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Lighting the way: leadership for the future

Posted by on Mar 16, 2010 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

The New York Times reported on a crisis mapping operation involving what it called everyone-as-informant March 12.  The Times article reported the operation suggested a new paradigm for humanitarian work.

This project, shaped to fit the needs of scholastic journalism, suggests a viable paradigm for scholastic new media to lead, not only through content but also opinion.

Such an approach would blend the mirror and candle theories into one  tool rooted in a journalistic sense of leadership.

And that, said Jan Leach, assistant professor of journalism at Kent State University, former Ethics Fellow at The Poynter Institute and editor of the Akron Beacon Journal, is a perfect role for effective news media.

“The news media lead by providing information that can help audiences with the urgent and the mundane aspects of their lives,” Leach said. “This includes helping audiences make decisions on everything from candidates and issues to decisions on real estate, schools, movies and purchases.”

What Leach talks about would include:
• A strong publication voice calling for action or explaining issues and events. In a case like the Times noted, explaining why action was needed and how to accomplish it.
• Thorough reporting that explained the significance of the issues, events or problems and how to become involved and resources placing the events into perspective.
• Opportunities for involvement and interaction so members of the various affected communities could help each other or answer a call to action.

That fulfills the candle theory.

The mirror theory is also fulfilled through more mundane coverage of events, people and issues that affect people’s lives daily.

Leach sees a strong and active editorial presence as essential in this blended process.

“Newspapers and online operations that have regular, forceful editorial pages are providing steady, if controversial, leadership,” she said. “Those that are inconsistent or wishy-washy in their opinions are less reliable in terms of leadership. People look for the studied opinion, the additional information, the weighing of all sides.”

Let’s say during Scholastic Journalism Week JEA or another journalistic group (including a student one) uses the mapping model to track one day of prior restraint or review  across the nation. Students, facing review or  restraint, could publish to one core location details, topics, reasons given, and who is reviewing. Reported information could then be assembled and reported to give a national snapshot of issues scholastic journalists face. Individual student media could develop coverage to show the depth of the problem and take a strong position with national data to support their position.

The process could be replicated for any common issues or topics schools face. And, it could be reported and editorialized by scholastic media working individually or in collaboration.

In short, scholastic journalism’s obligation to lead is a function of strong content and editorial presence, no matter what media.

Leadership does not need to be seen as a piece of the past but as an integral aspect of journalism’s future, lighting the way.

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Noteworthy information 9: Who makes the decisions?

Posted by on Aug 27, 2010 in Blog, Law and Ethics, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

With scholastic journalism’s expansion into social media and use the latest bells and whistles involving multimedia, it is equally, if not more important, to be solid first in journalism basics. Four such basics are:

Leadership. The Center for Scholastic Journalism blog highlights a series of decisions students must make about the roles they perform with their media. Today’s focus is on leadership and raises several points about its importance and how student publications seem to have lost their interest in this crucial role. The JEA Press Rights Commission also addressed the leadership issue in a three part series in March.

Content. Leadership comes not only through student opinion on significant issues but also by providing audiences with substantive content that has long and short term impact on student lives. Offering interpretation and perspective adds depth to the content and can show that today’s events have roots in past decisions, and that others face similar issues. Answering the “why” and “how” questions often get overlooked in scholastic media.

Professional standards. From establishing a professional and consistent style to knowing law and ethics, following and practicing standards is crucial. Knowing and practicing legal and ethical guidelines serves not only student media but all those affected by it.

The Talk. Student Press Law Center consultant Mike Hiestand  writes that final decisions of the questions raised above – and all others –really rest with the students. “It is important to have a frank conversation with your students about the position in which you, as adviser, operate,” Hiestand writes. “You support them; you believe in them; you will always strive to do your best by them.”

Student media is just that: student. It is their publication. Their work and their decision-making.

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Constitution Day is right time
to apply for FAPFA recognition

Posted by on Sep 17, 2018 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by Lori Keekley, MJE
As advisers, we work to support student journalists on a daily basis.

Taking a moment today to apply for the First Amendment Press Freedom Award is a great way to symbolically show this support.

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Students, join movement to make change:
Mary Beth Tinker

Posted by on Mar 19, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 3 comments

 

Mary Beth Tinker claps her hands while sining a song to high school students in the grand ball room on Tuesday October 1, 2013 at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. The engagement was part of the Mary Beth Tinker Bus Tour.(Photo by David Dermer)

by Mary Beth Tinker
The student uprising for safer gun laws is going to rock gun culture to its core.  It already has.

As it does, student journalists will be on the front lines, proving again they are not only the future, but the present.  In this, they also have an opportunity to join with student leaders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland who promote youth voices often left out of student journalism, those of low income students of color.

This week, Parkland students met with students from Chicago, where gun death is  epidemic. Students discussed how gun tragedies affect their very different communities.

“Those who face gun violence on a level that we have only just glimpsed from our gated communities have never had their voices heard in their entire lives the way that we have in these few weeks alone.” –– Emma Gonzalez, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Parkland student leader

Emma Gonzalez, a student leader at Parkland tweeted,  “Those who face gun violence on a level that we have only just glimpsed from our gated communities have never had their voices heard in their entire lives the way that we have in these few weeks alone.”

Emma made a commitment to share the platform  Parkland students have established with “every person, black or white, gay or straight, religious or not, who has experienced gun violence,” saying “hand in hand, side by side, We Will Make This Change Together.”

In Baltimore, hundreds of students from different racial and economic backgrounds joined in a  walkout March 6 for a march to City Hall in protest of gun violence.  They expressed solidarity with Excel Academy, where seven students have been killed by guns in the last two years.

David Hogg, a student leader at MSD who is also a leader in broadcast journalism there,  tweeted words of support, saying “Yeah Baltimore!!!!!!!! Let’s do this !”

‘Tinker Tour’ finds common fears, causes among students
Last week, as part of my “Tinker Tour” to schools around the country, I visited with students at Thurgood Marshall Academy in Ward 8 of Washington DC. According to its website, “almost 100 percent” of the students in school are African American and 75 percent qualify for free lunches.

Students at Thurgood Marshall have lost two classmates this year from gun violence, Zaire and Paris.  Zaire’s twin brother, Zion, told me his brother was killed by a person wearing a prison ankle bracelet, and there should be more limits on who can get guns. Washington DC has strict gun laws, but guns flow in from elsewhere.

Zion’s father testified at President Trump’s ‘listening tour’ on gun violence, saying his tragedy began on Sept. 20 and the family struggles to recover from their grief.

Students at Thurgood Marshall Academy won’t express any of this in their school newspaper or in broadcast journalism class. Like most Washington DC students, they don’t have a journalism program. In fact, only a handful of high schools in Washington DC do.

One is Wilson High, where students at the award winning Beacon decided to do s

omething about that. With The Paper Project, student journalists at Wilson meet with students at schools where there is no journalism program to share skills and help with publications. They raise money through student fundraisers and contributions.

Too often, young people must endure policies they have had absolutely no part in making.  Funding for journalism is one. For some, cuts to journalism budgets are retaliation for articles. For others, journalism education was never an option to begin with. As I travel the country to schools and communities, that is most often the case, with  a “sliding scale”  for First Amendment rights, particularly student press.

Bringing these voices together as an issue in civics
Frank LoMonte, past director of the Student Press Law Center, advocates for an increased connection between civics and journalism, natural partners for an active citizenry. But, civics education shares the same gap that afflicts journalism education.

The Civic Mission of Schools, a coalition of civics organizations, cites this disparity and attributes it to an education system that a provides “far fewer and lower-quality civic learning opportunities to minority and low-income students.”

Despite all of this, young people find their voices and make them heard.

You can hear one of them, Jonothan Gray, in a powerful twitter video highlighting the coverage to gun violence in schools (mostly white students) compared to that out of school (mostly kids of color). Jonathan says in Baltimore, like so may places, gun violence “has become the norm.”

