Legal Issues: Florida A& M and The Famuan

Q&A with Student Press Law Center

The College Media Review’s Debra Landis asked Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, to weigh in on censorship and libel in the wake of a series of actions by Florida A&M in January involving the student newspaper, The Famuan. Among other things, the university temporarily halted publication, required editors who thought they had jobs for spring 2013 to reapply for their jobs, removed the editor-in-chief who had served in the top position fall semester 2012 and hired another student instead.

Asked how college media can avoid censorship, LoMonte says, “Getting your facts rights is the cheapest censorship insurance you can buy.” Continue reading

‘Tweetalongs’ merge social media, traditional police ridealongs

Engaging Twitter Audiences

Washington State University student journalist’s live observations during police calls provide followers with glimpse of the nightlife near campus. Such reporting should be considered with caution, SPLC warns.

By Dan Reimold
University of Tampa

Stephanie Schendel

This past academic year, Stephanie Schendel, the cops and courts reporter for The Daily Evergreen at Washington State University, has participated in occasional “tweetalongs.”  During these weekend ridealongs with patrolmen from the Pullman Police Department, she has tweeted live observations, providing followers with a candid, witty glimpse of quirkier after-hours community goings-on.

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Funding issues and independence

Dependence on student fees for media operating budget creates instant conflict of interest

By Debra Landis
University of Illinois Springfield

The scene seems surreal: Journalists asking politicians for money to help keep their operations going.

That is exactly what happens in U.S. institutions of higher education when the leaders of college publications that depend on student fees to augment newspaper operations are required to appear before student government groups to ask for money. Continue reading

When controversial coverage lands on advisers

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