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Fake or Fact? seminar available
via live-streaming, archived video

Posted by on Sep 17, 2017 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Lessons, News, Teaching | 0 comments


Looking for additional materials for Constitution Day and lessons about fake news  in addition to what’s available from JEA and the SPRC?

The 13th annual Poynter-Kent State University Media Ethics Workshop is Thursday, Sept. 21, and focuses on fake news. The theme is “Fake or Fact?”

Details about the workshop, including speaker bios and a tentative schedule, are here.

A lesson plan for scholastic students, created by Candace Bowen, is available on the site.

The event is on the record, live streamed and archived. Show your students panel discussions as the happen or return to them by accessing the archives.

The keynote speaker will be NPR’s David Folkenflik, NPR media correspondent who is now featured in Netflix’s documentary “Nobody Speak.”

Other sessions will address fake news and journalism credibility, fake news and the 2016 election, how to identify and combat fake news, and fake news and public relations. Kelly McBride, Poynter’s VP, will be present, along with Indira Lakshmanan, who is Poynter’s new ethics chair.

You may recognize Indira as the Boston Globe’s Washington columnist who is frequently on PBS’s Washington Week and other political news shows.


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Tinker Tour theme opens at OSMA

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching, Uncategorized | 0 comments


MBT-60sAs Gabby, the Tinker Tour bus, wheeled into town for a stop at Kent State University Oct. 1, we became aware of another way to celebrate Mary Beth Tinker, Mike Hiestand and the myriad of student journalists, their advisers and families who endorse and support the idea that the Constitution and the right of free expression applies to students.


The Tinker Tour Theme Song.

With lyrics and music created by SPLC Executive Director Frank LoMonte, performed by California’s Carlsbad High School Chamber Singers, filmed and edited by the school’s television students, the song premiered  immediately following Tinker’s keynote presentation at the Ohio Scholastic Media Association’s Region 1 Conference.

Interact with the Tinker Tour on Twitter @tinkertour and follow them online here.



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Starting the dialogue with your principal

Posted by on Aug 14, 2011 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


It’s often tough, that’s for sure, but keeping the lines of communication open with your principal is vital. It may mean the difference between the sudden imposition of prior review or having the chance to explain how your students weighed the pros and cons before deciding to run that controversial article.

There’s probably no better time to start the dialogue than the beginning of the school year. Everyone is optimistic about what’s to come, full of ideas and possibilities. Sometimes the principal is even new to the building and needs to know what you and your students are all about.

With that in mind, participants at each year’s ASNE High School Journalism Institute at Kent State have written letters to take back to their principals — or to have me, as Institute director, send along with one of my own. It offers them a chance to share what they have learned in their two-week workshop and to show their administrators the value of allowing students to make the content decisions.

This year’s group included a teacher who isn’t going back to a classroom this fall. Megan Fromm, a journalism teacher and media adviser in Maryland up until this fall, was moving and wouldn’t have a staff of her own or a principal to understand the process. But Megan understands it — an alum of an award-winning newspaper program in Colorado, a new addition to the JEA Scholastic Press Rights Commission and a top-notch teacher. So…her letter for this Institute assignment is for YOU. It’s designed to be something you can tweak and adapt, if need be, or simply fill in the blanks and use for your own principal.

Thanks for the useful letter, Megan, and good luck to all who use it.



Dear [Mr./Mrs./Dr.__insert principal name here______],

With a fresh school year upon us, I wanted to take a few moments to share my vision for [INSERT PROPER NAME/DESCRIPTION] department this year.  The start of each fall brings a rush of enthusiasm from students and faculty, and I’m excited to capitalize on that momentum and take our program to even greater heights.

I believe strongly that journalism, as a discipline, embodies so many of the skills we seek to impart to our students across the curriculum.  Research, writing, editing, clarity, accuracy, and critical thinking are just a few of the skills journalism emphasizes.  This year, I’d like to highlight an equally important aspect of journalism—and I think you could be a tremendous resource.  As educators, we all seek to provide our students the awareness, understanding and healthy skepticism necessary to compete and succeed in a democratic society.  What’s more, we all hope that our students will move beyond awareness and develop a desire for civic responsiveness.  That’s where you come in.

This year, I’d like to push my journalism students to think beyond the walls of the classroom.  I’d like for them not only to learn critical thinking skills but also to master ethical decision-making practices they can take with them into adulthood.  To do this, they’ll need to stretch their comfort levels in many ways.  They’ll need to rethink what topics they cover in the student newspaper, how they approach their sources, and how they present information to our student body.  They’ll need to take off their student hats more often and pick up their reporter’s notebooks, looking for stories around every corner and stopping only when they have the best, most accurate information to share.

This won’t be easy, and it won’t happen without a few stumbles along the way. But if you think this sounds like a worthwhile pursuit, I’d love to talk more about my specific ideas and the support structures I’ll have in place to make it happen in a way that is best for the students.  Thank you for your time, and I look forward to working with you for another great year.


Adviser/Journalism teacher

Note: Teachers, please feel free to modify this letter as you see fit. It should reflect a tone and intent you would feel comfortable using with your principal.  Also, if your school mission reflects some of the ideas presented above, adding some phrases verbatim could also be helpful in beginning a thoughtful discussion with your administration.


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Ethics workshop available Sept. 16 via streaming video

Posted by on Sep 13, 2010 in Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication will host the Poynter Kent State Media Ethics Workshop Thursday, Sept. 16, available as streaming video as well as live.

The event also will be available to viewers on mobile devices. All participants can contribute to the workshop discussions and ask questions of speakers via Twitter.

Workshop information is posted at the Next Ethics site now. Your and your students can access the streaming video at the same site Thursday.

Participants include Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post, Adrian Holovaty, developer of EveryBlock, Paul Steiger of Pro Publica and others.

Questions for discussion and lesson plans for scholastic journalism programs will be available starting Wednesday. There are also links to similar programs from the last two years. Additional lesson plans will be available next week and will be based on workshop sessions.

Event coordinator and assistant professor Jan Leach said scholastic journalists can benefit from participating no matter what media they use now, or might in the future.

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Just what are they teaching?

Posted by on Jan 31, 2010 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News | 0 comments


When members of the Churchill County Education Association in Fallon, Nev. thought an article in the high school student newspaper made a teacher look bad, their reaction wasn’t very educationally sound: They wanted administrators to censor the publication.

Lauren MacLean’s article in The Flash covered a controversy over audition tapes for the state honor choir and parental concern with the music teacher who, they claim,  was to have sent them. Mark Goodman, Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism at Kent State, who wrote about this in the Center for Scholastic Journalism blog, has seen the article and reports, “It is student journalism at its best: fact-based, not inflammatory, insightful, relevant.  It simply gives readers the facts and lets them reach their own conclusions.”

Jerry Ceppos, dean of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada and former executive editor of the San Jose Mercury News, also expressed his concern. On the Web site for the Reno Gazette-Journal, Ceppos suggested the teachers’ union needed the colorful, two-story-tall banner now hanging in his school with the 45 words in the First Amendment sewn into it.

Luckily, no one censored anything. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, MacLean’s article was to run Friday. Its editorial concluded, “But in the little town of Fallon, a welcome spark of freedom now shines. Taking the more courageous and principled course, Mr. Lords (the principal) and Ms. Ross (the superintendent) — and young Lauren MacLean — did well.”

Should we be bothered that the superintendent told Ceppos both she and the principal read the article before publication? Maybe that’s material for another blog.

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