The Rights & Responsibilities of Student Journalists
I. The First Amendment
II. Student Journalism and The Law
III. Ethical Journalism
IV. Unbiased Reporting
V. Coverage and Angles
I. THE FIRST AMENDMENT
1. Pop Quiz! Discuss: What are the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment? When you think you know, check your answer against the First Amendment:
In 1919, American judicial philosopher Zechariah Chafee said:
"Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man's nose begins."
2. Discuss: (i) What did he mean by this? (ii) How does this apply to the freedoms Americans have through the First Amendment? (iii) Are there situations in which Americans’ First Amendment rights can be reasonably restricted?
II. STUDENT JOURNALISM AND THE LAW
1. Spend 15 minutes reviewing the three laws that govern student journalism. Keep in mind that laws can conflict with one another. When that happens, newer laws typically take precedence over older laws.
2. Discuss: (i) What rights do you have as a student journalist? (ii) What are your responsibilities as a student journalist? (iii) How does this apply to your specific publication (newspaper/broadcast/yearbook/social media)? Are there any differences?
3. Review IPSD's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) page along with Stan Zoller's blog post about the rights, responsibilities, and ethics surrounding student journalists using FOIA.
4. Discuss: (i) What is the Freedom of Information Act? (ii) When might your publication need to file a FOIA request? (iii) What are the possible consequences student journalists should consider prior to filing a FOIA request? (iv) What steps should student journalists take in order to create an effective FOIA request?
III. ETHICAL JOURNALISM
1. Review the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics. There are four sections; divide-and-conquer by assigning different members of the team to different sections.
2. Discuss: (i) What was the big idea of your section? (ii) Which of the points did you find particularly important? Why?
3. Discuss: Overall, what is ethical journalism? Create a one-sentence mantra you can keep in mind throughout the year.
IV. UNBIASED REPORTING
1. Review the summary of "Media Bias."
2. Discuss: (i) Why is it important for our publications to be unbiased? (ii) Under what situations is it acceptable to public biased content?
V. COVERAGE AND ANGLES
1. Review this guide about yearbook coverage.
2. Discuss: (i) What defines great coverage? (ii) How can we ensure we have great coverage in our yearbook? (iii) What mistakes do we need to ensure we avoid?
Jostens also has a great presentation about coverage. It's pretty long, but it's worth checking out for some awesome coverage ideas:
1. Review slides 1-7 of this presentation about news coverage.
2. Test your skills! Follow the directions on the top of this news judgement practice test:
I. WHAT MAKES A GREAT PHOTO?
Study the Pacemaker-winning photos in the gallery below. Discuss: (i) What makes each picture a great shot? (ii) What story does each picture tell? (iii) What choices did the photographer make to get the shot? (iv) Overall, what were the judges looking for in these award-winning photos?
II. CAMERA BASICS
1. Take 15 minutes to quickly review slides 1-49 in this presentation about controlling the light that comes into your camera.
2. Discuss: What are the three ways you can control how light comes into the camera? Grab a camera and demonstrate how you can adjust each of those three elements.
3. Play: Use the Canon virtual camera to practice how you can control your exposure. "Take" four pictures to demonstrate your mastery of exposure: (i) Propellers in sharp focus. (ii) Propellers blurred. (iii) Deep depth of field [everything in focus. (iv) Shallow depth of field [only the plane in focus].
Photo By: Morgan Saucier
El Paisano, Westlake High School, Austin, Texas
III. COMPOSING YOUR SHOTS
1. Spend 15 minutes reviewing this presentation on shot composition strategies:
2. Discuss: What are scenarios in which you will use each of the following composition strategies? (i) Rule of thirds, (ii) Repetition, (iii) Leading lines, (iv) Framing, (v) Selective focus
3. Practice: Use your phone to take three pictures that demonstrate mastery of three different shot composition strategies from the presentation. You are encouraged to leave the room and find shots around the school. Be back in 10 minutes to share your three shots with the group.
Photo By: Kelsie Sneegas
The Indian, Shawnee Mission North HS, Overland Park, Kan.
IV. TELLING STORIES
1. Review the gallery from Section I. Discuss: Pick five different photos and discuss the story being told in each photo. What choices did the photographer make to capture that story effectively?
2. Review this presentation about News & Feature photography. Discuss: How can you capture a story in your photos?
2. Practice: Work with a partner (yearbook + newsmag) to create a Six Words & Six Shots photo story about Metea Valley using the Flipagram app on your phone.
Photo By: Zoe Kaiser
The Lowell, Lowell High School, San Francisco, Calif.
1. Review this presentation on cropping images.
2. Discuss: What three things should you keep in mind when cropping your images?
3. Practice: Work with a partner to... (i) Review these random shots from around Metea Valley. (ii) Identify three images that could be cropped to make the image more powerful. (iii) Download those three images and crop them in Photoshop.
Photo By: Jack Ford
The Pioneer, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Mo.
There are stories going on all around us right now at Metea Valley. Your job is to partner up with a reporter to go out there, find a story, conduct interviews, get photos, and craft a story. The best stories will be posted on Metea Media.
1. Partner up with a reporter.
2. Wander the building to find a story.
3. Help your report conduct some interviews. [Remember to ask for permission and to record the interviews.]
4. Get great shots that capture the story. [Remember: Metea Media pictures are horizontal.]
5. While your reporter is crafting the story, review this presentation about post-processing images:
6. Use Photoshop to crop and edit your three best shots.
7. Work with an editor to review and revise your work.
8. Touch base with your reporter to get her/him the photo to include with the story.