Thursday, August 19, 2010

How Much Does a Free Press Cost? -OR- A Child Shall Lead

"If the role of the press in a democratic society is to have any value, all journalists – including student journalists – must be allowed to publish viewpoints contrary to those of state authorities without censorship by the authorities themselves. Without protection, the freedoms of speech and press are meaningless and the press becomes a mere channel for official thought." Dean v. Utica Community Schools (2004)

I can't imagine the level of control and censorship that takes place in thousands of high school newspapers. I'd likely not even think about it at all. Ever. I've spent many years and killed many brain cells trying to forget about my glory days.

Still, it's good to know that somebody, somewhere thought enough about the kids to convene a summit on the state of school-based student publications trying to come up with some ways to HELP budding journalists. They certainly aren't going to find good role models in the Murdoch/HuffPo/Howler Monkey "new media" models.

The hell with Peoria, I want to know how this will play in Texas. Protocol For Free and Responsible Student Media (.pdf file)

Of course, it might be relevant to question teaching journalism in high school at all in 2010-11. The future is bright enough, if you don't mind being homeless and hungry or are willing to dutifully fill in the media conglomerate's template.

Still, the remaining non-cynical me sees a glimmer of hope in batches of kids with
skills and abilities to churn out relevant copy and know-how to get that into readers' hands. Imagining thousands of start-ups to provide news we can use appeals to the pirate in me.

Brighter Days?

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