This year’s theme is “Bold Journalism, Brave Advocacy,” and SPFI has an arsenal of resources to empower members of the student press to report without fear and stand up for their rights.
There comes a time in many student journalists’ college careers when they have to ask themselves the question: are we going to get sued if we publish this?
Whether it’s a risky quote, a photograph, sensitive information, or a story someone higher up isn’t thrilled about, Can I Publish This is a choose-your-own-adventure-style resource that walks student journalists through the problems associated with contentious content.
With modules on defamation, prior review and restraint, intellectual property, and privacy, Can I Publish This has the answers for how to proceed to avoid legal risk in reporting. By learning how to proactively avoid legal risk, you can be confident in publishing your most controversial and hard-hitting stories.
We also developed a Can I Publish This interactive course as a companion to the website; be on the lookout for more courses on student press topics coming soon.
SPFI’s 24/7 Hotline
SPFI’s 24/7 hotline is there for those times when a student journalist needs to talk to a real person, even in the middle of the night.
Our staff will pick up the phone to provide guidance and answer questions about legal issues that arise in the course of newsgathering and publication. We’re here to weigh in and hopefully ease your mind when lingering questions threaten to stop you from breaking the story. Give us a call anytime day or night at 717-734-SPFI (7734) with emergencies, curiosities and anything in between, and we’ll be glad to chat.
For the phone call-averse (we get it, phone interviews can be tiring!), submit a case online.
Trainings and Events
If you’re interested in learning about topics like press rights and how to get info from the government — or if you’ve already caught the media law bug like all of us at SPFI — find us at our upcoming in-person events. Come learn more about what we do and how we can work with student journalists and their newsrooms; we’re here to make your reporting sharper, more thorough, and risk-free so you can tell the stories your community needs to hear.
We’ll be in Charlotte this weekend talking to the North Carolina College Media Association about media law, public records, and more.
And be on the lookout for applications for SPFI’s own summer conference this June. Accepted student journalists will receive a travel stipend to join us in Philadelphia, for a day of learning from and engaging with professional journalists, SPFI staff, and other members of the student press from across the country.
Can’t make any of these events? SPFI will come to your newsroom for free, virtually or in person. Reach out, and we’d be glad to talk about planning a training based on your needs.
For recordings of previous webinars and trainings, check out SPFI’s YouTube playlist.
Student journalists play a vital role in educating their communities and setting up the future of journalism at large, and SPFI is here to provide the resources needed to empower dogged, impactful reporting in the face of repercussions or censorship.
While Student Press Freedom Day may only come around once a year, SPFI will be here to support student journalists in their bold journalism and brave advocacy all year long.
FIRE defends the rights of students and faculty members — no matter their views — at public and private universities and colleges in the United States. If you are a student or a faculty member facing investigation or punishment for your speech, submit your case to FIRE today. If you’re a faculty member at a public college or university, call the Faculty Legal Defense Fund 24-hour hotline at 254-500-FLDF (3533). If you’re a college journalist facing censorship or a media law question, call the Student Press Freedom Initiative 24-hour hotline at 717-734-SPFI (7734).