Year in review: Student media legal issues
The end of the year is a time for reflection, and that's prompted us to look back at stories we've published this year detailing the legal issues facing student journalists across the country. In 2013:
- The ruling in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier turned 25 years old. SPLC has chronicled the impact of the ruling on our "Cure Hazelwood" website. Mary Beth Tinker, of the famed Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District case, and Mike Hiestand, the SPLC's project attorney, set off in September to talk with students in 19 states about free speech and their First Amendment rights.
- Students have petitioned for changes to policies with which they disagree: California students protested a social media contract that said students could be punished for "inappropriate" social media posts and Pennsylvania editors challenged their principal's order that they use the word "Redskins."
- Student editors have been suspended from their jobs (Florida A&M University and Grambling State University), faced disciplinary investigations (State University of New York at Brockport, Florida Atlantic University), criminal charges (Ohio University) and defended themselves against subpoenas (Saratoga High School), search warrants (Northwest Missouri State University) and libel lawsuits (St. Michael's College and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater).
- Student and professional reporters have had trouble getting access to public records, well, almost everywhere: University of Wyoming, University of Maryland, North Carolina, University of Central Florida, Indiana University Southeast, University of Oklahoma, University System of Georgia, University of Oregon, Michigan's Hastings Area School System, Pennsylvania's "state-related" institutions, South Dakota State University, State University of New York at Oswego and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. (On a positive note, public records helped student journalists at Shaker Heights High School break a story about an on-campus sexual assault before the pros.)
All told, SPLC published stories and blog posts about issues in 43 states. To explore all our stories, view the map below that was compiled by Samantha Sunne: