Tag Archives | New Voices

Letter from the president

Greetings SPJers, Miriam here!

I hope you’re having a productive summer. Here at New Jersey SPJ, ’tis the season for reflection as we prepare for a new year following our annual elections.

As the newly elected chapter president, I am honored and eager to follow up on the good work of my predecessor, John Ensslin. My goal for the next year is to continue serving journalism by focusing on key values of our organization: training, community building, and advocacy. The chapter will be discussing our 2019-2020 calendar at our July 21 board meeting. If you are interested in attending – or just want to send along your thoughts about what you think the chapter should be doing – please email me at ascarelli@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, here’s a look at what else is going on:

Volunteers needed for high school journalism camp

Karyn Collins, director of the Hugh N. Boyd Journalism Diversity Workshop at Rutgers University, is looking for volunteer coaches/editors to work with high school students participating in the annual summer program. The camp runs from July 19-28. Karyn writes: “Any and all help would be appreciated’’ but notes she is especially in need for volunteers to help students develop and edit text and video stories on the afternoon of Sunday, July 21 and at various time slots from Tuesday, July 23 to Saturday, July 27.

To find out more about what time slots Karyn needs to fill, email her at kdc13@verizon.net

Three cheers for our Signature Awards Winners!

More than 30 people attended our Signature Awards luncheon at the Maize restaurant in Newark last month to fete the winners of our annual journalism contest. It’s a measure of the quality of the submissions that our colleagues in the Colorado SPJ chapter said it was a difficult contest to judge because so much of the work was so strong.

Click here if you would like to see the list of winners.

Advocacy: New Voices bill, and a link to the

U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Our chapter was proud to join forces with the Student Press Law Center, the Garden State Scholastic Press Association and other advocates who testified before the state Senate Education Committee last month in support of a bill that will beef up press rights for high school and college students in New Jersey.

The bill – part of a state-by-state campaign organized by the Student Press Law Center called New Voices – was unanimously approved by the state Senate committee, paving the way for a vote on the floor of the New Jersey Senate that is expected to take place sometime in September.

To learn more about the New Voices campaign and the New Jersey bill specifically, see this report posted on the Student Press Law Center website.

Continue Reading 0

NJSPJ endorses bill that will boost student press freedoms in the Garden State

The New Jersey SPJ chapter was proud to join forces with the Garden State Scholastic Press Association and other advocates who testified before the state Senate Education Committee this week in support of a bill that will beef up press rights for high school and college students in New Jersey.  The bill – part of a state-by-state campaign organized by the Student Press Law Center called New Voices — was unanimously approved by the state Senate committee, paving the way for a vote on the floor of the New Jersey Senate sometime in September. To learn more about the New Voices campaign and the New Jersey bill specifically, see this report posted on the Student Press Law Center website.

Continue Reading 0

Re-balancing press rights for students

For as long as there have been student newspapers, there have been administrators with their own ideas about what should and should not be printed and disseminated in their schools. The First Amendment rights of student journalists were at the forefront of conversation at a panel at SPJ’s region 1 conference focusing on new legislation designed to strengthen student press rights. Titled “New Voices: Freeing the Campus Press,” the session featured Frank LoMonte, Katina Paron and Emily Masters.

LoMonte, the director of a think tank on government transparency at the University of Florida, began the session by pointing out that it is extremely rare that the free speech rights of protesters and other interest groups are curtailed by the government or by any government official. However, in high school newsrooms and even some college news organizations, student journalists are routinely censored or restrained in what they can cover, what quotes they can use, and especially how they can depict the school’s image.

Often schools will stop stories from being published through prior review, and it is required that the principal read every issue before it is printed and censor anything that he or she sees fit, panelists said. The stories and content that they choose to omit are generally thought to show a negative image of the school to alumni, parents, or students coming in the school in subsequent years. 

The rules

At the most basic level, just how First Amendment protections apply to student journalists depends on whether their school is public or private. Because the First Amendment is designed to protect individuals from government actions and private schools are not considered to be arms of the state, the First Amendment does not apply to private schools; instead, students at private schools are subject to the rules and regulations of the institution. In contrast, public schools are considered to be an arm of the state, so First Amendment protections apply.

For years, the level of First Amendment protection for public school students working on school-sponsored publications stemmed from Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, a 1969 case involving three high school students who wore black armbands to school as part of a peaceful protest of the Vietnam War. The case went all the way to the  Supreme Court and established the standard that school officials could not censor student speech unless they could show it would cause substantial disruption to school activities.

The free-speech balance was changed in 1988 with another Supreme Court case, Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier. This case involved students at a high school outside of St. Louis who wanted to write about social issues like teen pregnancy. In that case, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of school officials to censor student speech, establishing a new standard for all student journalists in public high schools, namely that school officials can censor speech if they can show an “educationally reasonable basis’’ for the censorship.

Continue Reading 0

Podcast examines effort to strengthen student press rights

Join us on Saturday, Feb. 20 at noon Eastern when the next episode of Studio SPJ will examine a new national movement aimed at strengthening press freedoms for student journalists.

Our guests will be Frank LoMonte, executive director of Student Press Law Center and John Tagliareni and Tom McHale, two veteran high school journalism advisors in New Jersey.

All three have been advocating for legislation known as the New Voices Act, which would restore, by way of state-level protection, the rights that the U.S. Supreme Court stripped away from students in Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier.

The 1988 decision held that the First Amendment rights of student journalists were not violated when school officials prevented the publication of certain articles in a student newspaper, that were produced as part of a journalism class.

There is concern that the Hazelwood standard could be applied to university newspapers, despite clear findings by the courts that pre-publication review of student newspapers at public universities is not permitted.

The New Voices bill, which passed in North Dakota and currently pending in New Jersey, applies at both the K-12 and college levels, and importantly also includes retaliation protection for student advisers.

The Society of Professional Journalists enacted a resolution at its most recent national convention in  September calling on its members to get involved in supporting New Voices legislation in their own states.

We’ll talk to Lomonte about the national effort currently taking place in 20 states. McHale and Tagliarini will discuss their efforts to advocate for the bill in New Jersey.

SPJ Acting Region 1 Director Jane Primerano will serve as host of the 30-minute program, which is co-sponsored by the New Jersey chapter of SPJ.

To listen to the program live or hear it later as a podcast, go to: http://bit.ly/1NYL4rg

Continue Reading 0

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes