Economic Recovery Slow In Milwaukee, Press Freedom In Schools, News Of The Day

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

Freedom of the press is a well-established tenet of the Bill of Rights…but do those rights translate to student publications? We talk to a teacher who’s pushing for statewide student speech protections. We also hear why cities like Milwaukee are continuing to struggle economically, while much of the nation bounces back from the Great Recession, and talk about a top news story of the day.

Featured in this Show

  • Move To Censor Student-Run Magazine Inspires Fond Du Lac Teacher To Advocate For New Law

    A Fond du Lac High School teacher is advocating for state lawmakers to pass legislation protecting student speech after school administrators tried implementing a policy that would allow them to censor stories in the student-run magazine.

    The controversy started several years ago when the magazine published “The Rape Joke,” a story that examined how people were becoming increasingly flippant when talking about sexual assault. The article used anonymous sources to protect victims and didn’t shy away from frank language.

    Much like in professional newsrooms, the young journalists and editors operated with caution, heavily debated the story and carefully constructed it, said Matthew Smith, the student magazine’s advisor. He added that the story was well received by the student body and some teachers began incorporating it into classroom discussions.

    However, the school’s principal and other administrators quickly proposed a new policy that would require they scrutinize stories before they were published.

    “It was made very clear to me right away that from now on, they wanted to review and approve,” said Smith.

    He added that he was surprised that the administrators could be so naive to journalism’s best practices and code of ethics, as well as First Amendment violations.

    “There’s lots of schools where they would feel totally empowered to take control of student media and not know the damage that they could be doing to education,” said Smith, adding that publication helped students take responsibility for what they were saying.

    The policy proposal immediately met backlash and was never implemented. However, the incident, and others in surrounding states, inspired Smith to pickup the New Voices movement here in Wisconsin. The movement calls on lawmakers to pass state laws that essentially reiterate freedom of speech rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

    One such bill was recently passed in North Dakota with unanimous support.

    But here in Wisconsin, support appears to be along party lines, said Smith. He added that the bill would do nothing to restrict a school’s ability to try to prohibit or punish illegal speech outlined in the First Amendment.

  • While The United States Rebounds After the Recession, Some Cities Still Struggle

    A new study shows that while many areas of the United States are rebounding after the Great Recession, some cities–like Milwaukee–are still struggling to catch up. We’ll talk about the report, the widening gap between rich and poor communities, and what policies can be implemented to correct the imbalance.

  • Wisconsin Teacher Fights For Press Freedom In Schools

    Freedom of the press is enshrined in the Bill of Rights, but should student publications have that right as well? A teacher discusses the importance of freedom of press for students.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Matt Oleson Producer
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Michael Smith Guest
  • Steve Glickman Guest
  • Matthew Smith Guest

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