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Stories students can best tell:
Reporting protests, walkouts and marches

Posted by on Mar 29, 2018 in Blog, Featured, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


Between March 14 and March 24, the SPRC shared legal and ethical guidelines as well as coverage suggestions for reporting walkouts, protests and marches.

Because the topics are still ongoing and current, we’re loading all of our advice under one banner, for your convenience.

If you have other questions or examples of coverage you would like to share here, please submit them through the comments section below.

We intend to add material as needed or available.

Students, join movement to make change: Mary Beth Tinker
Legal issues in covering protests
Tips for reporting protests
Tips of audio reporting of protests, walkouts
Plan and pack for social media coverage of protests
More than a march: a civics lesson and a wake-up call
SPRC package offers  insights for reporting protests, marches
Reporting stories student journalists can best tell

Shared materials 

• Eric Garner shared this collaborative documentary created by the students of WMSD-TV at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, as well as students and alum from schools across the country. It covers the days after the incident as the school begins the rebuilding, and healing, process.

• Coverage by Harker School of San Jose and San Francisco student marches.

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Reflections on the Dallas convention

Posted by on Nov 26, 2017 in Blog, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


by Cyndi Hyatt
Everything really
is BIG in Texas.

And the 2017 JEA/NSPA convention in Dallas was no exception. More than 5,000 attendees celebrated student journalism.  I was awed and inspired by the BIG voices of the student journalists whose passion and enthusiasm for what they do is more important than ever.

The Dallas conference was full of students from California to Pennsylvania, from Texas to Minnesota, who love student media and who understand the importance of being able to use their voices. Student journalists inquire and investigate; they initiate and sometimes they irritate (especially those who find the truth uncomfortable and threatening), but they enthusiastically find and tell stories that are engaging and important to not only fellow students but to us all.

Look at the Pittsburg Six from the Booster Redux newspaper in Kansas whose investigative initiative led to discovering their high school principal falsified her credentials. They are a perfect example of BIG student journalists at their best: their weeks-long investigation and subsequent story led to the resignation of their new principal.

What a difference their voices made.  

In Dallas students gathered at sessions to hone their skills and to learn from the pros, advisers and even fellow student journalists. They attended sessions on photojournalism, interviewing, writing, reporting and converging.  Even more importantly, they learned how to be ethical with their voices and about what they can say without administrative interference. At the end of the conference they left bolstered with new and sharpened skills and a strengthened inspiration for telling stories and telling them well.

Student journalists: continue to GO BIG with your voices. And never forget the 45 words that protect you and allow you to keep your voices healthy and loud, alive and proud.

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What our tech-savvy kids don’t know

Posted by on Nov 28, 2016 in Blog, Ethical Issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 1 comment


by Candace Bowen, MJE
Foundations_mainThey may be digital natives with instincts that allow them to use the latest app and easily share photos and video on social media platforms, but when it comes to evaluating information they access on the web, those from middle school through college aren’t nearly as knowledgeable as some might think.

In fact, they can’t tell an ad from a news story or hate group propaganda from factual material from a respected news outlet. In fact, the Stanford History Education Group described students’ reasoning ability when it comes to Internet information as “bleak.”

The group’s 18-month project, “Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning,” looked at “the ability to judge the credibility of information that floods young people’s smartphones, tablets and computers.”

From January 2015 to June 2016, the researchers developed and administered assessments to 7,804 students in 12 states, from inner-city LA to suburban Minneapolis, and at six different universities from those with tough admission standards to state schools that accept most applicants.

[pullquote]As the group’s recently released report states, “For every challenge facing this nation, there are scores of websites pretending to be something they are not. Ordinary people once relied on publishers, editors, and subject matter experts to vet the information they consumed. But on the unregulated Internet, all bets are off.”[/pullquote]

As the group’s recently released report states, “For every challenge facing this nation, there are scores of websites pretending to be something they are not. Ordinary people once relied on publishers, editors, and subject matter experts to vet the information they consumed. But on the unregulated Internet, all bets are off.”

To get an idea of just how much these students really know about the Internet, the researchers tested their understanding of a range of information that appears on social media and other Internet venues. For instance, they showed middle school students “sponsored content” and news articles to see if they could recognize an ad. They showed high school students studying about gun laws a chart from a gun owners’ political action committee to see if they would accept it at face value. And they showed college students a tweet to see if they might use it as an eventual source in an article.

Perhaps even more intriguing – especially for education nerds – are the sample questions the report contains, along with a rubric for each and sample responses that show mastery (the student answers correctly and provides coherent reasoning for the response), emerging (the student answers correctly but provides limited or incoherent reasoning) and beginning (the student answers incorrectly).

The results the group reports are indeed bleak, but this shows the kind of media literacy journalism teachers might be able to help promote. Much of it deals with concepts we teach all the time: “Question Authority.” And of course there’s “verify” and “be transparent.” At least we hope our students would do better on this group’s assessment.

Also, the report ends with “Next Steps,” which include a promise to pilot lesson plans to use with these assessments and an awareness of the problem that is far worse than the researchers originally thought.

“Many assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally savvy about what they find there. Our work shows the opposite,” the researchers say. They hope to produce web videos to show how digital literacy is vital for a country like ours that relies on an informed electorate.

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