Protocol for a Free & Responsible Student News Media
The McCormick Foundation Civics Program is pleased to present a Protocol for a Free & Responsible Student News Media. The protocol was developed to help student journalists and school administrators build relationships that will foster a responsible and free student news media in schools. You can download the document online.
All too often student media fall victim to the inevitable tensions associated with schools’ perpetual balancing act between freedom and structure. The Protocol is our best effort to find balance between these two interests. It is a consensus document that student journalists, their advisers and school administrators can turn to repeatedly during times of both harmony and discord. When a controversy surrounding a student newspaper gathers headlines in the professional press or ends up in the courtroom, all parties lose. On the other hand, when adversaries become allies and contentious issues are resolved through thoughtful discussion, all parties win.
The Protocol also builds on the work of the Illinois Civic Blueprint. Released in 2009, the Civic Blueprint details six promising approaches to teaching civic education in high schools across the state. Student journalism is one of the many activities that encourage greater involvement and connections to school and community, leading to lifelong civic engagement.