Spring 2008

Thanks and congratulations

A penny saved means thousands earned for the Student Press Law Center, thanks to some creative teachers and their energetic students. Read more

Charles O'Malley, 93, friend and supporter

Scholastic journalism lost a loyal and enduring champion with the March 19 passing of Charles O’Malley, a former director of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. He was 93. Read more

Going it alone

A student paper in New Jersey is unable to print its first issue of the semester because the student government that funds the paper freezes its entire budget. Three editors of the student paper at a private university in Illinois resign when officials tell them they cannot publish controversial content without prior approval. A student paper in Colorado is kept in the dark about a media giant’s attempt to buy it. All these events happened this year at colleges where the student papers are still under the watchful eye of the university administration. Read more

Campus Press under pressure

Journalism faculty met with Campus Press staffers on April 2 to discuss the possibility of separating the publication from the journalism department. The meeting, which was taped and posted on the Campus Press Web site, quickly became tense as Herdy commented on a lack of faculty support for an independent Campus Press. Read more

From freeze to freedom

After years of struggling to be released from the financial reins of the Student Government Association, the student paper at Montclair State University finally gained independence from the SGA ‘ but it was no easy feat. Read more

Despite April spike, theft rate steady

The Student Press Law Center received reports of 13 newspaper thefts from January through April. Six thefts took place in April, including four in one week. But the total number of thefts reported for the school year so far —19 — is on par with the rate of thefts in recent years. Some student papers were able to reprint and redistribute to make up for what had been lost, but some could not afford to reprint. Five of the largest thefts this year involved more than 2,000 copies of student papers stolen. Read more

Voices no longer 'captive'

Almost none of the area high schools had newspapers in 1984 when two Bristol Press reporters started a community newspaper written for and by teens. Read more

SMOKE THIS: School pulls papers, objecting to article on hookah health effects

Globe High School’s student newspaper The Papoose was not under prior review when the 2007-08 school year began. But that changed on Dec. 7, when school officials confiscated 700 papers. Read more

Risque business

S-E-X — if you are a high school journalist the three-letter word often can be a quick ticket to administrative criticism. Read more

OPEN SEASON: Private police facing greater public scrutiny

An attorney’s frustrating quest to obtain documents needed to defend her client has highlighted the difficulty that many across the nation experience in accessing police records at private universities and colleges. Read more

Congress might mandate more campus crime data

Academia represents a special subset of society where, for a short time, collegians are allowed to flourish in knowledge, free expression and self-discovery, relatively free from “real world” worries and stresses. The idealistic promises of college, however, have been marred in recent years with spurts of violence. Read more

Looks like government — open like government?

Twice this year, Student Government Association members at Western Illinois University used secret ballots to vote on important campus issues, an athletic fee increase and implementation of a plus and minus grading system. The SGA had been using the method for some time with seemingly good intentions — to expedite and simplify the voting process. Little did members know it was potentially illegal and a violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act. Read more

States revise access laws

Three states have passed significant pieces of legislation this semester affecting public access to government information. Some of these bills have increased access to information for high school and college journalists while others have decreased it. Read more

Calif. advisers could get new shield

High school and college journalism advisers in California — with the help of Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) — could soon receive more protection against administrators who are irked by student newspaper content. Read more

Bullying 2.0

Twelve states have laws against cyber-bullying, requiring schools to develop Internet safety programs or policies to control the electronic harassment that many believe is becoming more prevalent. Still, First Amendment advocates and attorneys have expressed concern over the laws’ broad definitions of “bullying” and whether schools should get involved in incidents that happen outside school. Read more

'Douchebags' case will go on

High school students and administrators often have very different ideas about what kind of language is appropriate. On school grounds administrators usually have the last word, but questions are being raised when the speech occurs off campus and not on school time. Read more

Cutting off the grapevine

It is not unusual to hear stories about administrators in higher education censoring student media; what is strange is when the students ask officials to censor content. Read more

Getting in the game

Click here for the updated legal guide Read more