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SPJ J-Ed Committee supports student journalists at Tarleton State


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8/27/2021


CONTACT:
Matthew T. Hall, SPJ National President, 619-987-7786, mhall@spj.org
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Director of Communications and Marketing, 317-361-4134, jroyer@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists and its Journalism Education Committee support the student staff of the Texan News Service at Tarleton State University.

We are disappointed by the university’s recent decision to delete a series of stories published in 2018 detailing accusations of sexual harassment against former Tarleton professor Michael Landis. We believe this decision sets a dangerous precedent that encourages future censorship of student media.

The series of stories published in 2018 about the accusations against Michael Landis gave a voice to members of the Tarleton community about an important issue and were journalistically sound. The TNS journalists accurately reported that Landis was not found to have sexually harassed anyone, that a Tarleton administrator recommended his termination and that Landis voluntarily left Tarleton.

While the Texan News Service is part of the communication studies department at Tarleton, TNS’ own website states that it is “training the next generation of journalists” and that “Tarleton Journalism and Broadcasting students graduate with the investigative skills and hands-on experience that employers demand.” We applaud this mission and note that it means Tarleton student journalists must be able to pursue their work without interference from the university administration. They must be supported when confronted with attempts to intimidate them.

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.

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