Welcome to Raising New Voices!

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This website is designed as a guideline for those who are pursuing state legislation to protect the First Amendment rights of student journalists and their advisers. New Voices Legislation helps to better define those rights for students, advisers, and school administrators. Please use the menu to learn more about gathering support and anticipating opposition, navigating the legislative process, involving students, and crafting the message and using the media. The timeline lists the steps we’ve taken so far in the process. It will be updated as we go  forward.

Certainly, this is not the first time someone has provided a blueprint for passing scholastic press rights legislation (See this post, for a review of other resources available). The approach of this site will be to follow our efforts in New Jersey and reflect on our progress and frustrations. Along the way, I will share what I’ve learned through research, our experiences and through the experiences of others who have attempted (or are attempting) to pass similar legislation.

I will also be adding a video series of lessons from a symposium that was held at Kent State University on November 18 and featured leaders from states that have passed New Voices legislation or are currently pursuing it.

Early on, I was fortunate enough to partner with John Tagliareni who came close to getting legislation passed in New Jersey in 1988 in the wake of the Hazelwood decision and has been fighting for student rights ever since.  There has been no greater resource to this project. John’s experience, knowledge, and mentorship have been invaluable. I was lucky to be brought together with him through the Garden State Scholastic Press Association, happy that he was willing to go through this process again, and proud to call him my friend.

The first lesson I learned is clear: seek out people with experience, knowledge, and passion in the fight for student free expression rights in your state.

This website is also part of my final project for the Master’s of Arts in Journalism Education program at Kent State University. This program has been another great resource for this project. Much of the coursework, feedback, and support from professors and classmates have culminated in this project.

Please share questions and thoughts in the comment sections.


Tom McHale

You can contact me at tmchale2@kent.edu  


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