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JEA Adviser Code of Ethics

Posted by on Nov 17, 2015 in Blog, Ethical Issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

To download JEA’s Adviser Code of Ethics, click here.

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JEA updates its Adviser Code of Ethics

Posted by on Nov 15, 2015 in Blog, Ethical Issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

sprclogoAt its board of directors meeting in Orlando Nov. 11, JEA updated its Adviser Code of Ethics by adding several new statements and updating several others.

Changes are noted in bold, below:
• Model standards of professional journalistic conduct. to students, administrators and others.
• Empower students to make decisions of style, structure and content by creating a learning atmosphere where students will actively practice critical thinking and decision-making.
• Encourage students to seek divergent points of view and to explore a variety of information sources in their decision-making.
• Support and defend a free, robust and active forum for student expression without prior review or restraint.
• Emphasize the importance of accuracy, balance and clarity in all aspects of news gathering and reporting.
• Show trust in students as they carry out their responsibilities by encouraging and supporting them in a caring, learning environment.
• Remain informed on press rights and responsibilities across media platforms.
• Advise and mentor, rather than act as censor or decision-maker.
• Display professional and personal integrity in situations that might be construed as potential conflicts of interest.
• Support free expression for others in local and larger communities.
Model traits of a life-long learner through continuous professional development in media education along with membership and involvement in professional media organizations.
• Foster cooperation and open communication with administrators and other stakeholders while students exercise their First Amendment rights.
• Encourage journalistically responsible use of social media in schools and educate students, school officials and community to its value. Educate students about the ramifications of its misuse.
• Champion inclusion so that ALL students not only see themselves and their ideas represented, but also see themselves as able to contribute to and to lead student-determined media.

 

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What are ethics?

Posted by on Aug 18, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Law and Ethics | 0 comments

Laws indicate what journalists must do, while ethics indicate what they should do.

Rooted in ethics, responsible and free journalism adheres to applicable laws and operates using professional standards to enhance student media’s reach and impact. Journalism, truly the cornerstone of democracy, starts at the scholastic media level, where students learn the legal and ethical implications of free media that make the United States unique among nations.

 

Guideline for staff manual

Student media should avoid mixing ethics guidelines with staff manual processes. While processes or procedures can include the verbs “will” and “must,” guidelines should be framed with “should” and “could.”

 

Why does our staff need ethics guidelines?

Journalism ethics at center stage, Principal’s Guide to Scholastic Journalism:

Student journalists make ethical decisions daily, whether in advertising, design, information gathering or reporting. Ethical decision-making is essential and ongoing. Keep in mind that ethics are only guidelines. They do not represent standards for punishment or discipline.

Media view very few topics as “taboo.” High school student media should be prepared for worst-case scenarios. Imagine the potential for growth and responsibility when students have journalistic conversations with informed, sincere and open-minded adults before the “taboo” happens.

Differences between law and ethics, Principal’s Guide to Scholastic Journalism:

A working knowledge of ethics can be helpful in reporting sensitive or controversial issues. A staff working its way through a list of questions to make ethical decisions solves problems before they occur. In the process, students generate valuable comments, discussions and considerations.

 

Student best practice

Develop an editorial policy outlining the legal and ethical responsibilities for student journalists. These resources provide context and/or offer potential models for policy development:

Foundations of Journalism: policies, ethics and staff manuals

SPRC model for ethical guidelines, process

JEA Adviser Code of Ethics

NSPA Model Code of Ethics

SPLC Model Guidelines for High School Student Media
SPJ Code of Ethics

Online ethical guidelines for student media

Yearbook ethics guidelines

Visual ethics

 

More SPRC materials:

Quick Tips: What should go into an editorial policy? What should not?

Editorial policies are the foundations for your journalism program. Often short, these statements address forum status, who makes final decisions of content and prior review.

Student media policy may be the most important decision you make

Students should understand while they can and should adopt best legal practices and ethical guidelines for their publication, the school district’s or school board’s media policy (if one exists) could impact the legal and ethical decisions of student editors.

Press Rights Minute: Ethics in Editing News Photos

Using Photoshop or other software to edit a news photo is unethical because it alters the truth.

 

Article: Obstacles and criticism can inspire, by Lindsay Coppens

Good, hard-hitting journalism can make people uncomfortable. It illuminates hardship, gives voice to the voiceless, questions the status quo, and encourages people to find solutions to problems. It can be challenging to secure important interviews for stories that pursue challenging topics. Those who agree to an interview may not want to answer all your questions. Editorials that question and challenge policy, procedures, and those in power may be accused of having a political agenda. However, if you adhere to strong journalistic procedure and ethics, these obstacles and criticisms can, in fact, help your journalism become even stronger.

 

Article: In plain view from public places

Photojournalists and free speech: What can and cannot be photographed continues to fall under question, bringing attention to photojournalists and igniting important First Amendment conversations. As part of other Free Speech Week lessons and activities, teachers may use this opportunity to incorporate key readings and discussion geared toward visual storytellers.

 

Article: A class activity to learn both law and ethics, by Candace Bowen

Not knowing the difference between law and ethics makes it difficult to teach these two concepts effectively. They are separate fields, though they do overlap in theory and practice, and plenty of journalistic situations require us to assess both legal and ethical components.

 

Article: Satire: easy to confuse when used out of context, by Tom Gayda

Is satire worth it? Maybe sometimes, but remember: most newspapers don’t include satire, so it is easy for a reader to get confused when what is a typical straightforward paper decides to enter the world of comedy. Perhaps a special publication for satire would be a better way to go.

