The Society of Professional Journalists is here to support student journalists nationwide as they begin to mold their careers. Whether its a campus chapter, student media outlet or individual, SPJ is here to offer advice, training and up-to-date information on important freedom of information decisions.
On this page, youll find resources that can help you and your chapter regarding freedom of information news and education.
You also may contact SPJ Headquarters at any time if you have comments, questions or concerns.
Together students, alumni and professionals alike we continue the fight to preserve and protect the freedoms granted by the First Amendment and help the public understand those freedoms.
Students in SPJ News
• 3/24/2020: Region 1 Mark of Excellence Awards winners announced
• 3/24/2020: Region 11 Mark of Excellence Awards winners announced
• 3/23/2020: SPJ and ACP launch weekly award for college journalists covering COVID-19
• 11/20/2019: SPJ contests add fact-checking, 360 video, data visualization categories
• 9/6/2019: Chris McCrory from Arizona State University awarded MOEy Best in Show
• 9/6/2019: Eastern Kentucky University is awarded SPJs Campus Program of the Year award
See archive for more articles
Essential Tutorials, courtesy of Quill Magazine
How to Conduct a Campus FOI Audit
FOI audits are great tools to monitor open-records compliance and check weaknesses in your states laws. Audits return journalism to its roots by protecting citizens rights to freedom of information and keeping government accountable. The purpose of the audit is to test how easily the average citizen can obtain public records. Here is a condensed guide on conducting an audit on your college campus.
FOI Toolbox: Make copies of documents on the cheap
What good is access to government records if it costs as much as a bank buyout to get copies? Too often public agencies charge more than they should for copies of records, sometimes as much as $1 or more per page. Thats just wrong, and in most states its illegal. So dont stand for government gouging. Here are 10 tips for reducing or eliminating those outrageous copy fees.
10 great FOI programs for chapters, newsrooms
Chapters and newsrooms are doing great work in freedom of information, so the FOI Committee decided to share some of its programs with everyone. At the SPJ Web site, youll find dozens of ideas for FOI programs suitable for professional chapters, campus chapters or newsrooms. Youll also find tips for writing about FOI, quotable expert FOI sources and studies, and FOI teaching ideas. Here is a snapshot of 10 program ideas.
• Associated Collegiate Press
• Columbia Journalism Review
• High School Journalism Initiative
• Journalism Association of Community Colleges
• National Scholastic Press Association
• The Poynter Institute
• The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
• Student Press Law Center
All About FERPA
The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act was enacted in 1974 to protect the privacy of students and their education records. Unfortunately, school districts across the U.S. have twisted the law to deny records that would have otherwise been accessible. Reporters continue to strive for these records and for accountability within school systems.
We hope these resources help journalists gain access to what would otherwise be kept secret.
Language of the Law: GPO Access / FERPA
• The SPJ Guide to FERPA
• Quill: FERPA Foibles
• SPJ News: Restraining order against Wyoming newspapers is revoked
• SPJ News: Columbus Dispatch writers win First Amendment award for reporting on FERPA