How Georgia College students are breaking news using the state’s open records law
By Pate McMichael, adviser, The Colonnade, and senior lecturer, Georgia College
The first story broke on a Monday morning in our group chat: “I just heard a GC bus hit a person.”
Over the next five weeks, Georgia College, a public liberal arts university in Middle Georgia with 7,000 students, would experience the death of bicyclist, a devastating fraternity house fire, a norovirus outbreak that shut down the dining hall, an armed robbery blocks from campus, and the shooting of a GC student who narrowly survived.
The Research and Creation of a Self-Guided, Online Ethics Training for College Journalists
By Amanda C. Bright and Catherine E. Jewell Eastern Illinois University
Recent political and social events have brought into sharp focus the issue of ethical behavior in the practice of journalism, thus creating a critical need for providing student media members with a solid ethical grounding. The pervasive issue of fake news has created a sense of urgency in the pedagogy of ethical standards, as well. Tim Gallagher highlighted a gap in journalistic understanding in his article, Living Up to Our Standards, stating:
The public does not understand how reporters and editors sift through potential stories, make decisions about what to cover (with disinterest for the partisan viewpoints), and then begin the process of accumulating information, discarding some of it, challenging “proof” that sources offer, and finally choosing the words that will tell the story. The public knows nothing of the editing process. Fake news has none of this. (Gallagher 2017, 22)
Students new to university newsrooms come often with this “public” understanding of journalism. Hence, the bulk of real journalistic training begins in university programs. Students, however, often begin publishing work through student media soon after starting college, when ethics courses may not have been taken yet. Continue reading “Infusing Ethics in our Student Media”
Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth, but these days we see legitimate news organizations being called liars on the one hand, and shadowy organizations spreading fake news stories on the other. We need a generation of citizens with a heightened aptitude for telling the difference between fact and fiction. Our democracy depends on it, and those of us who teach journalism to the next generation are doing all we can to ensure our students have that capacity. Our lessons emphasize research, fact checking, ethics and professionalism.
Student journalists who are trusted to make editorial decisions about what their readers need and want to know, and how best to handle controversial topics, develop a capacity to communicate effectively and to think critically. They foster a culture of civic discourse amongst their peers.
Unfortunately, many administrators, worried about the image of their school, have opted to exert editorial control over student newspapers. While their intentions may be good–to cast the school in the most favorable light, to ensure students don’t read about topics that may seem too sensitive for some–the results are often calamitous for all involved. The pedagogical process is undermined, and the administrators open themselves up to criticism from all quarters.
In an era where decisions to cover something and to publish something can be made in second, not hours or days, college educators — and working journalists — continue to struggle with how to teach ethics and what to teach. Clearly, it is more than giving students a link to a code of ethics and putting them out on the streets.
To foster education in media ethics, Missouri Western State University hosted the Cronkite Conference on Media Ethics for the second year including academic presentations, panel discussions, lectures and open discussions on various aspects of ethics.
Access to information sometimes takes a nudge, sometimes more
By Bradley Wilson CMR Managing Editor
Perhaps nothing is more frustrating to a college media adviser or a student working on the college media than being told that they — or their students — can’t have information. Sometimes just a phone call to the appropriate person can resolve the problem but often members of the media have to resort to filing a public information request.
While public university attorneys and other officials — acting on behalf of the state government — sometimes delay and appeal to the state attorney general’s office, sometimes just the request itself can remind public officials that their jobs are supposed to be conducted in a transparent fashion accountable to the public.
Needing prior permission to interview college athletes and coaches has become the norm rather than the exception for college and professional sports journalists, who must often first go through the school’s sports information director or athletic director.
That goes for in-depth pieces and after-game interviews, in-person interviews, texts, e-mails, Facebook and other forms of communication.
Sports information directors, with the blessings of their athletic directors, are increasingly forbidding journalists to communicate with players or coaches unless the communication has been arranged first by the sports information director or other one of the sports information director’s staff.
By Frank D. LoMonte Executive Director, Student Press Law Center
Fueled by billions in television and licensing revenues, college athletic departments are increasingly stiff-arming journalists by restricting access to practices and games. Meanwhile, media industry leaders are looking for ways to respond.
The start of football season in August 2012 brought a wave of new restrictions on journalists—professionals and students alike—who cover college athletics. Threatening to revoke press credentials or close practices, coaches at several schools, including the University of Southern California, Washington State University and the University of North Carolina, ordered journalists to refrain from reporting on player injuries observed during practices.
As globalization becomes an increasingly important part of modern life, universities are launching study-abroad programs in ever more remote and exotic destinations
Editor’s Note: The main focus of this issue is study abroad, highlighted by this and another article by CMR Vice President Rachele Kanigel. Kanigel is the executive director of ieiMedia, an organization sponsoring journalism study abroad opportunities this summer in Italy, France, Turkey, Israel and Northern Ireland.
By Rachele Kanigel
In a rural province of Cambodia, a broadcast journalism student from California State University, Fullerton shoots video of a blind man being fitted with a prosthetic hand, a replacement for the appendage that was shot off in the 1970s when he was fleeing the Khmer Rouge.
Four noteworthy First Amendment cases for college media in 2012
By Frank D. LoMonte
Executive Director, Student Press Law Center
With 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.
Embattled advisers should look to alumni networks, training and legislation to protect their jobs.
By Debra Landis University of Illinois Springfield
This year hardly had started before another college media adviser was fired following a controversy over student-managed content. Paul Isom, the student publications director at East Carolina University, lost his job after editors at the The East Carolinian newspaper published a full-frontal photo of a streaker among a series of photos on the front page. Continue reading “When controversial coverage lands on advisers”