 

Article: Lessons in transparency, by George, by Stan Zoller

Student journalists need to not only understand, but practice transparency. It’s not unusual for student journalists to want to take an ‘easy way out’ on a story and maybe use sources or materials that give them path of least resistance. Interviewing friends or colleagues in a club, sport or organization are not unheard of. Policy and procedure manuals should include a statement regarding transparency and any conflict of interest.

Resources: Fake or Fact? Seminar available via archived video

The 13th annual Poynter-Kent State University Media Ethics Workshop focused on fake news. Show your students panel discussions by accessing the archives. A lesson plan for scholastic students, created by Candace Bowen, also is available.

 

Want to know even more? See these links:

JEA statements on prior review (and definition of), photo manipulation, student free expression and more

Principal’s Guide to Scholastic Journalism

Newseum case studies

Ethics resources from The Poynter Institute

The Elements of Journalism, American Press Institute

 

JEA curriculum links:

Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Always Mean You Should

Another Way to Examine Ethics: Red Light, Green Light

Making TUFF Decisions

When Journalists Must Navigate Ethical Situations

Exploring the Issues with Anonymous Sources

With Freedom of the Press Comes Great Responsibility

Protest Songs and the First Amendment

The Importance of Dissenting Voices

When Journalists Err Ethically

Ethical Guidelines and Procedure Statements: Creating the Foundation

 

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The role of the adviser is multifold,
but ethically, practically not a doer QT20

Posted by on Sep 3, 2017 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Legal issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

The role of the adviser in student-run media incorporates teacher, coach, counselor, listener and devil’s advocate but not doer. We like the JEA Adviser Code of Ethics as guides for advisers.

That role means letting students make all decisions including content, context and grammar.

One way advisers can help this process is by having a staff manual inclusive of the student media mission statement, policies, guidelines and procedures. The mission statement outlines the overall aim of the student media. Policies are either the board-level or media-level and state the functionality of the student press. Guidelines are the ethical components the student media will work with. The procedures and resources for students to learn how to do something

 

Guidelines

As per the board-level or media-level policy, students should be empowered to make all content decisions for student media.

Key points/action

If the term “student media” is to have meaning, then the role of the adviser should be just what it says: advise.

The role of the adviser in student-run media incorporates teacher, coach, counselor, listener and devil’s advocate but not doer.

That role means letting students make all decisions including content, context and grammar.

Stance

Students learn best when they are empowered to make their own decisions with support from the adviser on the sideline. A clear understanding of the adviser’s role helps students take ownership of their work and the program overall.

Reasoning/suggestions:
To help teachers and advisers understand this role more completely, we recommend the JEA Adviser Code of Ethics as a starting point. We also recommend inclusion of a statement on the role of the adviser by noting the adviser code and a statement that students make all decisions of content. Advisers should advise and ask questions to help the students examine the issue from multiple perspectives and concerns.

One way advisers can help this process is by having a staff manual inclusive of the student media mission statement, policies, guidelines and procedures. The mission statement outlines the overall aim of the student media. Policies are either the board-level or media-level and state the functionality of the student press. Guidelines are the ethical components the student media will work with. The procedures and resources for students to learn how to do something.

If students know (or can look at what to do) what By already establishing these prior to a problem happening, it’s easier to see what to do when something does happen. (And, it will.) These policies, guidelines and procedures should function as a reference and be complete (preferably) prior to the problem happening. This helps the students (and adviser) work through issues if they do happen.
ResourcesAdviser responsibility

Related: These points and other decisions about mission statement, forum status and editorial policy should be part of a Foundations Package  that protects journalistically responsible student expression.

Teaching grit for citizenship — why we must empower, not shield students (related SPRC blog).

 

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Building journalistic foundations:
Adviser’s Institute session materials

Posted by on Jul 8, 2015 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

MBT-foundations

Members of the Scholastic Press Rights Commission presented this material July 13 at the JEA Advisers Institute In Las Vegas.

No matter what platform you use, the choice of an editorial policy, ethical guidelines and staff manual can make or break your student media – and consistency is very important.

What you select, and why, does make a difference.

Along with the newest in digital tools and storyforms, training for a new year and new staff  should include basics in law and ethics, especially development of editorial  policies and staff manuals.

To ensure students understand these legal and ethical foundations before publication, especially with the new roles, we recommend advisers and student staffs do the following:
• Outline goals and mission for your student media
• Train your editors and staff in legal principles across platforms
• Ensure board- and/or publication-level policies are in place
• Train editors and staff in ethical principles across platforms
• Establish, for online or print, a content verification process
• Clarify who owns the content
• Develop guidelines for handling takedown demands.

Weaving editorial policy, ethical guidelines and staff manual into a complementary package develops a foundation of good journalistic practices, beginning with editorial policies.

As our journalistic process changes to include new roles as outlined by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel in Blur, we need a strong foundation that binds  them together.

New roles include: Authenticator, Sense Maker, Investigator, Witness bearer, Empowerer, Smart Aggregator, Forum Organizer, Role Model and increase the importance of having a strong legal and ethical foundation.

We think our policy-ethics-staff manual Foundation will help meet this change.

Resources for you
1. Explanation of the policy-ethics-staff manual idea
2. What’s at stake in policy development
3. Policy talking points
4. When your student media are public forums and when they are not
5. Building your policies
6. Definition of policy terms
7. Questions about forums
8. More questions about forums
9. Foundations-policy package
10. Possible alternative workding samples
11. SPRC model policies
12. JEA board-approved model editorial policy
13. Questions about prior review

 

Our PowerPoint from the Advisers Institute presentation is below
Link to lesson plan based on the presentation.
Link to model policies
Link to the complete Foundations package

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