Saturday, February 05, 2005

The future of the free press

The First Amendment "goes too far," according to a third of American high school students.

Jeff Pomerantz is so upset by the results of this Knight Foundation survey that he's gone and censored himself.

Let's not put all the blame on the students.

Finding 6: Most administrators say student learning about journalism is a priority for their school, but less than 1 in 5 think it is a high priority, and just under a third say it is not a priority at all. Most, however, feel it is important for all students to learn some journalism skills.

Finding 10: Of the high schools that do not offer student newspapers, 40 percent have eliminated student papers within the past five years. Of those, 68 percent now have no media.

High school newspapers have not really been "the free press" since Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988), which gave school administrators censorship rights (and responsibilites). A hopeful reading of Hazelwood was that it "may have unintentionally taught America's youth an important lesson about the precariousness of our constitutional freedoms." Instead, there's been at least one attempt to extend the case's logic to college journalism.

For a high school administration, the easiest way to comply with the burdensome requirements of Hazelwood is to shut down the student paper.

No, let's not blame the students entirely. They are, after all, somebody's students.

College journalism UPDATE at Romenesko: not so good.

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