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Campus Progress national conference discusses the changing world of journalism

(07/10/09 7:16pm)

This week I attended the Campus Progress National Conference, where panelists and guest speakers weighed in on some issues surrounding media and student press. Campus Progress, part of the Center for American Progress, works to help young people, including journalists, speak out on the issues they care about.

Death By Cheeseburger book available again

(07/21/09 2:52pm)

SPLC friend and student press advocate extraordinaire Brian Schraum, who is working at the First Amendment Center in Nashville this summer, has created an electronic copy of the Freedom Forum's very readable 1994 book, Death By Cheeseburger: High School Journalism in the 1990s and Beyond, and made it available on the FAC's Web site as a free PDF download. The book, one of the most comprehensive looks at high school journalism ever published, has been out of print and generally unavailable for many years. While Brian accurately notes that much of the information is out of date, it still retains relevancy today both as a research guide and a historical marker of high school journalism in the 1990's.

Retired Supreme Court justice warns of "dangerous state of civics knowledge"

(08/10/09 4:41pm)

If the various surveys from the last several years pointing out the deplorable state of American civics education and understanding weren't convincing enough, recently retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter — noting that two-thirds of Americans can't name all three branches of the American government — told those attending the American Bar Association's annual meeting this month that such ignorance is "dangerous" and "something to worry about." It is certainly something that we at the SPLC — where, working with students and school officials, we see the effects of such ignorance and lack of appreciation on a regular basis — have been talking about for years.

Student photojournalist's Woodstock coverage featured at Newseum

(08/11/09 11:52am)

If you’re in the D.C. area between now and October 31, make time to check out the Newseum’s recently opened “Woodstock at 40” photo gallery – not just for the story, but for the story behind the story. The back-story is that major news organizations largely underestimated the significance of the upstate New York music festival.

Another warning about the sad state of American civics education

(10/15/09 8:33pm)

Lou Ureneck, chairman of the journalism department at Boston University, has a column in The Boston Globe this week that sounds yet another warning bell about the "sorry" (I might substitute "scary") state of our nation's "civic health" and the impact it has -- and will continue to have -- on political discourse in the United States.

Show your First Amendment passion — and win a cool $2k

(01/13/10 6:01pm)

The Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNF) will award $2,500 in prize money to the students who create the most inspiring and exciting 30-second public service announcement (PSA) showing the importance of the First Amendment's five freedoms — speech, press, religion, assembly and the right to petition — and demonstrating how those freedoms protect us all. The contest is open to both high school and middle school students, with the first place high school winner taking home $2,000 and the first place middle school winner $500.

Haitian earthquake photos available to student media

(01/28/10 11:26am)

We have had several students contact us regarding their use of news media photos to include with their newspaper or yearbook coverage of the Haitian earthquake. As usual, the general rule for using copyrighted material applies: If you didn't take the photo and/or you don't own the copyright to it, you must first obtain permission, which sometimes requires paying for a license.

Defense lawyers' revised strategy may moot subpoena for Medill student journalists' records

(02/11/10 8:52pm)

The showdown over state prosecutors' demands for the news-gathering materials of Northwestern University student journalists may be resolved without confronting the core issue of the students' entitlement to protection under the Illinois reporter shield law. Lawyers for Anthony McKinney, whose conviction in the 1978 shooting death of a Chicago security guard was the subject of the student journalists' investigation, have decided not to rely on three witnesses whose testimony is central to prosecutors' subpoena to the Medill Innocence Project. The Project is part of Northwestern's journalism school, and students enrolled in Prof.

Touching the third rail of school reform -- if teachers are accountable, why not principals?

(09/09/10 12:59pm)

When public school teachers are terrible at their jobs -- when their students consistently fail to learn anything, when they are demeaning or abusive to those under their supervision -- they can be denied pay raises, refused tenure, discharged and (in extreme cases) brought before teacher certification boards and stripped of their licenses.