At some universities, there are blurred lines between public relations and student media

Some universities have tried to blend traditional student journalism with public relations, prompting ethics questions and some raised eyebrows. Read more

Student journalists and online video: When are closed captions required?

New rules say that certain content delivered via the internet must be closed captioned. How does this affect student journalists?  Read more

Behind closed doors

Public access advocates have pushed back against university governing boards' closed-door meetings, resulting in legal action. Read more

Under the gun: Colleges debate trigger warnings

Colleges resist pressure to label 'triggering' curriculum despite student calls for more sensitivity when teaching controversial topics. Read more

Does your teacher make the grade?

Parents and educators debate the balance between the public's right to know and privacy when it comes to releasing teacher evaluation data. Read more

Copywrong: Students often clash with administrators over copyright law

Students and administrators frequently misunderstand copyright law and how it relates to student work, often leading to conflicts in schools.  Read more

Free speech, behind the line

Several colleges across the country have attempted to restrict students' speech to "free speech zones," which have been ripe for lawsuits. Read more

40 years later, Still Captive?

The most recent review of the state of high school journalism showed the latest struggles, and the progress made, since the first review in 1974. Read more

A culture of intimidation and mistrust with student media at Fairmont State

This past school year, student journalists at Fairmont State clashed repeatedly with administrators. Their adviser was dismissed and the students felt forced to resign their positions as editors. An SPLC investigation uncovered a culture of intimidation with student media at the university for the past decade.  Read more

Protecting student journalists in Michigan

The SPLC spoke with Jeremy Steele who is heading up the effort in Michigan to pass meaningful legislation that guarantees the rights of student journalists. Read more

Responding to the haters

Heightened with the prevalence of online commenting, student journalists frequently receive pushback from their own work. Often, the adversaries are their own peers. Read more

Shaking the foundation: Fighting for access to university nonprofit foundations

Public universities use private nonprofits to raise money. In order to track donor influence, one group is fighting for more access. Read more

The labor beat: How student journalists cover campus workplaces

Student journalists often face challenges when reporting on campus workers and workplaces. Read more

Yak flak: How should schools respond to students' anonymous speech?

New technology means new worries. Schools are grappling with how to respond to students' anonymous speech in the Yik Yak era. Read more

A plea for help: Student publications try to raise money online

Like professional newspapers, student publications nationwide are strapped for cash. In an effort to stop the bleeding, some have turned to the Internet to ask for help.  Read more

A catalyst for reform: North Dakota's new anti-Hazelwood law has rebuilt a national movement

North Dakota's lawmakers have approved an anti-Hazelwood law to protect students' speech rights, helping rebuild a national movement.  Read more

Teacher talk: Professors' fight to speak openly often isn't easy

Across the country, attacks on academic freedom have ended up in court and in policy changes as professors fight to speak openly. Read more

Hip-hop hassle: How the lyrics of two violent rap songs could redefine your online free-speech protections

After the Supreme Court ruled on Elonis in June, free-speech advocates worry about potential consequences on student social media speech.  Read more

Unpaid journalism internships: Employers react to wave of legal challenges

Some observers have predicted that the end of the unpaid internship is not far away — here's a summary and an analysis of the recent legal developments.  Read more

Accessing personnel records: A balancing act between privacy, public’s right to know

This article looks at the frustrating obstacles journalists often face in trying to obtain access to personnel-related records from college and schools. While the law sometimes entitles these agencies to withhold highly embarrassing or confidential documents, it’s an oversimplification to say – as many agencies do – that “personnel” is a blanket excuse for denying a public-records request. Read more

FERPA defense play: Universities often cite the federal student privacy law to shield athletic scandals

At the University of Oregon, Vanderbilt University and the University of Montana, FERPA was cited to withhold records and information related to sexual assault allegations. FERPA was even cited at Florida State University to withhold records about Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston, who has been accused of sexual assault in December 2012. Read more

Under the dome: As professional news outlets vacate state capitols because of budget constraints, student journalists move in to fill the gap

In four states, student journalists outnumber journalists from professional outlets assigned to the statehouse full-time, where they ensure citizens have access to information about how the state spends their tax dollars and decisions on education, criminal justice and safety regulations. Read more

Nudes you can use: What happens when college news organizations choose to bare it all?

Each school year, student newspaper staffs publish nude images. While some argue the images accurately convey a newsworthy event, others are published to be edgy, like at the University of Buffalo, where the student newspaper’s annual sex issue features articles about sexual health and related topics. Often accompanying the articles are sexually explicit images some people argue are unsettling to see in a newspaper. Read more

Are body-mounted cameras the answer for transparency in police departments?

Despite a promise of increased transparency in police activities, state public records laws may shield the footage from the public. Footage likely won’t be released if it is part of an ongoing investigation or if certain details, such as the identities of victims in sensitive situations, cannot be redacted. Read more

Nontraditional focus: Student newspapers grapple with a shifting demographic

With added responsibilities and differing life experiences, nontraditional students — a growing population — often feel they are not well represented in their student newspaper. When nontraditional students join the newspaper staff, however, they are often able to broaden the organization’s news coverage. Read more

In Texas, access delayed: Public records appeal process invites abuse

Texas law starts with the assumption that a requestor is owed records within 10 days. But asking the attorney general for an opinion stops the clock and can push the agency’s response time back by a month-and-a-half — which makes the process vulnerable to manipulation by an agency seeking to run out the clock on a deadline-sensitive request. Read more

Active voice: SPLC project strives to empower women in student media

Nabiha Syed, a media attorney for Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, LLP, and a member of SPLC’s Board of Directors, introduced Active Voice, an SPLC project that aims to help young women who face challenges in speaking out. Read more

'Publicly funded,' not publicly accountable

Delaware and Pennsylvania are the only states with open records exemptions for “publicly funded” or “state-related” universities — institutions that receive taxpayer dollars but receive a majority of their funding from private donors. The laws permit UD, Delaware State and four other institutions — University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State University, Temple University and Lincoln University — to limit what information the public has access to. Read more

Protections inconsistent for student journalists who withhold names of sources

Most journalists avoid using anonymous sources, with many schools discouraging it in nearly all situations. But student journalists often find that the only way to attack controversial or sensitive — but significant — issues in schools, is to turn to anonymous sources. Read more

FERPA amendment would establish ‘safeguards’ for student data privacy

As the prevalence of student data collection in educational institutions increases, the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act’s use is once again in question. And while the proposed changes may not further restrict journalists’ access records, they also don’t alleviate any challenges. Read more