Adviser Update Summer 2016 - Page 35

ALUMNI WITH FREEDOM They are individuals who have been influenced as high school editors, artists and photographers experiencing the value of freedom of expression. Four YouTube videos, produced by EchoXtra talent, reinforce the results. The Educational Impact introduction demonstrates how journalism teaches skills for success. • The proof? Explore “EchoXtra 2015 FREEDOM TRILOGY: How Journalism Changes Lives.” See these sites: “Journalism Engages Thinkers” “Journalism Activates Citizens” “Journalism Develops Leaders” • The inspiration? The videos show what every committed group of journalism alumni could produce to show off their high school experience. • The challenge? Which groups of alumni will take up the challenge to add support for the Student Press Law Center? As scholastic media alumni, they can continue to influence high school journalism. They can promote the importance of ethics, content, standards, facilities, momentum and finances. It is great to interact with the high school journalists themselves, but the alumni also can endorse a national vision. “When people in authority and in schools and in colleges tell us that we must keep a heavy hand over student journalists because there is no telling what they might do, our response must be, ‘No, we must have the lightest touch possible over these journalists because there is no telling what they might do,’” said Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center. The Echo alumni recognized that the Student Press Law Center had been a strong support, beginning in 1976, which was only two years after SPLC was founded in 1974. The connection enabled staffs to avoid mediocrity, limitations and censorship. Rather than getting people out of legal jams, the Echo prepared the way for freedom to publish by relying on legal guidance ahead of publication. Always the goal was to serve all readers and to prevent administrators from caving in to uninformed faculty who feared student reporting and student opinions. The administration knew that the Echo, which was delivered to all students and faculty, had the best legal advice, thanks to SPLC, and the best legal support, thanks to connections to top Chicago media attorneys via the free help of the Illinois Education Association. Following legal guidance, the Echo established essential standards: no list of stories in upcoming issues, no prior reading by any administrator or faculty member, no penalty for any student journalism action and counsel about how to protect students’ rights to make all content decisions when signing the national book contract with the publisher of the Teenagers Themselves Trilogy, 1984-88. ALUMNI WITH DREAMS Everyone needs to experience journalism as a reader, viewer or listener. The fortunate, though, participate as journalism producers. They deliver emotional stories, under crisp, powerful headlines and create vivid graphics and photographs. In the process, they discover the value of giving entertainment, enlightenment and enhancement. They realize publication efforts are a hefty assignment: brainstorming, meeting and calling adults they do not know, completing multiple kinds of deadlines, editing, fact checking and dealing with the unexpected emergencies. Whew! 35 Journalism gifts need not end with the publication of a newspaper issue, the post to a website, the appearance of a new yearbook or the sign off of a television program. EchoXtra 2015, a celebration of 26 years, 1967-1993, when newspaper students worked together on Glenbard East Echo staffs, demonstrated the power of that giving. Media staffs might think about how to establish a tradition of giving to honor freedom of expression. For example, staffs could donate a graduation thank you to Student Press Law Center. They could encourage seniors and parents to participate. If 100 or 1,000 staffs establish this tradition, the dollar impact could happen soon. Plus, they are on the road to future support. We hope that the EchoXtra event is simply a beginning. Hundreds of scholastic media alumni, whether from small, large or rural, urban or suburban schools, have the power to celebrate and to donate to the Student Press Law Center. As for all journalism productions, brainstorming produces fantastic results.