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Journalism: Love it or leave it

(02/01/14 12:00am)

When professional journalists fail to stand up for the rights of student journalists, it feels to students like a betrayal — like those who themselves suffered censorship have forgotten the disempowering feeling of being distrusted. The word of journalism professionals gives cover to those who censor to deny the public truthful information about their failing schools. When journalists side with censors, that is the side they are taking — the side of lies over truth, the side of less information over more.








What public forum doctrine means for your student publication

(07/31/14 11:40pm)

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hazelwood ruling drew a road map for obtaining heightened First Amendment recognition in student media, hundreds of student publications have attempted to follow it, invoking the incantation “public forum.” Recent legal developments, however, have cast grave doubt on the value and durability of designating a publication — or any piece of government property — as a “forum.”






Nudes you can use: What happens when college news organizations choose to bare it all?

(03/17/15 5:19pm)

Each school year, student newspaper staffs publish nude images. While some argue the images accurately convey a newsworthy event, others are published to be edgy, like at the University of Buffalo, where the student newspaper’s annual sex issue features articles about sexual health and related topics. Often accompanying the articles are sexually explicit images some people argue are unsettling to see in a newspaper.


Under the dome: As professional news outlets vacate state capitols because of budget constraints, student journalists move in to fill the gap

(03/24/15 11:02am)

In four states, student journalists outnumber journalists from professional outlets assigned to the statehouse full-time, where they ensure citizens have access to information about how the state spends their tax dollars and decisions on education, criminal justice and safety regulations.


FERPA defense play: Universities often cite the federal student privacy law to shield athletic scandals

(03/31/15 11:14am)

At the University of Oregon, Vanderbilt University and the University of Montana, FERPA was cited to withhold records and information related to sexual assault allegations. FERPA was even cited at Florida State University to withhold records about Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston, who has been accused of sexual assault in December 2012.


Accessing personnel records: A balancing act between privacy, public’s right to know

(04/08/15 4:54pm)

This article looks at the frustrating obstacles journalists often face in trying to obtain access to personnel-related records from college and schools. While the law sometimes entitles these agencies to withhold highly embarrassing or confidential documents, it’s an oversimplification to say – as many agencies do – that “personnel” is a blanket excuse for denying a public-records request.