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Student media director’s departure leaves FAU department with ‘zero employees’

(02/14/11 8:00pm)

Student journalists at Florida Atlantic University no longer have a paid adviser to turn to after the student media director’s recent departure left the department with no employees. Former Student Media Director Marti Harvey sent the university a letter of resignation Jan.




#SJW11: Extra! Extra! Read All About It: My girlfriend can draw

(02/23/11 10:56am)

I went to high school in Alaska (fun fact: I graduated the same year as Sarah Palin, whose high school was about a half-hour away). And no, it wasn’t a one-room building lit by seal oil in the bare, frozen tundra; it was a modern, well-funded, well-equipped school of about 1,600. But as I often tell the many young journalists I speak to each year, about the only thing I can remember about what was called the student “newspaper” at my high school — in reality, just a bunch of stapled 8 ½ x 11” pages — was that it once published my girlfriend’s drawings (along with a really cute photo of her). Other hot topics included a photo collage of students’ cars, a story about the French Club fashion show, a quiz about college mascots, essays/poems about being the best you could be, an interview with the school receptionist about, well, being a school receptionist — and maybe some 3- or 4-week-old sports scores. In other words, it could hardly have been more irrelevant to my life and that of my classmates.




Humor us -- take steps to prevent comedy from becoming tragedy

(02/26/11 1:00pm)

“Dying is easy – comedy’s hard.” The origin of the Hollywood aphorism is murky, but its truth is undeniable.April 15 may be America's annual day of dread, but for those who advise student publications, it's April 1 -- the day that hundreds of Sara Silverman wannabes find out that they're much less funny than they think they are.Student journalists at Columbia University got off to an early start this year.




Virginia approves revised, journalism-friendly social media guidelines for teachers

(03/25/11 7:25pm)

The Virginia Board of Education unanimously approved guidelines for the prevention of sexual misconduct March 24. The original proposal—brought forth in November—underwent months of debate, resulting in the approval of a drastically reduced version. Although intended to deter school employees from engaging in inappropriate relationships with students, the initial proposal could have been detrimental to student journalism in Virginia. The November proposal included communication restrictions such as: No text messaging between students and teachers. No communicating with students using non-school platforms, including popular social media sites Facebook and Twitter. No “ongoing” meetings with a student without notifying the principal and obtaining written parental consent. The approved guidelines do not include those restrictions, but instead call for transparency, accessibility to parents and administrators, and professionalism in content and tone. The guidelines also indicate administrators should develop local policies and practices that deter misconduct and provide guidance for educators. The initial restrictions were criticized by journalism advisers and strongly opposed by the Student Press Law Center. SPLC Executive Director Frank LoMonte said the board did a good job of listening to Virginia teachers’ needs and changing the guidelines accordingly. “I think it’s a real testament to the power of teachers’ voices that the board of education has throttled back on the most severe restrictions,” LoMonte said.


Censored Colorado students to receive Iowa State SPJ's First Amendment award

(04/01/11 3:46pm)

Two student editors from Overland High School in Colorado will be honored by next week by the Iowa State University chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Lori Schafer and Jaclyn Gutierrez say principal Leon Lundie shut down their newspaper and removed their adviser after they wrote a story about a student who died.


Peabody Award-winning NPR feature on campus sexual assault provides a road map for college journalists

(04/03/11 4:46pm)

The inability of campus disciplinary systems to deal adequately with sexual-assault cases has been a subject of intense media scrutiny. Rarely has the story been told with as much depth and effectiveness as in NPR's series, "Seeking Justice for Campus Rapes," in which multiple student victims came forward and told their stories on the record, putting their voices on-air and their faces online to dramatize the frequency with which forced sex goes unpunished. On Thursday, the producers of the "Seeking Justice" series were honored with one of 39 Peabody Awards, perhaps the most prestigious award in all of broadcasting, presented annually by the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The series explores the impact on victims -- some of whom end up dropping out of school to avoid contact with their attackers -- when a student conduct system that was never designed to handle serious criminal offenses deals out little-to-no punishment. It also highlights -- for victims and for journalists -- the availability of a little-known resource, the U.S.


Va. administrators score a Muzzle award for spiking PE editorial

(04/13/11 5:29pm)

Albemarle High School joined the ranks of the Obama administration, airport security and the Smithsonian on Wednesday – and not in a good way. Administrators at the Charlottesville, Va., school were given a Jefferson Muzzle award Wednesday following a 2010 spat involving the school’s student newspaper. As the SPLC reported in June, copies of The Revolution were confiscated and destroyed because of an editorial suggesting student athletes be able to opt out of PE class.


College radio stations declare "moment of silence" to mark the "death" of independent student voices on the airwaves

(04/27/11 5:17pm)

Critics sometimes bemoan the "sameness" of programming across the over-the-air radio dial, but for one minute on Thursday, listeners truly will hear exactly the same thing whether they are in Missouri or Maryland or Michigan: The sound of silence. Not the Simon and Garfunkel classic, either.



Student rights took center stage on World Press Freedom Day

(05/11/11 1:35pm)

Last week's celebration of World Press Freedom Day was devoted to the theme of "21st century media," and the central role of students as society's information-gatherers was impossible to ignore -- down to the gavel-to-gavel coverage supplied by student volunteers from Georgetown University. The Student Press Law Center and 39 leading journalism groups from across America joined in urging the delegates to the UNESCO-sponsored event to keep the rights of students at the forefront of the first World Press Freedom Day ever celebrated on United States soil.


FCC report dramatizes media industry's dependence on student labor

(06/10/11 3:31pm)

While it's uncertain how the American public will get news in the future, and who'll pay the cost of reporting it, it is increasingly clear that the media will rely on unpaid college students not just as trainees but as front-line news gatherers. An exhaustive survey of the media landscape commissioned by the Federal Communications Commission includes among its recommendations that the donor community underwrite "journalism residencies" for new graduates along the model of residencies for newly graduated physicians.



SUNY-Brockport editor wins SPJ recognition for weathering intimidation

(07/19/11 9:34am)

A New York college editor who kept up his fight for public records from a hostile student government that threatened him with legal action has won a national First Amendment prize recognizing his tenacity. The Society of Professional Journalists named Bill Matthias the winner of its annual Robert D.G.


Marshall student journalists honored for persistence in pursuing police records

(08/03/11 5:39pm)

Two college journalists at West Virginia's Marshall University have won the Society of Professional Journalists' prestigious "Sunshine Award" for exposing the existence of an off-the-books set of campus police reports separate from the ones made available for public review. The SPJ will recognize Samantha Turley and Marcus Constantino for a series of October 2010 stories in their campus newspaper, The Parthenon, documenting that the Marshall University Police Department selectively withheld some crime reports from a log provided to student journalists. The existence of "off-the-books crimes" came to light as journalists from The Parthenon inquired into widespread rumors about a sexual assault in a campus dorm (a complaint that police ultimately decided they lacked the evidence to pursue). Any report to police of a serious crime such as rape should show up in the daily crime log available for public inspection, but the log provided to The Parthenon made no mention of it. Turley and Constantino will receive their award at SPJ's national convention Sept.