Justice Scalia speaks in support of the Constitution

We should celebrate Constitution Day by praising the document as it was written, and not by adapting it to the whims of society or of court judges, Supreme Court associate justice Antonin Scalia said Monday."The source of our freedom is the Constitution that we're celebrating today," and not the Bill of Rights, he said.In a speech at George Washington University, Scalia addressed the need to remain faithful to the framers' ideas in order to keep the judiciary, and other governmental bodies, from overstepping their bounds.

FCC report dramatizes media industry’s dependence on student labor

While it's uncertain how the American public will get news in the future, and who'll pay the cost of reporting it, it is increasingly clear that the media will rely on unpaid college students not just as trainees but as front-line news gatherers.An exhaustive survey of the media landscape commissioned by the Federal Communications Commission includes among its recommendations that the donor community underwrite "journalism residencies" for new graduates along the model of residencies for newly graduated physicians.

Censored Colorado students to receive Iowa State SPJ’s First Amendment award

Two student editors from Overland High School in Colorado will be honored by next week by the Iowa State University chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.Lori Schafer and Jaclyn Gutierrez say principal Leon Lundie shut down their newspaper and removed their adviser after they wrote a story about a student who died.

Virginia approves revised, journalism-friendly social media guidelines for teachers

The Virginia Board of Education unanimously approved guidelines for the prevention of sexual misconduct March 24.The original proposal—brought forth in November—underwent months of debate, resulting in the approval of a drastically reduced version.Although intended to deter school employees from engaging in inappropriate relationships with students, the initial proposal could have been detrimental to student journalism in Virginia.The November proposal included communication restrictions such as:

  • No text messaging between students and teachers.
  • No communicating with students using non-school platforms, including popular social media sites Facebook and Twitter.
  • No “ongoing” meetings with a student without notifying the principal and obtaining written parental consent.
The approved guidelines do not include those restrictions, but instead call for transparency, accessibility to parents and administrators, and professionalism in content and tone.The guidelines also indicate administrators should develop local policies and practices that deter misconduct and provide guidance for educators.The initial restrictions were criticized by journalism advisers and strongly opposed by the Student Press Law Center.SPLC Executive Director Frank LoMonte said the board did a good job of listening to Virginia teachers’ needs and changing the guidelines accordingly.“I think it’s a real testament to the power of teachers’ voices that the board of education has throttled back on the most severe restrictions,” LoMonte said.

Back to School Checklist: Evaluating your staff’s ‘media-law radar’

For better or worse, knowledge of the law continues to be an ever-growing part of the skill set required of all journalists, including students.One fairly quick -- and mostly painless/sometimes entertaining -- way to check how much your students/staff know about media law as they head back to the newsroom is to direct them to the SPLC's Test Your Knowledge of Student Media Law quiz series.

Saving education coverage – here’s one solution that costs nothing, except trust

One-point-four percent. That is how much of their time and space leading news organizations are devoting to education coverage, according to scholars at The Brookings Institution who've studied how the decline in staffing at mainstream media outlets is impacting both the quantity and the quality of school news.The Brookings study, "Invisible: 1.4 Percent Coverage for Education is Not Enough," was released in December 2009 by a team headed by Darrell M.