Media Advisers Forum

Few jobs can be more challenging - or more rewarding - than that of the student media adviser. Walking the tightrope between preparing couragous student journalists and satisfying wary school administrators is seldom easy.

Check back here as we add resources and materials to make the life of a media adviser easier.

Have you used an SPLC resource in your classroom or to advise a student publication? If so, let us know what you thought of it. Send your comments to us via our online comment form.

  • FACT: The Fired Adviser Comfort Team
    A resource for media advisers facing questionable termination.

  • Student Media Advisers and the Law
    The SPLC's legal help guide for surviving the toughest job in school.

  • SPLC Tip Sheet for Student Media Advisers: A short list of steps student media advisers should take to fight (and survive) administrative censorship.

  • Press Freedom in Practice, A Manual for Student Media Advisers on Responding to Censorship: Published by the Newspaper Association of America in cooperation with the Student Press Law Center and the Journalism Education Association, this guide provides real-life strategies and educational arguments that can be used to persuade censorship-prone administrators that there is a better way.

  • Working with Administrators: Yes, we can get along. And flourish! As the following articles -- written by current and former school officials -- demonstrate, an independent and responsible student press is an intergral part of a vibrant and effective education system.

    "Stirring the Pot." In an article published in the American School Board Journal, a former high school student newspaper editor -- later elected to his school board -- discusses the value of a robust, free student press in cultivating a healthy, vibrant school district. (Provided here with permission from the author and the National School Boards Association. All Rights Reserved.) (PDF Format - 225K)

    "The Voice of Freedom." An award-winning high school newspaper adviser and his principal share their thoughts about how a student newspaper free from prior review and censorship works at their school in an article reprinted from Principal Leadership magazine. (Reproduced here with permission from the authors and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. All Rights Reserved.) (PDF Format - 448K)

    "Freeing the Student Press for Their Good and Ours." An article published in The School Administrator, a magazine produced by the American Association of School Administrators, in which a superintendent shares her thoughts on the educational value of an independent student press. (Reproduced here with permission from the AASA. All Rights Reserved.) (PDF Format - 74K)

    "I Didn't Always Think Well of the Student Press." An article published in The School Administrator, a magazine produced by the American Association of School Administrators, in which a superintendent shares his thoughts -- and his conversion -- regarding on the importance of a vibrant student press. (Reproduced here with permission from AASA. All Rights Reserved.)(PDF Format - 160K)

  • Test Your Knowledge:
    How media law savvy are your students? Test Your Knowledge of Student Press Law. Before you let your students touch a keyboard, have them take our 30-minute comprehensive test or one of our quick quizzes on libel, invasion of privacy, copyright, cyberlaw, reporter's privilege, press freedom or access law to test their understanding of their rights and responsibilities as high school student journalists. Quiz 1
    It's only 45 words long, but it provides the very foundation on which our free society exits. Test Your Knowledge of the First Amendment. Find out how much your students know about our first freedom by giving them our 10-minute quiz. Quiz 2
  • Media Law Presentations:
    Need help putting together a lesson or workshop on common media law issues faced by high school student journalists? Our series of free, downloadable PowerPoint classroom presentations may be just what you're looking for. Presentations
  • Standards for Journalism Educators
    Written and approved by the Journalism Education Association, advisers can use these standards to show administrators the various tasks and approaches they carry out in their programs. In the spirit of the First Amendment, the guidelines focus on the process of publishing student media not the student product. The guidelines are appropriate for both high school and college-level programs.

  • High School Journalism Program
    The American Society of Newspaper Editor's (ASNE) High School Journalism Program has collected journalism lesson plans and teaching tips shared by teachers across America. Topics range from copyediting to interviewing to advertising to organizing a student publication.

  • Education for Freedom
    Lesson plans produced by the Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center provide a good starting point for a discussion of the history and purpose of the First Amendment.

  • Journalism Ethics Cases Online
    Operated by Indiana University's School of Journalism, this Web site was created for students, teachers, researchers, professional journalists and consumers of news to help them explore ethical issues in journalism. Contains hundreds of cases that raise a variety of ethical problems faced by journalists.

  • Student Media Adviser E-mail Discussion Lists/Professional Associations
    Both College Media Advisers and the Journalism Education Association operate very active listservs that can provide wonderful information and peer support to student media advisers. The College Media Adviser listserv, CMA-L, is intended primarily for college advisers but is open to anyone. Membership in CMA is not required. The JEA listserv, JEAHelp, is for high school student media advisers and is only open to JEA members. In addition, the Columbia Scholastic Press Advisers Association (CSPAA) has useful information for high school media advisers on its Web site.