News State Senate Edits High School Journalists Out of Student Press Bill
posted by March 31 at 1:36 AMon
Bad news for student journalists: The student press bill was gutted by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday. High school students are no longer included in the bill. Only college journalists are protected from censorship.
Earlier this week, I wrote a column supporting the original bill—which granted full First Amendment rights to both high school and college reporters. Specifically, the column criticized The Seattle Times for its lengthy March 25 editorial against the bill— where they got the basic facts wrong. I’ve also written several Slog posts, like this one, in support of the bill throughout the session.
Rather than saying anything more, I’m publishing the statements issued today by: Kathy Schrier (President of the WA Journalism Education Association); Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-33), the sponsor; and Brian Schraum (the student who brought the idea for the bill to Rep. Upthegrove.)
Here’s an excerpt from WSU student Schraum’s statement:
…the professional press share a part of the blame. Several newspapers, most notably the Seattle Times, editorialized against HB 1307. While I expected the paid administrator lobbyists to work actively against us, I really did expect better from the Times. I never thought I’d see the day when government censors and professional journalists would join hands against a free press – but the Seattle Times has exceeded my expectations.
Perhaps the greatest, scariest lesson I have learned from this process is not about the student press. It’s about the professional press, and the sad state of affairs this country is in when not even journalists will stand up for the First Amendment.
The Democrats outnumber the Republicans 5-3 on the committee. I’ll check in with bill sponsor Upthegrove to get his take on which Dems abandoned his bill. Rep. Upthegrove’s bill passed the House 58-37 on March 12.