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Campus Access Center

Students in SPJ News
Essential Tutorials, courtesy of Quill Magazine
Helpful Links
All About FERPA

The Society of Professional Journalists is here to support student journalists nationwide as they begin to mold their careers. Whether it’s 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, you’ll 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

5/23/2024: SPJ Foundation awards over $45,000 in grants to seven initiatives and journalism programs
5/21/2024: SPJ announces 2023 Mark of Excellence National Winners
4/29/2024: Region 12 Mark of Excellence Awards 2023 winners announced
4/29/2024: Region 8 Mark of Excellence Awards 2023 winners announced
4/25/2024: SPJ condemns arrest of Fox 7 News photojournalist, calls for law enforcement to allow journalists to report without interference
4/24/2024: Region 11 Mark of Excellence Awards 2023 winners announced

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 state’s 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. That’s just wrong, and in most states it’s illegal. So don’t 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, you’ll find dozens of ideas for FOI programs suitable for professional chapters, campus chapters or newsrooms. You’ll 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.


Helpful Links

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

Relevant Articles:
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


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