Maintaining Independence

One of the potentially biggest issues for scholastic publications is maintaining independence from the school system. While the most obvious way this independence may be threatened is through administrative review, student staff members themselves often threaten their own independence.

In Kansas there is a student press law the grants the authority to determine content to the student staff members – not the administration OR the adviser. This is a law allows scholastic publications in Kansas to remain free from prior review or restraint; however, it doesn’t stop students from self-censoring or engaging in PR rather than news.

The temptation to not cover something because it might reflect poorly on the school or a team can be hard for students who aren’t just journalists but members of the school community. It’s important to teach them that being truthful rather that’s positive or negative facts is a journalists job and that sometime they have to separate their loyalty to the school or their friends from their responsibilities and loyalties as journalists in order to maintain independence.

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