At a stop at Kent State University during her Tinker Tour in 2013, Mary Beth checks out the May 4 Visitors Center. Members of Ohio’s National Guard shot and killed four students in 1970 during a time of national protests against the Vietnam War. Photo by John Bowen.

Great movements begin from civic awareness, student voices
From great tragedy come great movements. The civil rights movement, also a story of the free press, was surely one. The current movement by students for safer gun laws, with walkouts and plans for rallies throughout the country Marcy 24 will be a story of the free press as well.

When I was 13 and in eighth grade in 1965, like the students, I was moved to action by great tragedy and great journalists. I watched the horrors of the Vietnam unfold on the evening news, with Walter Cronkite giving a daily “body count” to keep track.

A group of us in Des Moines, Iowa, including my brother, John, wore black armbands to mourn the dead and to promote a Christmas truce being proposed by Senator Robert Kennedy.

For doing that,  we were suspended.

The American Civil Liberties Union took our case to the Supreme Court, and in 1969, the Court ruled that neither “students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”

The ruling was chipped away by three later rulings, with “Hazelwood v Kuhlmeier” in 1988 targeting student journalists and being the most harmful.

Young people are on the move.
They are winning in the court of public opinion, and they are winning laws to affirm the rights of young journalists through the New Voices movement.  Washington state is the latest, with the legislature voting for student journalists’ rights.

By coming together, young people will also win victories against gun violence. When they do, student journalists and advisers have a real opportunity to advance the First Amendment for all youth across the country.

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The importance of staff edits:
critical thinking, leadership QT 38

Posted by on Dec 14, 2017 in Blog, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Student editors are busy. In addition to leading their staffs, making publication decisions and helping reporters, they are likely also still reporting and creating their own news content — not to mention carrying a full academic high school load.

Given all of these responsibilities, it’s easy to see why writing an unsigned staff editorial might seem a lower priority than getting the next edition to print or finishing that great feature on the new student body president.

But these editorials represent a unique and powerful opportunity for the board to be leaders in their school communities, and editors tempted to skip writing them should reconsider their priorities.

As overseers of all publication content, school news editors know more about what’s going on in their communities than just about anyone else in the school. As they read each article and listen with a journalist’s ear to what’s happening around them day-to-day, they can see patterns and problems most people cannot, adults included.

Coming together as a group, they can choose meaningful topics to address and think critically about what they want to say about those topics as a board. Once they reach a majority opinion on the topic, they can write collaboratively on a Google doc or take turns writing the first draft and then edit that draft into a clear, concise final piece.

Because staff editorials are unsigned, they carry more weight than a single writer’s opinion and may have greater impact. Well researched, authoritative editorials are powerful tools for change in a school community, and editorial boards should make them a priority.

Guideline:

Student journalists should act as candles lighting issues within their communities as well as mirrors reflecting current events. One way to enact this leadership is for the student editorial board to write regular unsigned editorials to advocate, solve a problem or commend. Editorial opinions should be clearly labeled and separate from the news section and should not affect objective news coverage.

Social Media Post

Does your student editorial board write regular unsigned editorials? If not, they are missing an opportunity to lead.

Reasoning/suggestions: Student media show leadership in many ways, and one of the most traditional is through concise, focused and authoritative statements of well-argued and supported opinion which represent the institutional voice of the student media. These editorials are a unique opportunity for student leaders to give voice to student perspectives on important topics. Editorial board members who take this process seriously and write consistently can advocate for change, serve as calls to action or commend positive conditions. Because staff editorials are unsigned, they carry more weight than a single writer’s opinion and may have greater impact.

Resources:

Quick Hit: Picking a topic for staff editorials, JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Quick Hit: Staff editorial process, JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Mirror, mirror on the wall,” JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Where have the leaders gone?” JEA Scholastic Press Committee

Editorials under attack, Student Press Law Center

Explained: why newspapers endorse presidential candidates, Dylan Baddour, Houston Chronicle

They need the freedom to make mistakes, too,” Lindsay Coppens, JEA Press Rights Committee

Reading newspapers: Editorial and opinion pieces, Learn NC

Video: How to write an editorial, New York Times

Writing an Editorial, Alan Weintraut

 

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