Start with your state’s scholastic press association

One of your best resources for developing a network of support is your state’s scholastic press association. Contact them, find out where and when they hold board meetings and attend one (if at all possible) to discuss the need for New Voices legislation in your state.

As I mentioned on the home page, this is where everything started for me. Even before North Dakota passed its bill sparking New Voices movement, I brought up the topic at a Garden State Scholastic Press Association board meeting. It had been a difficult couple of years for student journalists and their advisers in New Jersey. In 2013, I resigned as adviser of the school newspaper¬†after a new administration insisted on more editorial control, and then in 2014¬†an adviser in South Jersey was removed from his position for supporting his students’ right to fight censorship, and an adviser in another part of the state was pressured to resign after his students fought censorship. So the need for legislation was apparent in the summer of 2014 and for me it was personal.

It had been a difficult couple of years for student journalists and their advisers in New Jersey. I resigned my position after a new administration insisted on more editorial control, an adviser in South Jersey was removed from his position for supporting his students’ right to fight censorship, and an adviser in another part of the state was pressured to resign after his students fought censorship. So the need was apparent in the summer of 2014, and for me it was personal.

And while the board was certainly receptive and supportive to the idea of state legislation, there was one board member who knew what it would take and was willing to go much further. I was fortunate enough that the Executive Board of the GSSPA had a member who had tried to enact scholastic press rights legislation in the wake of Hazelwood decision – and came very close to succeeding. And now, some 25 years later, he was ready to try again.

While John Tagliareni was retired from teaching and advising, he was still very active in the GSSPA and the JEA serving as a member of the Scholastic Press Rights Committee. With him as a partner, the desire for legislation now had direction, focus, experience, and purpose. Admittedly, I was very lucky, but even if you don’t find someone with the qualification and characteristics of a John Tagliareni, your state’s scholastic press association can be a valuable resource to find

Admittedly, I was very lucky, but even if you don’t find someone with the qualification and characteristics of a John Tagliareni, your state’s scholastic press association can be a valuable resource to find a network of support and hopefully someone you can count as a member of your “core group” which JEA lists as step one in their “Promoting Scholastic Press Rights Legislation: A Blueprint for Success.

Certainly, state scholastic press rights associations are a great place to start to develop this core group, but they are by no means are they the only resources. Click here for other ideas.

 


One thought on “Start with your state’s scholastic press association

  1. […] your state’s scholastic press association is a good place to start, there are other resources ... newvoicesnj.org/2016/12/03/developing-your-core

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