First Amendment Mileposts in 2012

Four noteworthy First Amendment cases for college media in 2012

By Frank D. LoMonte
Executive Director, Student Press Law Center


MugLogo_LoMonteWith the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Hazelwood ruling approaching on Jan. 13, the College Media Review asked the Student Press Law Center’s executive director, Frank D. LoMonte, to take stock of the state of free expression rights on college campuses –which, as LoMonte notes, “is a frequent source of litigation, as courts try to make sense of a shifting and sometimes muddled area of First Amendment law.”

During 2012, courts decided four particularly noteworthy cases directly bearing on the legal rights of student journalists and bloggers – including one especially significant case recognizing that the Constitution can protect advisers as well as students against retaliation by public institutions.

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Blogs as varied as bloggers themselves

‘You just never know what is going to grab interest’

By Pat Winters Lauro
Kean University


Drake University student Rachel Weeks was midway through spring semester when a blog post she wrote for a magazine writing course about turning a T-shirt into a tank top hit Internet gold – 60,000 hits.

MugLogo_Lauro“She posted a picture to Pinterest and it just exploded,” said Jill Van Wyke, assistant professor at Drake’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Des Moines.  “It was eye-opening.  You just never know what is going to grab interest.”

Now that even the Pulitzer Prize has been bestowed on a blog — The Huffington Post for investigative journalism — it begs the question:  what makes a good blog?

First, blogging is not journalism; it’s a delivery system. Many blogs are promotional in nature or advocacy blogs, an important distinction for students.  But within the profession, what makes a good journalistic blog depends on the type of blog it is, which can be as different as the sports page is from the op-ed page in a newspaper.  Still, Weeks’ post, the blog equivalent of a service feature, possessed common blog elements that resonated with its audience: it was concise, targeted a specific audience and it was interactive.

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Research Spotlight: Still in Growth Mode

Newspaper revenues, salaried positions grow; Online editions expand as well

By Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver
Florida International University

College and university student newspapers have long been positioned as training grounds for the professional press, modeling them in many aspects.

The newspaper business has faced financial challenges and technological change. So too have student newspapers wrestled with some of the same issues. This study was designed to look at how college and university student newspapers and online editions have fared in these economic times, and how they have also met some of the same challenges as their professional counterparts. Results show that total operating budgets and the number of salaried staff have increased. More papers report revenue from advertising, the first step to gaining greater independence and professionalism. In addition, the student press has welcomed technology and created and expanded online editions.

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Editors note

It’s payback time

Bob Bergland

The year was 1989. Reagan had just ended his term as office and I was an undergraduate searching for a topic for my senior honors thesis. As editor of my college newspaper at Millikin University, I was interested in researching media ethics at college newspapers. After discovering the existence of College Media Review (actually College Press Review, before the name change) and finding several valuable ethics articles in the journal, I was on my way.

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Bullying at a glance

Bullying can occur in all workplaces, including college newsrooms

Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating
  • Work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done.

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Research Spotlight: Caught in the Balance

Information Access in an Era of Privatized Public Higher Education

By Alexa Capeloto
CUNY in New York City


Introduction

Public information laws at the federal and state level enshrine a citizen’s right to petition public agencies for access to records and meetings related to the business of governance. Most such laws make no explicit mention, however, of private entities that do public work either instead of or in addition to what public agencies provide. As a result of vague or insufficient laws and ambiguous court decisions, information that might once have been accessible could potentially be withheld from the public because it has moved into the private domain. The tension between privatization and public access today is intensifying as public agencies increasingly contract out services, accept corporate sponsorship, create quasi-public entities or otherwise transact with private organizations and individuals. Nowhere is this more evident than at public colleges and universities, which are turning to privatization as state revenue, fiscal prioritizing and even the philosophical underpinnings of public education shift around them. In every state, student media journalists and advisers at public colleges should study relevant legislation and case law surrounding this issue, review contracts and communications with private entities and, when warranted, push for access when schools close the door on information that might once have been obtained with a simple request. This article is meant to provide a beginning for that process.

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Newsroom bullying will take tolls on students, adviser if left unchecked

Consequences of bullying are very real in workplace

By Jamie Tobias Neely
Eastern Washington University

Newsroom bullies, who may target other students out of earshot of their advisers, can be tricky to spot.

But the consequences of bullying, such as increased absenteeism and turnover, are not. An adviser who ignores newsroom bullies risks hampering student learning, damaging the quality of the publication and even hindering his or her own career.

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Book Review: Journalists around the world killed while doing their jobs

“War on Words: Who Should Protect Journalists” full of  in-depth research and interviews with 60 sources

By Pat Winters Lauro

During World War II, 37 American journalists were killed on the job, including the famous war correspondent Ernie Pyle, who was shot dead by a Japanese sniper in the Pacific.

In contrast, more than 1,000 journalists and their essential support staff, including drivers and translators, have been killed in just the last 10 years, according to the International News Safety Institute – and not necessarily because they were caught in crossfire. In a number of cases, they were targeted because of their jobs.  And their murderers got away with it.  According to INSI, eight of 10 murders of journalists have never been investigated.

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College Media — a look back at 2011-2012

College media enjoy, endure numerous revolutions, large and small

By Daniel Reimold
University of Tampa

The year began with a bombshell.  On the first day of school last August, The Red & Black, one of the largest and most-feted college newspapers in the country, announced it was switching from a daily to a weekly print edition.

The University of Georgia student paper simultaneously rolled out a digital-first workflow and publishing philosophy that made redandblack.com the “main arm for delivering the news of UGA to the masses.”  In an announcement message on a popular college media advisers’ list-serv, Red & Black editorial adviser Ed Morales dubbed the whole shebang Red & Black 2.0.

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Joining the Click: College Media Review now digital only

Welcome to the launch of the web-only version of College Media Review, the flagship publication of the newly-dubbed College Media Association, Inc., itself the new moniker for the organization formerly known as College Media Advisers since 1983 and founded as the National Council of College Publications Advisers way back in 1955.  Judging by that pattern, we brace for another name change around 2039.  But by any name, we’re the largest organization of college media advisers in the country, and role of College Media Review remains the same. Continue reading Joining the Click: College Media Review now digital only