Law and Ethics

Enacting Change in Policy on a State Level

hb441
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To the left is the title slide of a presentation that I made to begin an awareness campaign for Missouri House Bill 441, or the Cronkite New Voices Act. The proposed act will give complete First Amendment rights to all student journalists in public high schools or higher education facilities. This being said, I fully support the bill, and I only hope that it passes so that my fellow journalists will be guaranteed all of the rights entitled to them by the U.S. Constitution.

 

Education in Law and Ethics

In my four years in high school, I have learned quite a bit about the law as it relates to journalism. I’ve studied landmark court cases like Tinker v. Des Moines or Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier- which I hope will be overturned in Missouri soon- both in the student publications setting and in my Advanced Placement U.S. Government class last school year. My clean legal slate and my 5 on the U.S. Government AP Test are strong indicators of my ethical code and of my sense of what is right and legal. This ethical sense influences my view of the legal world, in which laws- generally- follow the ethical code adopted by our country. For this reason, I believe that a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong is paramount in understanding legal matters, especially in field of journalism.

I have had to put these skills into practice at times. I’ve had to do everything from verifying one or multiple sources to fact check a writer’s work to correcting situations where pieces that were weak or one-sided were published by others and had to be quickly unpublished from the website. In each case, I strove to maintain the standard of excellence that our audience has come to expect from FHN Student Media, and in the end, each incident’s mistakes were reconciled into a teaching moment for everyone involved, myself and other editors included. I’ve learned lessons from the FHN Student Media staff from making sure specific events really happened to making sure our claims against others, even in opinion pieces, are grounded in facts and reason. These lessons in law and ethics control my integrity as a journalist, and I will hold them dear as I seek a career in the journalism and communications field.

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