STUDENT JOURNALISTSUSPENDED AFTER PRANK
The editor of a high school newspaper in Indiana was suspended after taking photographs of and laughing at a senior prank involving 26 students who jumped into the school pool with their clothes on. All but one of those students was suspended, along with the editor, The Indianapolis Star reported.
Jason Pearce, 17, editor of The Quaker Shaker at Plainfield High School, said he was suspended because he laughed.
“I was just covering a breaking news event,” said Pearce, who has been accepted at two colleges.
Principal William Wakefield, who issued the suspensions, has not accepted that argument.
“I suspended him because he was taking pictures, and that was encouraging students to break the rules,” he said. “He was also in an unauthorized area and had not been assigned to do a story on that.”
Wakefield confiscated Pearce’s camera, which was later returned without the film.
Pearce and his mother have objected to the confiscation and suspension and have asked school officials to reconsider, according to WRTV.
The Star reported that Mark Goodman, executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va., said efforts to censor student journalists are common, but the Plainfield case is a little different.
“It is pretty unusual to see a student journalist censored or suspended for simply covering an event,” Goodman said. “Typically, the censorship efforts come as they prepare to publish a story or photograph. I think this situation falls in the area of being legally questionable.”
PRINCIPAL TO BEGIN PRE-PUBLICATION REVIEW
Articles on teen-age sexuality in the Wenatchee (Wash.) High School newspaper violated School Board policy, and the principal plans to exercise his right to review the paper before it is published in the future.
Principal Mike Franza said the articles in the Jan. 30 issue of the Apple Leaf, which included a graphic on how to use a condom, violated district policy because that information was excluded from health classes dealing with sexuality, The Wenatchee (Wash.) World reported.
Journalism teacher and Apple Leaf adviser Logan Aimone attended the meeting but declined to talk about discussions he and Franza had following publication of the articles. No Apple Leaf staffers attended.
According to district policy, Franza has the right to review newspaper content before publication. He hasn’t exercised that right in the past.
The policy says if the principal and editors disagree on content, the superintendent and the School Board can be brought in.
SOME COLLEGE PAPERS OPPOSE FREE ‘USA TODAY’
A campaign by Gannett Co. newspapers to attract new readers on college campuses has run into an unlikely adversary – college journalists.
For several years, the nation’s largest newspaper company, through its USA Today and several regional papers, has worked to persuade college administrators to buy thousands of copies and distribute them in bulk, free of charge, in dorms and activity centers.
As part of its sales pitch, Gannett tells college administrators that students who read papers are more informed about local and world events.
To support this assertion, USA Today distributes national and local papers of rivals, such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, along with its own publication.
But some student papers are beginning to put a wrench into Gannett’s efforts, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Like commercial newspapers, many college newspapers rely largely on advertising to survive. They fear they will lose both advertising revenue and readers to the much-larger regional and national papers.
In November, students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette followed the advice of their campus newspaper and voted down a proposal to distribute bulk copies of the Daily Advertiser, the local Gannett paper, at the school.
And advocates for the student newspaper at Western Michigan University this year helped kill a similar program promoted by the Kalamazoo Gazette, a unit of Advance Publications Inc.
At Vanderbilt University in Nashville, USA Today officials twice tried to convince university administrators to buy into their program. But administrators declined, largely because of concerns about the Hustler, the biweekly student newspaper.
The Wall Street Journal reported that no student newspaper has folded at any of the 185 campuses that have participated in the USA Today program.