A message from the American Society of News Editors

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The American Society of News Editors (ASNE) is pleased to sponsor the publication of the Principal’s Guide to Scholastic Journalism through the ASNE Youth Journalism Initiative. Supporting the development of strong student journalism programs at the secondary school level has never been more important.

The onset of the digital age forever changed the way all of us interact with news. More data is produced in a single second than can possibly be consumed in a lifetime. A student’s ability to use critical thinking to analyze the credibility of news reports and information sources and to differentiate among facts, opinions and assertions are essential 21st century skills. Scholastic journalism programs help students learn these news literacy skills while providing a valuable service to their school community.

Student publications foster community and encourage public debate on issues that matter to students. ASNE encourages students to aspire to journalistic excellence and the highest journalistic standards as found in ASNE’s Statement of Principles, which are summarized below:

  • Responsibility. The primary purpose of gathering and distributing news and opinion is to serve the general welfare by informing the people and enabling them to make judgments on the issues of the time.
  • Freedom of the Press. Freedom of the press belongs to the people. It must be defended against encroachment or assault from any quarter, public or private. Journalists must be constantly alert to see that the public’s business is conducted in public. They must be vigilant against all who would exploit the press for selfish purposes.
  • Independence. Journalists must avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety as well as any conflict of interest or the appearance of conflict. They should neither accept anything nor pursue any activity that might compromise or seem to compromise their integrity.
  • Truth and Accuracy. Good faith with the reader is the foundation of good journalism. Every effort must be made to assure that the news content is accurate, free from bias and in context, and that all sides are presented fairly.
  • Impartiality. To be impartial does not require the press to be unquestioning or to refrain from editorial expression. Sound practice, however, demands a clear distinction for the reader between news reports and opinion.
  • Fair Play. Journalists should respect the rights of people involved in the news, observe the common standards of decency, and stand accountable to the public for the fairness and accuracy of their news reports. Persons publicly accused should be given the earliest opportunity to respond.

The future of our communities and the future of our democracy depend on news literate citizens and well-trained journalists. We hope you find the Principal’s Guide to Scholastic Journalism a valuable resource in this endeavor.

Arnie Robbins
Executive Director
American Society of News Editors
209 Reynolds Journalism Institute
Columbia, Missouri 65211

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Susan A. Enfield, JEA 2012 Administrator of the Year and superintendent for Highline Public Schools, Burien, Washington, shares her belief in the educational need for scholastic journalism and student media in schools. Enfield is also a former publications adviser and journalism teacher.

Susan A. Enfield receives the 2012 Administrator of the Year award from Journalism Education Association president Mark Newton.

Susan A. Enfield receives the 2012 Administrator of the Year award from Journalism Education Association president Mark Newton, MJE. JEA photo by Bradley Wilson, MJE.

Part 1: Why maintain a journalism program

Part 2: Pressures on today’s principals

Part 3: The First Amendment and school publications

Part 4: Qualities of a good adviser

Part 5: Checklist for principals

About Susan Enfield, JEA 2012 Administrator of the Year

The Journalism Education Association chose Dr. Susan A. Enfield, superintendent of schools for Highline Public Schools in Burien, Wash., as its 2012 Administrator of the Year. This award goes to an administrator who has shown a dedication to journalism education.

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Yearbook ethical guidelines for student media

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Yearbook ethical guidelines

Yearbook staffs are responsible for creating an annual publication that becomes the permanent record of the school and the school population they serve.

The publication they create will serve as a record/history book, memory book, business venture, classroom laboratory and public relations tool for the district.

Because the functions of the publication are so far-reaching, and the publication itself is an historical document, ethical questions facing the yearbook staff are challenging and unique.

For that reason, members of the Journalism Education Association’s Scholastic Press Rights Commission and representative winners in the Yearbook Adviser of the Year Competition have created ethical guidelines students and teachers might use in creating their own policies.

