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Student Press Quiz
Student Press Quiz
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What rights do student journalists have? Test your knowledge!
1. True or False: The First Amendment only protects professional journalists.
Incorrect. The First Amendment protects all journalists, including students. Freedom of the press is super important! So important that it's one of the five rights listed in the First Amendment. Press is also the only career that's specifically protected by the Constitution.
Correct! The First Amendment protects all journalists, including students. Freedom of the press is super important! So important that it's one of the five rights listed in the First Amendment. Press is also the only career that's specifically protected by the Constitution.
2. True or False: School administrators ALWAYS have the final say over what gets published in the school newspaper.
Incorrect. Just because a school has a student-run newspaper, that doesn't mean school administrators can always control what can and can't be published. A lot of it comes down to whether your publication is a Limited Public Forum--in other words, how independent your publication it is. The more independent your paper is, the less the school can control what goes into it. You'll see some elements to help figure out if your paper is a limited public forum in the next question.
Correct! Just because a school has a student-run newspaper, that doesn't mean school administrators can always control what can and can't be published. A lot of it comes down to whether your publication is a Limited Public Forum--in other words, how independent your publication it is. The more independent your paper is, the less the school can control what goes into it. You'll see some elements to help figure out if your paper is a limited public forum in the next question.
3. Select each of the following factors that make a school newspaper more likely to be a Limited Public Forum.
Students make the newspaper as part of the school curriculum and get graded for their work
Incorrect. If a teacher or adviser has to review articles before they're published, it's less independent, so less likely to be a limited public forum. The school has more control over reviewing what goes into a paper if it has to be checked for a grade.
The newspaper is independently funded by students and ad sales; the school doesn't give any money for the publication
Correct! If a newspaper funds itself, it is much more independent, meaning the school gets less say in how it is run. This makes it more likely to be a limited public forum.
The newspaper is an optional club that meets after school hours
Correct! Meeting after school hours means the decisions are made by students on their own time, so the school will have less say over what goes into the paper. This makes it more likely to be a limited public forum.
The paper has a faculty adviser to check for grammar, but student editors decide what stories to cover
Correct! All newspapers should have a system of checks for spelling mistakes, grammar, etc., but if students are the ones deciding what articles go into the paper and what stories they will cover, the newspaper is more likely to be independent. This makes it more likely to be a limited public forum.
The school board has a written policy that defines the newspaper as a non-public forum
Incorrect. Be careful of the wording here! A non-public forum means the newspaper is more considered more privately run, meaning the school has quite a bit more a say over what goes into the paper. If the written policy says that the newspaper is NOT a limited public forum, believe it.
4. A friend of yours tells you that she has been diagnosed with ADHD and is taking medication for it. You ask if you can write an article interviewing her about her experiences dealing with ADHD. She agrees, and you write the story without getting permission from her parents. Will you violate her privacy by publishing the story?
Yes, because you didn't get her parent's permission to publish the story
Incorrect. Even though it is always a good idea to get permission from a student's parents, you don't invade the student's privacy as long as she knew you were writing the story and she gave you permission to do so.
Yes, because it violates FERPA
Incorrect. FERPA is a law that protects student education records from being revealed by the school. A student's ADHD diagnosis might be part of that record, but since the reporter gets the information from the student herself, rather than the school, FERPA does not apply.
No, because she gave you permission
Correct! A person can only sue for invasion of privacy if you publish private information about that that would be offensive if it got out. Usually, medical records are private, but if the student tells you about her diagnosis voluntarily and seems to be talking about it to others, it's not a private fact anymore. Since she gave you permission to write the article, she knew it was going to be disclosed. However, it's always advisable to get permission from the student's parents.
No, because she is your friend
Incorrect. Just because someone is your friend, that doesn't mean you can't invade their privacy. If she had told you about her diagnosis and expected you to keep it secret and then you published the story, that would break her trust and violate her privacy because she didn't expect the information to be disclosed.
