Presentations & Handouts

Everyone with Internet access is at least potentially a "publisher," and everyone needs to know a little about the legal and ethical issues that accompany gathering and distributing information, whether in print, over the airwaves, or online. These SPLC reference materials can be useful tools for self-study, or for teaching a class in journalism, media law, media literacy or civics.

Know Your Rights Handouts

The SPLC's media lawyers address the "greatest hits" from college and high school journalists, from freedom-of-information to protecting confidential sources.

Lesson Plans

This new and regularly updated series, "Learning from the Headlines," will help you use recent news events to spark classroom discussion, and demonstrate how legal principles are at work every day in the newsroom and out in the field.


Learning from the headlines: Gizmodo and illegally obtained material

After an Apple engineer accidentally left a yet-to-be-released iPhone 4G in a restaurant, paid $5,000 for the phone so that it could review and write about it. Police got a search warrant and raided the Gizmodo blogger's home, but Gizmodo challenged the seizure. This lesson explores the reporter's privilege and the legal issues involved with publishing illegally obtained information. Read more

Learning from the headlines: Reporter's privilege and shield laws

In 2009, a San Francisco student journalist was taking photos for a journalism class project when a fatal shooting broke out nearby. The student journalist used California's reporter shield law to challenge a police search warrant and the seizing of his cameras and other equipment. This lesson plan explores state shield laws and how they apply to student journalists. Read more

Learning from the headlines: World Press Freedom Day 2011

In April 2011, the Student Press Law Center joined 39 of America's leading journalism and free-speech groups in calling attention to the lack of press freedoms in American schools and colleges in light of the annual World Press Freedom Day. This lesson explores the importance of press freedom in the U.S. and around the world. Read more

Learning from the headlines: Video games and the Supreme Court

At the end of its 2011 term, the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a California law that made it a crime to sell kids under 18 video games that contain extreme, realistic violence against human figures. The lesson explores the Court's decision and its implications on free speech for students. Read more

PowerPoint Presentations

The PowerPoint presentations below cover some of the most common media law issues faced by high school student journalists. Produced by the Student Press Law Center's legal staff, these introductory level presentations are intended for classroom or workshop use and provide students (and their advisers) with an easy-to-follow, practical guide for understanding and avoiding the problems most often confronted by high school student media. Each is accompanied by a set of teachers' presentation notes in PDF-format that includes slide images and a presentation script.


Media Law Presentation: Press Law

This presentation provides a brief overview of the "Big 6" legal issues confronted by high school student journalists: censorship, libel, invasion of privacy, copyright, access to records and meetings, reporter's privilege. Read more