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Journalism organization resources

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• American Society of News Editors  The ASNE Youth Journalism Initiative, launched in 2000, provides journalism-related training and resources for teachers and students through its website, SchoolJournalism.org . The initiative also sponsors weekly and monthly journalism contests for students, as well as the Quill and Scroll International Writing and Photo Contest . ASNE’s goal is for every student to learn why news matters and acquire the skills needed to succeed as 21st century citizens.

• ASNE Reynolds High School Journalism Institute The Reynolds High School Journalism Institutes are intensive two-week journalism training programs for secondary-school teachers coordinated by the ASNE Youth Journalism Initiative. The Institutes combine in-depth instruction on journalism skills with hands-on experience in reporting, writing, editing, design, videography, photography, multimedia and online news. Teachers learn how to help students develop news literacy skills and understand their rights and ethical responsibilities as student journalists and citizens. http://www.schooljournalism.org/reynolds-high-school-journalism-institute/

• Center for Scholastic Journalism The Center, located at Kent State University in Ohio, is committed to conducting and collecting the best national and international research on scholastic media and the role it plays in journalism education and citizenship training. The center also provides educational, legal and ethical scholastic resources. http://csjkent.edu

• Columbia Scholastic Press Association Founded in 1925, the association unites student editors and faculty advisers working with them to produce student newspapers, magazines, yearbooks and online media. The association is owned by Columbia University and operated as a program affiliated with its Graduate School of Journalism. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cspa/

• Journalism Education Association The nation’s largest national scholastic journalism organization for teachers and advisers. The organization offers training workshops and conventions, print and online educational and resources, and monitors and defends First Amendment and scholastic press rights issues nationally. http://jea.org http://jeasprc.org http://jeadigitialmedia.org

• National Scholastic Press Association The National Scholastic Press Association provides journalism education training programs, publishes journalism education materials, provides media critique and recognition programs for members, provides information on developments in journalism and student media and provides a forum for members to communicate with others and share their work. Through these activities, NSPA and its divisions promote the standards and ethics of good journalism as accepted and practiced by print, broadcast and electronic media in the United States. NSPA and its divisions also endorse and advocate free expression rights for student media. http://www.studentpress.org

• Quill and Scroll Society Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists was organized April 10, 1926, at the University of Iowa by renowned pollster George H. Gallup and a group of high school advisers for the purpose of encouraging and recognizing individual student achievement in journalism and academics. The organization provides educational resources, contests and workshops for students and educators. http://www.quillandscroll.org

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Importance of designated open forum status

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Why choose open public form status for student media? Consider these options.

1. There is no requirement that any government agency establish a forum of any kind.

2. But once a government does establish a forum, it cannot dictate the content of that forum.

3. Jurisprudence sees three types of forums: open, limited, closed.

4. The closed forum is a place that traditionally has not been open to public expression. Examples, in schools, could be newsletters or other means of communication not open to public use. So long as restrictions are reasonable and not based on a desire to suppress certain viewpoints, the government may close public access to them.

5. The open or traditional public forum is a place with a long history of expression, such as a public park or street corner. The government can only impose content-neutral time, place and manner restrictions on speech in this forum. To override the open, public forum status, the government would have to show a compelling interest.

6. The limited forum has the most problematic history. It is a space with a limited history of expression activity, usually only for certain topics or groups. A meeting hall or public-owned theater are examples. The government may limit access when setting up a forum, but may still not restrict expression unless there is a compelling interest. Schools, as government institutions, may, by policy or practice open student media for indiscriminate use by the public or some segment of the public.

7. A designated public forum enables students to make decisions of content, thus empowering them to practice critical thinking and civic engagement roles.

8. Educational value of the designated open forum is mirrored by the fact most schools have mission statements identifying these as essential life skills for students to learn while in school.

9. Prior review and a lack of trust in the product (students) schools are expected to produce undermines the very missions school officials say are among their most important.

10. Studies have clearly shown that students, and communities in general, do not understand the importance of the First Amendment. One reason may be that students are not allowed to practice what they are taught while in schools and thus do not believe the theories of the democratic system.

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