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Getting everyone on the side of quality journalism

Posted by on Sep 28, 2014 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Hazelwood, Legal issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 1 comment


by Matt Smith,  Adviser, Cardinal Columns
Fond du Lac High School

sprclogoOn August 25, the Fond du Lac Board of Education gave the official go-ahead for student publications at Fond du Lac High School to begin the new school year operating under new publication guidelines that scrap last year’s policy of administrative prior review.

The new guidelines are not the end of the journey (the language could be more consistent in designating the paper as a public forum for student expression and would be more protective if it was incorporated more directly into actual school board policy), but they are a huge step forward.

Students will no longer submit their work to the principal for approval prior to publication. They will also have the benefit of the more powerful learning and critical thinking development that comes with taking more responsibility for the quality journalism that they produce. The biggest benefit of all, however, may have come from the mere act of finally getting together all the stakeholders involved to craft the new guidelines.

The fact we got students and teachers and administrators and district staff (and eventually the superintendent and board of education and other community members) talking constructively about the importance and practice of journalism in our school was truly powerful.

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JEA listed among key ethics and media law resources

Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Legal issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


JEA has been listed as a part of key media law and ethics resources by journalism titled 100 Key Ethics & Media Law Resources for Journalists.

“Modern journalists, and anyone else working in the media, have thorny ethical issues to contend with,” Kara James wrote in a letter notifying JEA president Mark Newton of the compilation. “The sites,organizations and articles listed here are good places for journalists (or journalism students) to learn more about the legal and ethical landscape of their field.”

The site for the compilation is .

Among other organizations listed include:
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Society of Professional journalists Ethics Handbook
 Nieman Journalism lab

JEA’s link is to the general website. Other JEA links would include the Press Rights Commission and the law and ethics curriculum for JEA members.

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Why we keep harping about prior review

Posted by on Oct 8, 2013 in Blog, Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching, Uncategorized | 0 comments


by Kathy Schrier
At the conclusion of our summer student journalism workshop here in Washington state, we asked for student feedback and one student wrote: “We spent too much time hearing about prior review…”

I have to concede that this year’s summer workshop was, in fact, heavy on talk of the dangers posed by administrative prior review. It was inevitable. Workshop presenters included four members of the SPRC (Carrie Faust, Vince DeMiero, Fern Valentine and me); and special guest presenters included Mike Hiestand, consulting attorney for the Student Press Law Center (SPLC), and Brian Schraum, former SPLC Publications Fellow.

The student’s question was valid, causing me to pause and wonder if, in our deep concern for this issue, we don’t sometimes cross the line into overkill territory. If a student attends one of our workshops to learn more about how to use fonts effectively, should we force that student to worry about prior review?

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Prior review, censorship have no educational value: resolutions

Posted by on Apr 15, 2013 in Blog, Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching, Uncategorized | 0 comments


The Journalism Education Association today reaffirmed its opposition to prior review, prior restraint and their use under the guidelines established in the Hazelwood decision.hazelwoodcolor

JEA’s board of directors unanimously took this stand as it voted to endorse a resolution by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication that said, in part, “the Hazelwood level of control over student journalistic speech is clearly incompatible with the effective teaching of journalistic skills, values and practices, and that institutions of secondary and postsecondary education should forswear reliance on Hazelwood as a source of authority for the governance of student and educator expression.”

JEA’s resolution differed slightly from the AEJMC model as it focused more directly on scholastic journalism.

“This resolution is important for two reasons,” JEA president Mark Newton said. “Anytime we can partner with our college colleagues in AEJMC it shows incredible solidarity. And, most importantly, as the leading scholastic journalism education group, we must stand tall and scream at injustice. Make no mistake the Hazelwood Supreme Court decision and its subsequent interpretations are an injustice to education, students, advisers and the First Amendment.”

The JEA resolution states, in part: “The Journalism Education Association (JEA) joins with the Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in stating that no legitimate pedagogical purpose is served by the censorship of student journalism on the grounds that it reflects unflatteringly on school policies and programs, that it candidly discusses sensitive social and political issues, or that it voices opinions challenging to majority views on matters of public concern. The censorship of such speech, or the punishment of media advisers based on that speech, is detrimental to effective learning and teaching, and it cannot be justified by reference to “pedagogical concerns.”

Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, said, “Because Hazelwood requires schools to present a justification for censorship that is “’legitimate’ and is based on “pedagogical” concerns, the consensus of the nation’s journalism professors as to what constitutes a legitimate educational reason for censorship should carry persuasive value with judges.”

In a second resolution, also passed unanimously, JEA endorsed an Illinois Journalism Education Association resolution had three major points:
• that the Illinois Journalism Education Association urges school district and school administrators to preserve, enhance and support independent student media; and
• the Illinois Journalism Education Association supports and defends media advisers and strongly urges the end of random reassignment or removal of advisers without due cause, and
• the Illinois Journalism Education Association applauds and staunchly defends the efforts of journalism educators for providing students the skills and education to produce free, responsible and independent student media.

“In any way possible,” Newton said, “JEA has an obligation to support advisers whose jobs and livelihoods are targeted for advocating and supporting student freedom of expression. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to have such a resolution like the one IJEA has written. However, it’s quite apparent that we have a lot of work to do to not only raise awareness, but take one further step to making sure advisers know that we support them, their students and their programs.”

JEA’s Hazelwood resolution can be downloaded here. The Illinois resolution here. The AEJMC resolution here.

JEA’s press rights commission will announce the next step  in the resolution process within a couple of days.

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A Teacher’s Kit for curing Hazelwood

Posted by on Jan 7, 2013 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, Legal issues, News, Projects, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


by Megan Fromm
January 13, 2013, we commemorate a bittersweet milestone in scholastic publications history: the 1988 Supreme Court ruling in Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier. This decision institutionalized censorship in most public schools in America, and our students have been publishing in its shadow ever since.


This month, JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Commission seeks to re-engage teachers, students, administrators and local media in a discussion about Hazelwood’s deleterious effects on civic education and scholastic journalism. Similarly, the Student Press Law Center’s “Cure Hazelwood” campaign is aimed at making the public aware of Hazelwood’s ill effects on our nation’s schools. Together, we hope to encourage administrators and policymakers to reconsider a stifling decision that has long plagued our education system.

We hope you will use, during the coming weeks, our Teacher Kit with resources, lesson plans, and calls to action to energize your students and staffs to learn more about—and ultimately take action against— Hazelwood.

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