Year of the Student Journalist

Brave, dedicated student journalists report important stories and produce content that shines a light on their community. Sometimes they are the only reporters in the room at important public meetings. They often break stories through diligent investigation and good reporting. Yet student journalists are continually threatened by censorship, retaliation, budget cuts, lack of access and many other challenges. Their advisers are also sometimes threatened for standing up for students’ First Amendment rights. Few people understand the important contributions that journalism education makes to civic life. So, in order to fix that, 2019 is the Year of the Student Journalist!

Jump to:

About Year of the Student Journalist:

Spearheaded by SPLC, the Freedom Forum Institute and the Newseum, the Year of the Student Journalist will consist of a calendar year (2019) of high-profile national programming and local student-led events designed to raise awareness about the important role of student journalists, the struggles they face, the need for state-based legislation to protect the First Amendment rights of student journalists and their advisers (New Voices), and to validate the importance of journalism education. 

There are three main goals of the Year of the Student Journalist:

  1. Raise awareness of the vital work and impact of student journalists as they report on their schools and communities (including the important role they play filling gaps in news deserts.)
  2. Highlight the challenges student journalists face as they are confronted with censorship and prior review policies.
  3. Showcase the contribution of journalism education to engaged civic life.

So, SPEAK UP! This is YOUR YEAR! The Year of the Student Journalist will help create and frame a national narrative about the need for and importance of student journalists and journalism education. Your voices and experiences are a vital part of making this year a success.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Get Involved:

There are many ways to participate in Year of the Student Journalist, and we encourage you to get creative! Here are just a few ideas:

Join the Student Front Pages Project:

As part of the celebration of student journalists, throughout 2019, the Newseum will showcase student newspapers in its Front Pages display on Pennsylvania Avenue and on the Today’s Front Pages app.

Email for specific instructions on how to participate in the Student Front Pages Project.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Student Press Law Center (@studentpresslawcenter) on

Write an Op-Ed About #StudentPressFreedom:

More than 50 student publications across the country have published columns about the importance of a free student press. See what they wrote, and sign up to join:


  • Help us spread the word about Year of the Student Journalist by circulating this flyer.
  • We also encourage you to use the official logo of Year of the Student Journalist in your social media posts, op-eds, flyers and other content. Make sure to also use #StudentPressFreedom on Twitter and Instagram. (Click the logo and choose which file format you’d prefer.)

Recent Events:

Jan. 30 — Student Press Freedom Day

The kickoff event of Year of the Student Journalist included students around the country writing op-eds, hosting events, and flooding social media with #StudentPressFreedom messages. The Newseum also unveiled displays with the first selection of the Student Front Pages Project (see above).

Feb. 18-28 — Anniversary of Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent Community School District

A celebration of youth voices and the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court ruling in favor of student speech. All February events include Mary Beth & John Tinker. See all #Tinkerversary events.

Full list of highlights from Year of the Student Journalist

Upcoming Events:

March 30 — City of Pittsburgh’s annual Inclusive Innovation Summit panel

A panel discussion on the importance of student-led media outlets on college campuses, the role they play in covering campus and community news (and, in some case, filling news voids in information deserts), the challenges they face, and their work in training the professional reporters/editors of tomorrow. The focus of the panel for the event was inspired by the fact that it’s the Year of the Student Journalist. The panel will feature 3-5 editors of student-led college newspapers from universities from across Pittsburgh, Pa. (I am a professional journalist and the faculty adviser of Chatham University’s student-run newspaper, the Communiqué.)

April 3 — Make News

A day of educational activities, games, and open conversation focused on ethical journalism and freedom of speech at Somerset Community College in Somerset, KY.

Get Your Year of the Student Journalist Swag:

We’ve got all kinds of Year of the Student Journalist gear including shirts, hats, mugs and bags. You can find some SPLC swag too! 25 percent of each purchase benefits SPLC.


Year of the Student Journalist Partner Organizations (in formation):