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Amid breastfeeding professor controversy, American University discusses role of student media

(09/28/12 4:38pm)

The role of student media came under fire after American University’s student newspaper, The Eagle, interviewed an associate professor about breastfeeding in class. The story generated national attention before the paper ever even wrote about it, and Thursday, media and school representatives gathered to talk about the role of student journalism and their rights, as well as what qualifies as news. “Journalists serve the public interest, but that is not the same as what the public is interested in,” said John Watson, an American University associate professor who was one of the panelists on the forum held at the campus. The panel consisted of Watson, Director of Media and Interactive Journalism Amy Eisman, Student Press Law Center Executive Director Frank LoMonte, Associated Press Reporter Brett Zongker and was lead by Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the School of Communication Rose Ann Robertson. The Eagle was unfairly criticized as a third-rate, sexist, anti-woman publication targeting faculty, hounding sources and asking biased and sophomoric questions, Robertson said. “They do make mistakes because they have the unfortunate liability of relying on human beings but it’s a very good paper,” Watson said. One of the functions of a news media is to put controversial issues on the public agenda, Watson said.


How college newspapers covered the annual Clery campus safety report

(10/03/12 6:37pm)

Most college students understand the level of safety on their campus, but sometimes they can get a little too comfortable. A much needed reminder of campus safety comes this week, as this past Monday was the deadline for colleges to release their annual crime report, as required by the Jeanne Clery Act. All colleges that except federal money, which includes almost all public and private colleges that accept federal financial aid, are required to release this report that chronicles the last three years’ worth of serious crime by category. The act is named after a Lehigh University student who was raped and murdered in her dorm room.


Christian university president defends student newspaper's right to publish Obama endorsement

(11/05/12 5:22pm)

We write a lot about principals and college administrators who don't seem to appreciate the value of a free and vigorous student press, so it's nice to write about one who does — Abilene Christian University President Phil Schubert. Last week, the editorial board of the school's student newspaper, The Optimist, endorsed President Barack Obama for a second term. The endorsement sparked debate on the newspaper's website, where some wondered whether the endorsement was at odds with the school's Christian mission. Sunday in the Abilene Reporter-News, Schubert publicly defended the paper's right to publish its endorsement: Abilene Christian University does not endorse political candidates or parties, so some people reacted with surprise when our student newspaper, the Optimist, recently endorsed a presidential candidate. That provides a great opportunity for me to explain what ACU does endorse: making sure our students receive an education that prepares them to make real choices and engage in independent thought about important issues. ... It would be easy to shy away from diverse opinions about difficult subjects, but in so doing, we would remove from our students the opportunity to practice — in a safe environment — for the challenges and experiences that will shape them into these kind of people. Well said.


Memphis journalist and College Press Freedom Award winner tells her story

(11/06/12 1:55pm)

Saturday afternoon the SPLC had the privilege of honoring The Daily Helmsman and its editor-in-chief, Chelsea Boozer, who are this year's College Press Freedom Award winners. Over the last few months, Boozer and Helmsman managing editor Christopher Whitten endured repeated harassment by campus police at the University of Memphis for the paper's reporting about campus rapes and their criticism of the police department's failure to notify students in a timely manner. Then, the paper successfully fought back an attempt by a student fee committee to cut the paper's budget by 33 percent — disproportionate with cuts to student organizations, and in response to some committee members' dislike of the paper's coverage.



College administrator who wanted student newspaper to pay him for interviews is out

(11/13/12 5:30pm)

A Texas college administrator who last year wanted reporters at a San Antonio College's student newspaper to pay him in exchange for interviews is no longer is employed. The relationship between former student life director Jorge Posadas and The Ranger has long been rocky.




Do college newspaper archives matter? Ask Cory Booker.

(01/11/13 7:41pm)

Hundreds of times a year, phones ring in newsrooms across the country, college and professional alike, with a variation of: "Your archives are ruining my life!" With decades-old back editions being digitized into online-searchable form, youthful indiscretions that seemed to have disappeared into obscurity are Googling their way back into view.



Newly hired Famuan editor wants to repair relationship between paper and students

(01/24/13 5:32pm)

The newly hired editor of The Famuan at Florida A&M University said Thursday afternoon that she hopes to improve the relationship between students and the newspaper during her term, which will kick off officially next week when the paper begins printing after a two-week suspension by the school's journalism dean. The school hasn't made a formal announcement yet, but senior Angie Meus confirmed the news and said she was in the process of hiring the rest of her staff. Meus applied for the position after Dean Ann Kimbrough reopened the application process, forcing current editors to reapply for their positions and inviting others to apply as well.






Missouri high school junior arrested for yearbook prank

(05/31/13 3:37pm)

Kaitlyn Booth, 17, a junior at Hickman High School in Columbia, Mo., was arrested earlier this month after a prank in which she she changed a student's last name to "Masturbate" in the 2013 yearbook. Booth faces charges of harassment as well as first-degree property damage, a felony, in addition to unspecified school punishment. The name change is found on page 270 of the yearbook, the page that features the index.


Texas high school yearbook recalled after "Ugly Hoe" caption discovered

(06/03/13 7:53pm)

On the heels of another high school yearbook prank, Irving High School in Irving, Tex., recalled every copy of the 2012-13 yearbook last week after realizing that a student’s name had been changed to “Ugly Hoe” in a photo caption, the Dallas Observer reported. The person who changed the student’s name has not yet been identified, said Lesley Weaver, the school district's director of communications. “We can speculate, but we don’t know definitively,” Weaver said.


Q&A: Washington student editor discusses paper's in-depth focus on much-criticized community

(06/05/13 11:38am)

“Skyway is ghetto” — the provocative headline of Renton High School’s student newspaper led readers into an issue that worked to open their minds to the Seattle, Wash.-suburb Skyway as a whole, including the more pleasant parts that stereotypes often refuse to acknowledge. The 22-member Arrow staff put out an impressive 40-page May issue in which staff members explored the neighborhood — from its bus line to its park to its middle school.