Finding the key to press rights

The First Amendment protects the freedom of the student press at public colleges across the country, but private institutions operate under a different set of rules -- they are not under the same constitutional obligation to allow any type of speech or any freedom of the press on campus. Some student journalists at private colleges have found ways to protect themselves, though.

Profiles in courage

Students, advisers and administrators engage in confrontations every day about the limits of free speech for student journalists. Students and advisers often must act bravely, putting their reputations and even careers on the line in the name of press freedom. And yet, despite courageous efforts, those involved in conflicts over First Amendment issues rarely receive the attention deserved for their heroism in defending principles of free speech.

Student journalists need shield law protection

There are legitimate policy arguments for drafting and applying shield laws with reasonable limitations to guard against their abuse to frustrate justice. But we should be beyond the point where your authenticity as a journalist is defined by who signs your paycheck. Shield laws are about protecting the integrity of the newsgathering process, and unpaid students increasingly work at the heart of that process.

Covering suicide raises tough questions for high school papers

Whether and how to cover suicide cases in a high school publication presents a dilemma. The newsworthiness of such a topic is clear, but the effects of reporting on such an unfortunate event to an age group in the height of self-discovery can be brutal, unlike many other stories in the publication. There is no simple "right" or "wrong" answer to covering suicide.