How to communicate to police that you’re a journalist while covering a protest

Law enforcement may not be familiar with the student press. They may see you only as students, and not know or understand the essential role of student journalists in covering public events such as protests. This letter may be helpful in providing law enforcement with evidence of your claims. Carry a physical copy (do not… Continue reading How to communicate to police that you’re a journalist while covering a protest

Student coverage of racial justice protests

Protestors in Wilmington (NC) gather on the steps of City Hall downtown. (Panda Omo)

Student journalists are on the frontlines of protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on May 25. Through their coverage, students are keeping their communities informed on protests, curfews and local government response, despite attacks from police and risk of exposure to COVID-19. In order to recognize and express our appreciation for… Continue reading Student coverage of racial justice protests

The Student Press Law Center condemns the attack on Ohio State University student journalists who were covering protests

The Student Press Law Center, joined by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the College Media Association, condemns the attack on student journalists from Ohio State University who were covering a protest in Columbus on June 1. Journalists from The Lantern were lawfully covering a protest taking place adjacent to the campus. Confronted… Continue reading The Student Press Law Center condemns the attack on Ohio State University student journalists who were covering protests

Students face restricted access to open records and meetings due to COVID-19

creativesignature / Pixabay

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, student journalists are facing issues obtaining public records and accessing what should be open meetings. SPLC staff attorney Sommer Ingram Dean said a majority of the calls to SPLC's legal hotline in March and April have been about COVID-19 related access issues. She said student journalists have called about:  Experiencing… Continue reading Students face restricted access to open records and meetings due to COVID-19

“We’re documenting history”: How students are reporting, producing and distributing yearbooks during the coronavirus pandemic

Photo courtesy of Samantha Berry, yearbook adviser at Bridgeland High School in Cypress, Texas. Because the school was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Berry's students had to work late nights on laptops from cars parked in the school's lot to get the server access they needed to finish the yearbook.

At the beginning of March, yearbook staffs around the country were putting the final touches on spreads they'd been working on for months, getting ready to send final copies to printing plants to be printed and distributed like normal. Now, just weeks later, the COVID-19 outbreak has thrown yearbook students and advisers into chaos.  RELATED:… Continue reading “We’re documenting history”: How students are reporting, producing and distributing yearbooks during the coronavirus pandemic

PRESS RELEASE: Virginia expands college press freedom protections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 13, 2020 Contact: Hillary Davis, New Voices Advocacy and Campaign Organizerhdavis@splc.org Governor Ralph Northam has signed legislation codifying press freedom protections for student journalists at colleges and universities and protecting college media advisers from retaliation for refusing to infringe upon those protections. Sponsored by Delegate Chris Hurst, HB36 ensures that student journalists… Continue reading PRESS RELEASE: Virginia expands college press freedom protections

COVID-19 severely affected student newspapers’ advertising sales. This is how some news organizations are coping

Universities around the country have closed their doors and student publications canceled their print editions, leaving news organizations and worried about the coronavirus’s economic impact.

In early March, University Daily Kansan was gearing up for their biggest advertising sales of the academic year because of their No. 1 ranked men’s basketball team. Then, the coronavirus pandemic started spreading more rapidly in the U.S. prompting a slew of event cancelations followed by the University of Kansas shutting its doors for the… Continue reading COVID-19 severely affected student newspapers’ advertising sales. This is how some news organizations are coping

Opinion: Marsy’s Law needs to be amended to keep the public better informed on crime

Police agencies are misinterpreting a victim rights law, and it isn’t helping the victims or the public

This opinion piece reflects the point of view of the writer. Cameren Boatner is a reporting intern for the Student Press Law Center. Students have a right to know when a crime occurs in their backyard – especially when the crime is sexual violence. But a law intended to protect victims is leaving the public… Continue reading Opinion: Marsy’s Law needs to be amended to keep the public better informed on crime

No criminal charges filed after VCU student government members trashed 875 copies of The Commonwealth Times

An empty newsstand of The Commonwealth Times
SGA members allegedly cleared out kiosks and trashed newspapers last Wednesday VCU’s main campus. (The Commonwealth Times / Hannah Eason)

UPDATE: No criminal charges are being filed after 13 newsstands were emptied at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.  On Feb. 26, 2020, members of VCU's Student Government Association were seen trashing copies of The Commonwealth Times that included an article detailing ongoing conflicts within SGA. According to a statement by the VCU Police Department, detectives… Continue reading No criminal charges filed after VCU student government members trashed 875 copies of The Commonwealth Times

How to access the information you need to cover mental illness at your school

Ulrike May / Pixabay

Editor's note: This story provides tips for finding information about mental health in schools. For guidance on ethical considerations while covering these stories, please consult National Alliance on Mental Illness or Active Minds. For legal considerations, contact SPLC's legal hotline.  Mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression are rising among teenagers. According to Active Minds,… Continue reading How to access the information you need to cover mental illness at your school