The Seattle Times' Opinion on "Public Forum" Student Papers

"But we say again it is a risky thing to give legal control of a high-school newspaper to students."

Seattle Times Editorial

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Responsible Reporting--the link works now

The students at DHS know how to write responsibly. Check out the March issue.

Teen pregnancy is a controversial topic and they handled it quite well--showing different points of view and sharing resources. They should aim for more articles like that, rather than things designed to shock or retaliate. You can check it out here.

March 2010 Rostrum

It should be pointed out that Alex E. said they were more careful with the March issue. It shows.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


The Puyallup School District won the lawsuit. Thank goodness. After two years of costly litigation, the mess is finally over (barring an appeal).

The case hinged on whether permission was given by the students to have their names and stories published in the JagWire. One of the students whose parents were suing told a friend she was going to lie about giving permission. I expect that had something to do with the outcome.

A limited public forum where students make legal decisions for themselves and the school is a bad idea. It's bad for the school district. Even though the Puyallup school district chose to run the student paper as a public forum and not oversee what was published and said the student journalists were responsible for the content, they were named as defendants in the lawsuit and paid a high price.

I don't think they will go back to a public forum format any time soon.


Dexter Leader: Thanks to everyone for keeping the issue fresh at the Dexter Leader. I love the letters and comments. Smart--to the point--great!    You can read the letters here.


The most offensive photo has been removed from online version of the Feb. 2010 Squall. That's great, but it doesn't go far enough. The paper was distributed to the entire student body and numerous businesses around Dexter. The Club Crome article was published online and left there for nearly two months--all after one of the students in the photo asked that it not be distributed with the photograph included.

Removing the photo implies that publishing it in the first place was a mistake--but it's too late.  The picture has been seen by a lot of people. A prior review might have stopped the photo from being published in the first place.

There are still plenty of teenagers grinding and several of them are clearly recognizable in the remaining photos.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

To Sum Up

The school board will have the chance to choose from among 4 possible policies for the Squall.

You can read them here.

The Plymouth-Canton school board chose one of the same 4 media policies from NEOLA on March 23rd. Here is their committee report with recommendation from March 9th (13 minutes long) and their vote (5 minutes long) on video.

Policy Committee Report (the first 13 minutes)

Plymouth-Canton School Board Vote (skip ahead to 2:00:45--Find out which option the board voted for.)

It will be interesting to see what our school board does. If there is any news, I will post it.

I think this blog did what it set out to do: raise awareness in the community. The school board has the unenviable job. If you would like to send us a message, email us through the "contact us" link and make sure to leave your name.

The blog has gone from it's highest daily page view count of 3,189 and first time visitor count of 1,101 on March 29th to an average this week of 361 page views per day and 183 first time visitors per day.

Although we touched on other issues, the main focus has been supervision for The Squall. And that is certainly getting the attention and discussion it deserves.

Thanks for everything: the good, the bad and the ugly.

[I might still post the page "Who is the Student Press Law Center and why are they emailing school boards?"

The SPLC reminds me of my big sister when she said, "I've got a great idea. You should rig the kitchen sink sprayer to spray mom when she turns on the water." I did. And about the time mom got sprayed in the face, and my sister started laughing hysterically, I knew I'd been had.]

Monday, April 12, 2010

Regarding Journalism in the Real World

There is no unfettered free speech at newspapers. The publisher and the editors decide what does and does not get published. If they don’t like an article that a journalist has written, it either doesn’t run or it is edited. They edit articles based on: 1) their own personal prejudices and standards; and 2) the standards of the community in which the newspaper is published. They know that if they publish articles or advertisements that are offensive, then people stop buying the paper and the newspaper loses lots of money in subscriptions and advertising. This is the way that all newspapers except for some high school and college papers work. I know because I worked for a paper the size of the now-defunct Ann Arbor News for eight years writing and editing and working in advertising.

Dexter High School journalism students should get the full journalistic experience. They should be prepared to work in the real world. They should be better supervised – just like at a real newspaper. They should have their articles edited for content to reflect the standards of the community – just like at a real newspaper.

I’ve read several issues of the Dexter Squall. I applaud those journalism students at Dexter High School who work hard at producing quality articles. However, some students are taking the low and easy road. Their tabloid journalism is offensive and not fit for any high school newspaper or for 99 percent of the newspapers published in this country. It is better that they learn this lesson now, than to be allowed to continue to produce articles that no respectable newspaper would publish.

Michael P.
(worked at a newspaper for 8 years)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Comment--email submission


I appreciate that there's a lot of legal stuff going on here. But I would like to get back to the basic topic of "have you seen what's in the paper" because I cannot believe they are allowed to publish those photos and articles and things like "if you want to grope your boyfriend but can't do it in the halls, go to the dances and do it there."  And what about that girl who said in a paper from 2008 that she was groped against her will at a dance. She didn't like it and she didn't want it to happen. 

I am probably going to be called names, too, but this is a school paper for goodness sake. It reads like it's for college students and my 13 year old is not ready for that in September!!
I finally got the Club Chrome page to load and I'm disgusted. Save it for facebook and print school news. And that drug dealer article is not funny. Is that supposed to be an advertisement for a job selling drugs (easy money and you won't get caught)?

Sincerely (and actually thanks for writing this blog and sharing the information),
[last name withheld by blog editor, since you have a child heading to the high school next year]

[here's the link to the original post Have you seen what's in the DHS paper?]