5. True or False: A school newspaper can't be sued for libel because the articles are written by students.
Incorrect. Someone can sue for libel any time you publish false information about them that hurts their reputation. Just because an article is written by a student doesn't mean they are immune from this standard.
Correct! Someone can sue for libel any time you publish false information about them that hurts their reputation. Just because an article is written by a student doesn't mean they are immune from this standard.
6. You're writing a story about Instagram for your school newspaper and want to include some screenshots of the best pictures you've found on there. Which of the following would not likely violate copyright (hint: there may be more than one answer)?
Printing the pictures in the paper, but naming the poster in the caption
Incorrect. Just giving credit to the creator of the work isn't enough. The owner/creator of the work gets full say over how and when their art is used, even if it's just a picture. You can still violate copyright by posting that image without the creator's permission.
Printing the pictures in the paper, but only after getting permission from the poster
Correct! This is the best option. The owner of a copyright can give you permission to use the work. This is the most surefire way to make sure you're not infringing copyright!
Printing the pictures in the paper, but putting a hyperlink to the Instagram where it was found
Incorrect. Just giving credit or linking to the original isn't enough. The owner/creator of the work gets full say over how and when their art is used, even if it's just a picture. You can still violate copyright by posting that image without the creator's permission.
Not printing the picture at all, you don't want to infringe copyright
Correct! If you're worried about copyright infringement, you can just opt to not use the image. You won't run any risk this way. While this is a good way to avoid copyright infringement, we also want to encourage creativity. If you can get permission from the person who posted the picture on Instagram, there's no reason not to use the work.
7. A student photographer uses a school-owned camera to take pictures of the basketball game. He hasn't signed any waivers or contracts about his rights. Who owns the copyright to the photos?
Correct! You get a copyright the moment you create something that has some small amount of creativity and is fixed in a tangible medium. In this case, the student photographer had a copyright to his pictures the moment he clicked his camera. Since he was the one who put in the creativity to frame and take the picture, he is the creator of the photo, so he owns the copyright, even if the school owns the camera, especially since he didn't sign any waivers that would change that.
Incorrect. Even though the school owns the camera, the student is the one who put in the creative work to capture the picture, so he owns the copyright to the photos. The school could have had the student sign an agreement that the school would own the copyright, but that didn't happen here.
Incorrect. The principal really has nothing to do with the pictures in this case. Even though the school owned the camera equipment, because the student put the creative work into taking the photo, he got a copyright for his photos the moment he clicked the button on his camera.
No one, since a copyright was never registered
Incorrect. Since 1977, you don't have to register anything to get a copyright. You get a copyright the moment you create something that's slightly original and fixed in a tangible medium. The student in this case had a copyright to the pictures the moment he clicked the button on his camera; no registration needed.
8. Your school newspaper publishes a controversial front-page story about a school board member being fired. You get them all set up in the newspaper racks near the entrance of the school, but the next morning, you see that they have all been stolen! Does this theft violate your First Amendment rights?
No, this is not the sort of thing the First Amendment protects
Incorrect. The First Amendment was made to protect a free press and the free expression of ideas. Censorship can take many forms, including stealing a newspaper to make sure people don't read a particular story. This is exactly the type of thing that the First Amendment protects.
Yes, no matter who stole them
Incorrect. Remember, the First Amendment only protects you against government actors, so whether or not it would protect you in this case depends on who stole the papers. If it was a school employee or administrator, they are government actors that could violate your First Amendment rights. If it was just a group of students pulling a prank, the First Amendment would not protect you against them. Even so, many states have special criminal newspaper theft laws that apply to everyone.
Yes, but only if a school employee or administrator stole them to keep the story from getting out
Correct! Remember, the First Amendment only protects you against government actors, so while students pulling a prank would not be covered, public school employee or administrators would be responsible for violating your First Amendment rights if they stole the papers to keep the story from getting out.