Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« In the Hall, Cutting-Room Floo... | Morning News »

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I Was a Teenage Press Bill

posted by on March 13 at 6:51 AM

I got word a little after midnight last night that my favorite bill, the student press bill, passed the House 58-37.

Three GOP amdendments, including one that would have taken highschool students out of the bill, limiting the First Amendment protections to college students—failed.

Onto the Senate. If it passes there, Washington state will rightly grant its students greater rights than the limited federal rights (I’d call them restraints rather than rights) put in place by the Reagan-era courts.

Three cheers. Okay. I’ll shut up about all this soon enough.

RSS icon Comments


hey, I've been following this too. I think it's a worthwhile story. I hope the Senate does the right thing.

Posted by Jamey | March 13, 2007 10:12 AM

Hey, jabber away about this -- don't apologize. It's important! How the hell else are kids going to learn what their rights are as members of the press, and how to exercise them fully?

Look at how long the current law has been in place, and the weakened press that it has help create.

(I admit it, I'm a former H.S. newspaper editor, so I'm a dork about this, too.)

Posted by RLV | March 13, 2007 11:11 AM

I am totally with you on this one, Josh.

Posted by ivan | March 13, 2007 12:46 PM

Freedom of the press belongs to the people who own the press. If the little shits want to print something the principal or school board doesn't like, they should distribute their own little broadsheet. Desktop publishing programs make it easier than ever, and the Internet lessens the need to actually print anything.
Real journalists have a right to say what they want, but they don't have a right to get it printed in the paper. No one would deny that Frank Blethen has the right to keep an article or column out of his paper. This bill would give 16-year-olds a right professional journalists don't have and would deny the taxpayers (through their elected representatives, school board members) control over the press they pay for.

Posted by Ed the Head | March 13, 2007 2:59 PM

Nice work Rep. Upthegrove nice work indeed.

Posted by Giffy | March 13, 2007 6:38 PM

Ed the Head,
The difference between Frank Blethen altering the content of the paper, and a school administrator altering the content of the student paper, is that the school administrator is a GOVERNMENT official. When the government censors the news, that's censorship. The student reporters still will have their work subject to editing by the student editors of the they don't really have any greater authority than other papers. The fact that the school papers are (sometimes) funded, in all or part, by the taxpayers, makes it MORE eggregious that principals will squash ideas that they don't agree with. They should be public forums for a free exchange of ideas subject to the reasonable contraints in the bill...rather than the whim of a tight-assed principal.

Posted by PressMan | March 13, 2007 7:41 PM

Ed's capitalist bullshit rings pretty goddamn hollow -

The press does not exist to serve the people's interests, despite the fact that they pay for it. You can't eliminate a high school paper simply because your taxpayer dollars fund it. You can choose to NOT READ IT, much as you could choose to unsubscribe to the Times. The difference is, yes, in one case you still pay for it, but you're not paying for the paper - you're paying to develop the next generation of free-thinking, inquiring minds dedicated to the tenets of free press and the dissemination of information to all. The government has no right to infringe upon these liberties, and this bill is exactly the kind of thing the Constitution implies.

Posted by Jeff | March 14, 2007 10:46 AM

Oh, and Ed, as one of those "little shits" you so demean, fuck off and die. This country will be better off when people like you are rotting in the fucking ground.

Posted by Jeff | March 14, 2007 10:50 AM

And I suppose I get no credit for having been one of those little shits as a reporter for my high school newspaper, which, by the way, occurred within the last decade.

But I'm greatly relieved, PressMan, to know that the seniors will be looking over the juniors' work. That filtering system means we shouldn't have any concerns. And since the bill eliminates schools’ liability for what is printed in their papers, those kids can pay for their own libel defense. Hooray!

I don't think anyone here thinks students shouldn’t say what they believe or stand up when there are problems in their schools. One would hope that if a H.S. principal had a problem with a story that was critical of the administration, they would be adults and let it run anyway.

This bill certainly raises large questions about government-funded press. And do these concerns go only as far as student newspapers? Could, say, state Department of Health director Mary Selecky prevent something from being printed in the agency newsletter? If so, what’s the difference? It’s government-funded, right? Sounds like censorship.

Posted by Ed the Head | March 14, 2007 4:02 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).