Student Victory in Court of Appeals

Sunday, November 13, 2011

United States Supreme Court

Last Wednesday the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that school districts can not discipline newspaper advisers for allowing students to run material in student publications that the administration does not approve of. According to the First Amendment Center, the Allamakee School District reprimanded adviser Ben Lange after students at Waukon High School published material in the school paper's April Fool's Day edition that the principal found offensive. Find the case, Lange vs. Diercks and Allamakee School District, here.

The case is being hailed among students and journalism instructors as an acknowledgement of student rights, feared by some to have been taken away in 1988 after the Supreme Court ruled in Hazelwood School District vs. Kulhmeier that administrations had the right to censor student publications.

What does this case really grant students? Admittedly, some of the content that Waukon High School's newspaper the Tribe-une can be considered in poor taste- for instance, the students included a derogatory name for a rival high school and a parody cartoon of a biology teacher caught running a meth lab. But the students involved in the scandal are going to learn a lot about the journalism world.

First, edit your content- just because you have the right to say it, doesn't mean you always should. Making sure you can stand by what you write without holding regrets is a valuable skill in journalism. Basically, if you're going to get in trouble for it, make sure it's good. But also, students do have rights. Critically assessing every situation, both in the classroom and out, is a good way to monitor when your rights are being violated. Students should want to know when boundaries are stepped on and how they can fight back.

Students, stand by your words. And if someone is getting punished for that, then there's a problem.

Photo credit/NCinDC,


Social Media Information in Newspapers

The Monitor of McAllen, Texas, is now printing the Twitter usernames of its reporters by their articles so that readers can follow them on Twitter.

At the end of each story in the paper, it lists how to get a hold of the reporter by facebook, phone, and e-mail.

According to an article on, the goal of adding social media information to the articles is to get more readers to follow, friend or like the reporters on Facebook and Twitter.

Executive Editor Steve Fagan says he is "encouraging reporters to show a little more personality through the social networks than they do normally in print or even online reporting, to make our people a little more human."

Fagan wants his reporters to engage their followers and friends on Twitter and Facebook and by adding some more personality on these sites, they have a better chance of being liked and therefore being read in the newspaper.

Reporters are also allowed to show more opinion on the social media sites than in an article. By being more personable they are more likely to connect with their readers.

"I've been 40 years in the business," Fagan said. "We (newspaper journalists) have gone out of our way to be invisible people, keeping ourselves out of it. When you're doing social media, it's not really possible to keep yourself out of it."


Google and Twitter to the Rescue!

After the allegations of Herman Cain's sexual harassment, people started to view Cain in a new light.

Theres one thing that can truly hurt a presidential candidate when he or she is in the process of running, and that thing is scandal.

It is then when people really start questioning, "Is this guy the guy we really want running our country?"

But good news is, Herman Cain has found a way to fight these allegations head on. By using social media and a popular search engine as his aid. Cain is using keyword Google and Twitter search ads, such as: "Cain Sharon Bialek", which leads to an option of Cain's website CainTruth, which was a paid attempt to bi pass the scandal. The campaign had also bought a promoted Tweet when anybody searched "Herman Cain" on Twitter.

I believe that Cain has made a pretty smart attempt on continuing his campaign and trying to get away from these allegations.

Works cited:


Who Is It?

Many people around the world today are victims of identity theft, but the mayor of West Valley City, UT was not a victim; he was instead a thief.

Poynter describes Mike Winder as not stealing a person's identity, but making a fake name up to boast about himself in the Deseret News.

Is making up a fake name the same as stealing some one's identity though?

I believe that it is the same because it provides the readers with opinions of a person that are assumed to be true. I also believe that the newspaper is at fault for not verifying the credibility of their sources.

All media needs to be sure to check their sources because they could lose credibility from their consumers.

Richard Burwash, the so-called writer, submitted four articles to the Deseret News boasting about Mike Winder, when in all reality Winder was being arrogant.

In doing this, Winder hurt his image as a person and also as mayor for the city.

Did the newspaper rush the article to be printed? Did the mayor pay someone off to keep this under the table? Is this a case of identity theft?

All these questions should be sought by a journalist to find the answer, because I believe this is wrong. What do you think?


Who Is It


Freelance Mayor

For a long time the citizens of West Valley City had been reading articles about their town in the Desert News written by a freelance journalist named Richard Burwash. Little did they know who exactly Richard Burwash was.

It turned out that the mayor of the city, Mike Winder, had been using the pen name to write positive stories about his town. Winder was tired of reading negative articles in the paper about his town so he decided to start writing freelance stories about what positive things were going on in his town.

In an article with the Associated Press Winder said that 56 percent of the coverage of West Valley was about crime.

Winder submitted all of his articles through Desert Connect which is a website for freelancers to give their stories to submit their stories to Desert News and other news networks.

Winder decided to tell the truth about his pen name because he is looking at running for the Mayor of Salt Lake City.

"I would rather disclose it on my own terms then a political enemy," said Winders



  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP