adhere to media laws is at a new high. That’s because students, like other news consumers, are no longer just looking to be entertained, but informed so they can become not only active at school, but also in the civic process as well.

Read More