Monday, February 07, 2005

Freedom in print

I'm glad I went back and read the Times article instead of just reacting to the post. I thought the author was for censorship when I first saw the post.

I was a high school journalist, and had to fight the district office on many of my stories. I believe the 1st amendment and the rights it gives us as citizens and journalists is probably the one thing in life I am most liberal about, and I will always defend those rights.

The censorship issue is not what I found the most interesting about the article though. David Shaw summed up perfectly what is wrong with journalism and the teaching of journalism. Shaw wrote that the journalism adviser had been pulled from the English department to advise the program.

Shaw said, "[...]it is typical of what is happening in high schools nationwide. As budgets are cut, journalism programs are often eliminated or combined with English departments, where teachers — their skills in literature and grammar notwithstanding — often lack the journalistic background to give students proper guidance in the practice and, especially, the ethics of newspaper work."

It is one thing for the administration and faculty to belive the student was wrong in publishing the story, but how can they judge the student or the adviser when proper education was not provided? Parents would expect any teacher and administrator to have a proper education to teach their students and make decisions for them about their education, so why shouldn't the same be demanded of a program that is more than just an elective?

Journalism in high school is suppose to challenge students to ask the questions not asked and to seek the truth, which is often hidden in school districts. If journalism was treated as an academic subject and taught with certified journalism teachers, I believe the new reports on the 1st amendment and high school would be dramatically different and the school district would be more understanding.

Until half the nation has been censored though, I really don't expect the administration or anyone else to truly understand the student, the press or their rights.


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