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Front page of the The Free Lance a student newspaper of Pennsylvania State University from 1889.

A student newspaper is a newspaper run by students of a university, high school, middle school, or other school. These papers traditionally cover local and, primarily, school or university news. Working for one's high school newspaper is sometimes an extracurricular activity, but often, journalism classes are offered. Journalism students learn about the journalistic profession and also produce the paper. Some schools have a basic class in which students only learn about newspapers, and a class that produces the newspaper.


Student press in the United States of America

First Amendment protections for student media in the United States

Student press in the United States is protected in part by United States Supreme Court decisions such as Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District and Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, and numerous other decisions, including those at the regional and state levels.

Some states have laws which enhance the U.S. Constitution in protecting student expression. For a more detailed review of state and national student press rights, see the Student Press Law Center's site here.

John Silber and the b.u. exposure

University administrations have learned to get around constitutional protections and effectively diminish student newspaper critics by following the example of former Boston University President John Silber, who on the advice of Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, eliminated all funding for student newspapers in the 1970s in an attempt to suppress on-campus criticism. Silber's policy went so far as to ban student organizations funded by the university from placing advertisements in the student press. With his hands-off policy, Silber was able to eliminate the independence of The Daily News and financially crippled the more-radical b.u. exposure. The exposure sued Silber and the University for infringement of their First Amendment rights, but the courts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts eventually dismissed their case. Silber's "hands-off" policy was validated.

High school vs. college student press rights

Hazelwood and Tinker offer conflicting versions of student free expression. Student-directed publications may indeed be considered open or limited public forums for student expression, offering students freedom of expression under both Hazelwood and Tinker.

Hazelwood, for example, does not say administrators must review or censor their papers before publication. In fact, journalism education organizations, like the Journalism Education Association, argue that prior review has no legitimate educational merit and is only a tool leading to censorship.

Under certain limited conditions and situations presented by Hazelwood, school administrators may be permitted prior review of (mostly high school) student publications.

Until June 2005, the Hazelwood standard was not considered to apply to public college and university newspapers, a decision most recently affirmed in the 2001 appeals court decision in Kincaid v. Gibson. However, in June 2005, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, in Hosty v. Carter, that the Hazelwood standard could apply to student publications that were not "designated public forums," and in February 2006 the Supreme Court declined to hear the students' appeal. At this time, the Hosty decision applies only in the states of Illinois (including Chicago), Indiana and Wisconsin.

In response to the Kincaid decision, the California State Legislature passed AB 2581, which extended existing state-level statutory protection of high school student journalists to college and university students.[1] The bill was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and took effect on January 1, 2007.

Controversy over alleged censorship actions has led some student newspapers to become independent organizations, such as The Exponent of Purdue University in 1969, The Daily Californian of the University of California, Berkeley in 1971, The Daily Orange of Syracuse University in 1971, The Independent Florida Alligator of the University of Florida in 1973, The Cavalier Daily of the University of Virginia in 1979, The Paisano of the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1981, and most recently The Mountaineer Jeffersonian of West Virginia University in 2008.

Online student publications

Due to the rise in adoption of computers and Internet, many high schools and colleges have begun offering online editions of their publications, as well as printed copies. One such example is The Paly Voice [], an online student publication from Palo Alto High School, which has won numerous awards for excellence in journalism from the National Scholastic Press Association as well as a Webby award in 2005. Another example is: The Feather Online [], an online student publication from Fresno Christian High School. Despite its school size (less than 300), the students from the private school produce a daily newspaper. The Feather Online has been nationally recognized from National Scholastic Press Association and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

Cartoons controversy in student publications

Gair rhydd, the student paper at Cardiff University, courted controversy when, on February 4, 2006, it reproduced the cartoons, originally printed in Jyllands-Posten, depicting the Prophet Muhammad. The issue was withdrawn from publication within a day of being released, the editor and two other student journalists were suspended, and a public apology published in the next issue.

In the same month, two editors of the Daily Illini, the independent student newspaper of the University of Illinois, were suspended after deciding to publish six of the twelve cartoons.

However, student publications took a lead role in reprinting the Muhammad cartoons, often accompanying them with explanatory editorials. No fewer than 16 student newspapers and magazines in the United States, and a handful in other countries, ran one or more of the caricatures.

Student press in Canada

Many student newspapers in Canada are truly independent from their universities and student unions. Such autonomous papers are funded by student fees won by referendums, as well as advertising, and are run democratically by their staffs, with no faculty interference.

