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Apply to join 45words –
join students who can make a difference

Posted by on Apr 20, 2013 in Hazelwood, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching, Uncategorized | 0 comments


Members of the initial group of 45words student partners distribute pins and information about the importance of free expression at a recent JEA/NSPA convention.

What 45 words are we talking about?

Glad you asked.

Journalism Education Association’s Scholastic Press Rights Commission created Student Partners as a way to help students connect with their peers to support, protect and spread awareness about the First Amendment.

Students represent schools from around the nation.

See comments from Megan Morris, one the first 45words students, here.

In addition to planning and hosting press rights events at local, state and national conventions, the team will contact schools reporting censorship and offer assistance. The 45 words team can be followed on Twitter at The Facebook group is 45words.

If you go to, you’ll find the 45words blog, written by the Student Partners, and resources relating to censorship fights and bios of each Student Partner, should you wish to contact us individually. Comment, Facebook message, tweet or, if you want to go old-school, e-mail us if you have a question about censorship. We’re here to help!

Here’s the link to the live application form (Deadline May 20, 2013): or If you go here, you can find a link to the application page on the 45words site.

Hope to hear from you soon.

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Meet the Press Rights student partners

Posted by on May 3, 2010 in Blog, News | 0 comments


Thanks to JEA member Bryan Farley, you can see the kick-off of the Scholastic Press Rights Commission Student Partners project. His blog, “More Than Kids: Understanding People Through Photography,” includes links to photos of the group’s booth at the Portland convention.

Three of the high school students able to attend the convention were Ted Noelker (Central Focus, managing editor of multimedia) of Francis Howell Central High School, St. Charles, Mo.; Zoe Newcomb (The Broadview, news editor) of Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, San Francisco; and Meghan Morris (The Spoke, assistant managing editor) of Conestoga High School, Berwyn, Pa.

These three spent time at the booth, talking to other students and letting them know about their 45words initiative, which is designed to support their peers when it comes to First Amendment issues. They also promoted their Editor’s Emergency Toolkit.

Other student partners are Morgan Brewster (The Mustang Express, multimedia editor) of Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria, Ariz.; Christopher Kim (The Tiger Times and Kaleidoscope, copy editor) of Seoul International School, Seoul, Korea; Zachary Knudson (The Crier, managing editor) from St. Francis (Minn.) High School; Sara Rogers (The Hi-Lite, cover story editor) from Carmel (Ind.) High School; and Joseph Weber (The Kirkwood Call, features writer) Kirkwood (Mo.) High School.

Already members of the group have reached out to students at schools facing censorship and prior review situations, offering support and suggestions. They plan to host a booth at the JEA/NSPA Kansas City convention in November. In the meantime, follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

Also enjoy Farley’s blog post about the First Amendment. I don’t know how he does it, but he does. (And you’ll have to read the blog to understand what that means….)

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My first SJW has been amazing!

Posted by on Feb 25, 2010 in Blog, News | 0 comments


I’m ashamed to admit this is the first Scholastic Journalism Week I’ve ever participated in during my five years of teaching, but what an experience it has been so far … and one I will be repeating annually until I retire.

I don’t say that because I’ve had some sort of life-altering experience or even one big thing that has changed the way I look at my job or the First Amendment or scholastic journalism.

Instead, it’s been a bit of a slow steady trickle of little things. Monday I asked my students to just fill out a little sheet about why they love newspaper or yearbook. And while I did learn who was just as sarcastic as I am, I also learned some really nice things about why students love scholastic journalism.

Tuesday was a work night for my newspaper staff. I had students who were there from 2:20 until 9 p.m. on a day when the paper wasn’t going to bed the next day. I spoke to an AP history class about the importance of journalism and journalists being free of bias and the general state of the media. A nice little discussion that popped up out of the blue.

Wednesday was a nice day of little triumphs as well. The Student Partners – follow them on Facebook or at – are starting to really get some stuff done. My newspaper staff made the decision to jump a 2,000 word profile on a wrestling champion from our newspaper to our website, an interesting decision in our new little world of scholastic journalism. The yearbook and newspaper kids started Facebook fan and friend drives to increase the reach of their groups. I personally was able to contribute eight new people to our drive in about the span of three minutes. Students on each staff sent thank you notes to the people they interact with most in the course of your duties – and I got great feedback from those people through e-mails. And finally, a photojournalism student told me I was her favorite teacher … in front of another one of her teachers. Nice!

And that was just me. Karen Barrett, up in Wheeling, Ill., told us Wednesday of the great things her students did to help keep one of her introductory classes. Sarah Nichols tweeted some photos of her staff participating in Chad Rummel’s Bring It Day that he shared on the listserv – I’m using it too, my editors love it! – and Aaron Manfull posted some interesting numbers on about web traffic from scholastic news websites from around the country. I’m still trying to figure out what those numbers mean to my newspaper staff, but they are a nice instrument to have and enable us to kind of compare what we are doing on the web. Carrie Faust put the smack down on some ignorant folks out in Ventura, Calif. in the comments section of a story about some parents who were attacking the student journalists who conducted a survey about sex in their high school.

I’m positive I’ve missed some great things that you all, my colleagues, have experienced this week. Share what you’ve been for SJW in the comments section of this post. They don’t have to be huge deals, it’s those little victories that keep us going.

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First reactions not always the right one

Posted by on Jan 20, 2010 in Blog, News | 0 comments


Upon reading the story John posted above, my first reaction was one of sadness, probably with a dash of anger thrown in.
I’m not sure why. I think maybe it was because some students who were practicing journalism at a very high level were going to no longer have that chance. Or maybe my initial reaction was that the wrong side had prevailed.
But quickly, that reaction transformed to a reaction of pride.
Knowing that these students were courageous enough to forsake something they obviously hold very dear to their heart for the sake of principles. Former editor Pam Selman’s quote says it all:
“I’d rather practice no journalism than journalism that doesn’t follow with my ethics and what I believe in.”
So while my heart and mind are somewhat saddened that five editors will no longer get to practice – at least under the auspices of their high school – something they love, both heart and mind are buoyed by the fact that are still students around our country who are willing to stand up for those 45 words most of us on this blog hold dear. The fact that these students were able to leave student journalism at Stevenson on their terms, able to believe they have done right by themselves and their readers is no small victory.
As SPRC looks to launch its new Student Partners initiative, this is one of the many types of student we are hoping apply to work with us, because to promote our goals, we need students who hail from all backgrounds and regions of the country. We need students who are passionate about student journalism and the 1st Amendment. That means we want writers and photographers and designers. Copy editors and ad managers. Section editors and staff reporters. Those with experience battling censorship and those without.
Most of all, like the students at Stevenson, we need students who are willing to stand up for what they believe is correct and who are willing to sacrifice and fight for those 45 words we journalists hold most dear.

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