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New look, new features, same values -- hello, world, and welcome to SPLC 2.0

(08/25/10 8:31am)

Do not adjust your set. Your bookmarks are not deceiving you. You’ve arrived at the new-and-much-improved online home of the Student Press Law Center, your destination for news, information and teaching materials about the law of gathering and distributing information – in all forms, across all media. The SPLC spent 2009 gathering input from hundreds of students, educators and other users of SPLC services.

Need public records? Spare the hearts and flowers - it's the fist that gets results

(08/02/10 2:05pm)

Arizona journalism professor David Cuillier is kind of the Johnny Appleseed of open government. He recently completed a 33-state national tour, sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, to spread the gospel of public records to anyone who'd listen.

McCormick protocol forces schools to confront the educational costs of censorship

(08/13/10 4:26pm)

On a snowy February day at Chicago's Cantigny Park, the McCormick Foundation brought together 50 experts -- teachers, lawyers, school administrators, students -- with a blank easel pad and a mission: to fix the flawed way that schools oversee what students publish. Far too many school districts impose retaliatory governance policies over student media in crisis-hysteria mode (or punishment mode) without careful deliberation.

Former Northwestern student journalist wins significant reporter's privilege victory

(08/23/10 8:59am)

A former student journalist at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism does not have to reveal documents or give testimony about her investigative reporting that helped free a wrongfully convicted man from prison, a federal judge has ruled. The ruling in favor of Carolyn Nielsen -- who now teaches journalism at Western Washington University in Bellingham -- is significant because it recognizes no distinction between the ability of a student journalist versus a professional journalist to claim the protection of the reporter's privilege. The case involves a lawsuit by Thaddeus Jimenez, who was freed from prison in May 2009 -- after serving 16 years of a 45-year sentence -- with the help of a Northwestern University legal clinic and evidence gathered by Nielsen in her reporting.

Virginia alcohol advertising ban could be Supreme Court-bound

(08/26/10 8:55am)

Two college newspapers are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a federal appeals-court ruling that upheld a Virginia regulation restricting what advertisers can say about alcoholic beverages in student publications. Virginia Tech’s Collegiate Times and the University of Virginia’s Cavalier Daily, represented by counsel from the ACLU, filed a petition Aug.

Back to School Checklist: Evaluating your staff’s ‘media-law radar’

(08/31/10 7:13pm)

For better or worse, knowledge of the law continues to be an ever-growing part of the skill set required of all journalists, including students. One fairly quick -- and mostly painless/sometimes entertaining -- way to check how much your students/staff know about media law as they head back to the newsroom is to direct them to the SPLC's Test Your Knowledge of Student Media Law quiz series.