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Georgia State couldn't be sued for walking away from WRAS deal with GPB

(06/24/14 12:00pm)

One story we've been following very closely here is the controversy surrounding the fate of Georgia State University's student-run radio station. After negotiating for years in secret, Georgia State University entered into an agreement (let's not use the word contract, just yet) with Georgia Public Broadcasting to give the latter organization 14 hours of daytime analog signal, depriving WRAS students of an educational opportunity and the community of a 42-year tradition of original music.

Appeals court upholds judge’s decision to toughen Miami student's probation after interview with student newspaper

(06/23/14 12:00pm)

In retrospect, a Miami student’s interview with a reporter — in which he described his threat to kill the president as “pretty funny” — was ill-advised, considering he’d expressed remorse to a judge only a month earlier at a probation hearing.The resulting newspaper article in The Reporter, the Miami Dade College’s student newspaper, prompted a judge to toughen Joaquin Serrapio’s probation because “the original conditions were not sufficient to accomplish the purposes of probation.” The modifications included eight more months in home confinement and 45 days in a halfway house.Serrapio appealed the increased sanctions because he believed “that these modifications violated his rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and the First Amendment.” In a ruling handed down last week though, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s modified probation as constitutional.

Teachers, professors can speak more confidently after Supreme Court protects whistleblower's rights

(06/22/14 12:00pm)

The Supreme Court has taken a step -- whether it's a giant step or a baby step is yet to be seen -- toward restoring sensible First Amendment protection for teachers, professors and other government employees who blow the whistle on wrongdoing they learn about on the job.Thursday's 9-0 ruling in Lane v. Franks protects government workers against firing, demotion or other retaliatory action for speech addressing matters of public concern, even if those matters relate to the speakers' work responsibilities.Edward Lane brought the case after he was fired from Central Alabama Community College in 2009, a decision that suspiciously followed his testimony that helped convict an Alabama state legislator of defrauding the taxpayers for holding down a no-show "job" in Lane's department at CACC.

Meet Beatriz Costa-Lima, one of SPLC's summer interns

(06/03/14 12:00pm)

I’m Beatriz Costa-Lima, one of SPLC’s summer interns. I’m a junior at the University of Missouri majoring in convergence photojournalism.After years of art school, I thought I was going to be a painter. But I discovered journalism in high school and I found that I preferred notepads and DSLRs to canvases and oil paints.For over five years I worked in some kind of student media. Most recently I worked at The Maneater student newspaper as city, state and nation editor and as a senior staff photographer, writer and designer.

Supreme Court knocks down barrier insulating unconstitutional statutes against challenge

(06/16/14 12:00pm)

Justice Clarence Thomas, who famously insists that young people have no more rights than houseplants, just rescued students from a potentially devastating ruling making it nearly impossible to challenge an unconstitutional restraint on speech.In a 9-0 opinion authored by Thomas, the Supreme Court decided Monday that a would-be speaker can bring a First Amendment claim against a statute penalizing speech without having to wait to suffer the punishment.The Court's unanimous opinion overturns an errant decision from the Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal, which departed from First Amendment precedent in ruling that a speaker could challenge a restraint on speech only by incurring the punishment or proving that punishment was imminent.

Neshaminy newspaper adviser named Pennsylvania journalism teacher of the year

(06/11/14 12:00pm)

The last few months for the students of Neshaminy High School’s The Playwickian haven’t been easy. As the student staff has fought administrators for editorial control, their adviser Tara Huber has stood behind them at every step. Tuesday night, Huber found out she was being named Journalism Teacher of the Year by the Pennsylvania High School Press Association.“It makes it worth continuing to fight the good fight,” Huber said.In October, the staff announced they wouldn’t use the word Redskin – the school’s mascot – because they say it’s a racial slur. Administrators pushed back and demanded students print it.

Takeaway of study on credentialing practices could have implications on students

(06/06/14 12:00pm)

Amid recent discussions of media credentialing processes, student journalists have largely been left out of the conversation. A survey released Thursday titled “Who Gets a Press Pass? Media Credentialing Practices in the United States” shed light on patterns in journalists’ experiences acquiring press passes from 2008 to 2013.One in five journalists has had a credential request denied, according to the survey released by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.The survey freelance journalists were twice as likely to be denied credentials than journalists employed full-time by a new organization. However, finding out where exactly student journalists fall within these patterns isn’t entirely clear.

Meet Dani Kass, one of SPLC's summer interns

(06/03/14 12:00pm)

Hi there! I'm Dani Kass, one of the new interns at SPLC. I just graduated from the University of Missouri – Columbia in May with degrees in journalism and Russian. I'm passionate about transparency and accountability, and I get way too excited to dig through public records and mine data. I can't wait to bring that passion to covering student press rights.Most recently I worked at The Columbia Missourian, where I covered the wrongful conviction case of Ryan Ferguson, who was released from prison nearly a decade after being convicted of murder, and a homicide at a Veterans Hospital that ended in an insanity plea. I also used data to debunk theories about rising crime.Between reporting shifts, I worked in the resource room at Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc., uploading contest entries, helping fill requests from reporters and finding stories for the Extra Extra blog. I'll also be working at their conference in June. Come say hi if you'll be there!