About 70 of Canada's student newspapers belong to a co-operative and newswire service called the Canadian University Press, which holds conferences, has correspondents across the country, is run democratically by its member papers, and fosters a sense of community among Canadian student journalists.

Well-known Canadian student newspapers include The Cord Weekly (Wilfrid Laurier University), Imprint (University of Waterloo),The Martlet, The Ubyssey and The Peak in British Columbia; The Gateway in Alberta; The Sheaf in Saskatchewan; The Manitoban in Manitoba; The Charlatan, The Fulcrum, The Varsity, The Eyeopener (Ryerson University) , Arthur (Trent University) and the Excalibur in Ontario; The Link, The Concordian (Concordia University, Montreal), The McGill Daily, The Campus (Bishop's University) and McGill Tribune in Quebec; The Brunswickan in New Brunswick; The Dalhousie Gazette in Nova Scotia, The Muse in Newfoundland and Labrador, The Queen's Journal (Queen's University), and The Gazette at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario.

The oldest, continually published student newspapers in Canada are The Varsity (1880), The Queen's Journal (1873), and The Dalhousie Gazette (1868).

Student press in the United Kingdom

Student newspapers in the UK are often given a constitutionally-guaranteed editorial independence from the universities and student unions whose students they represent, although the majority are financially dependent on their Students' Union. The most successful (in terms of student media awards) include: yorkVision (University of York), Felix (Imperial College), Cherwell, The Oxford Student (University of Oxford), The Badger (University of Sussex), gair rhydd (Cardiff University), The Beaver (London School of Economics), Glasgow University Guardian (Glasgow University), The Warwick Boar (University of Warwick), Leeds Student (University of Leeds), Student (University of Edinburgh), The Steel Press (University of Sheffield), The Courier (University of Newcastle), The Saint (University of St Andrews), Varsity, The Cambridge Student, The Tab (University of Cambridge) and Epigram (University of Bristol). Examples of British student newspapers that are financially as well as editorially independent from their respective student unions are Cherwell, Varsity, The Saint, The Linc (University of Lincoln), Palatinate (Durham University) and The Founder (Royal Holloway). Since they are not part of their Students' Union at all, their independence is given a stronger guarantee than other papers who rely on their unions for funding and consequently cover stories with that in mind.

In 2003, The National Student, the UK's first independent national student newspaper was launched. Scotcampus is a similar publication based in Scotland.

The first independent national student news source is UK student news. It was launched in 2000.

Student press in Ireland

There is a thriving student media scene in Ireland. Each year the best publications in the field are recognised in the National Student Media Awards. Only two papers have ever claimed the title of Best Newspaper at the awards: Trinity News, based in Trinity College Dublin and Ireland's oldest surviving student newspaper, and The University Observer, based in University College Dublin.

Other notable student newspapers include The University Times (Trinity College), UCC Express (University College Cork) and SIN ('Student Independent News', based in NUI Galway).

Most student newspapers in Ireland are published by the local students union in their college; some of these (such as The University Observer) are given editorial independence from the SU. A small number, including Trinity News and UCD's College Tribune, are both financially and editorially independent (though the former receives financial assistance from the University's publications committee).

Student press in Australia

University student newspapers in the Australia are usually independent of university administration yet are connected with or run by the student representative organisation operating at the campus. Editors tend to be elected by the student body on a separate ticket to other student representatives and are paid an honorarium, although some student organisations have been known to employ unelected staff to coordinate the production of the newspaper. For a list of student newspapers in Australia see * List of University Newspapers

Controversy surrounding Australian student press

Australian student newspapers have courted controversy since their inception. One of the more notorious of these controversies involved the publication of an article which allegedly incited readers to shoplift. The July edition of the magazine was banned by the Office of Film and Lifterature Classication following a campaign by conservative talkback radio hosts and other media to have the material banned. The four editors of the July 1995 edition of La Trobe University student magazine Rabelais were subsequently charged with publishing, distributing and depositing an objectionable publication. An objectional publication was defined in this case, as one that incites criminal activity.[2] The editors lodged an appeal, which led to a protracted four-year court case. The appeal was eventually defeated by the full bench of the Federal Court, who refused the editors application to appeal to the High Court of Australia.[3] The charges were eventually dropped in March 1999.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Nadya Haddad, ‘Rabble-rousing and Rabelais: fear of lawless shoplifting students’ (1998) 8(2) Polemic 32 at 33.
  3. ^ Federal Court of Australia, Annual report 1997 – 1998, Chapter 2, The Work of the Court, 2.2 Decisions of Interest

External links

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