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Playing open records games

(05/11/09 12:00am)

The principle behind sunshine laws is simple: Citizens of a democratic nation should be able to find out what decisions are being made by government agencies, including state universities. The reality of using these laws to obtain public documents is much more complex, especially with universities' understaffed offices, reams of paperwork and wariness about releasing anything that might hurt the institution's public image.

Yearbooks not so unlike newspapers

(05/11/09 12:00am)

The student newspaper focuses on public events and issues. The literary magazine centers on young artists and poets. The student yearbook, however, encompasses every facet of the high school community. Although each of these publications differs in content, all of them typically fall under the same student publication policy set by school administrators. The role of the yearbook, however, can be a confusing one for teachers and administrators, who sometimes fail to treat the yearbook as deserving the same level of journalistic independence as a newspaper.

Talking politics on campus

(05/11/09 12:00am)

During the year marking the 40th anniversary of the landmark Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District decision that gave high school students the right to free speech inside the schoolhouse gates, controversy surrounding another historic event ' the election of President Barack Obama ' put Tinker's promise of free speech under strain.

Emotional coverage

(05/11/09 12:00am)

On Dec. 1 of last year, the University of Washington's Daily doubled the usual size of its Monday edition, but none of the extra column inches included staff-member bylines. Instead, seven full pages were dedicated to reader letters in response to a column printed the prior week.