Issue Seminars

Issue Seminars are designed to gather the resources that help you succeed as reporters. With two hours to explore, students will meet the experts and those with first-hand experience and then spend time developing strategies to use this information and localize further for their own school media.

Covering Mental Illness

Journalists have a powerful influence on attitudes about mental health, but careless reporting can lead to misperceptions and even discrimination. In this presentation, students will learn about a new style guide for reporting on mental health which can be used when covering mental health issues. Presenter John Hinrichs of Tools for Entertainment and Media is an award-winning reporter and editor who has extensive experience doing media for political campaigns, labor unions, and other community groups. The staff of Davis Senior High School will also describe its own approach to reporting on public health issues, including mental health.

Telling the Truth in a Digital World

In an age of fast-growing digital media, simple things — like making sure journalism is based on facts and that journalists value truth over scoops — can be a challenge. Social media can get both information and misinformation out quickly, and that makes balancing speed versus accuracy increasingly difficult. This panel of leading journalists with experience in a variety of platforms will discuss ethics, truth and timeliness, including examples from Campaign 2012. Panelists include Karen Wickre of Twitter and Burt Herman of Storify along with Carla Marinucci of the San Francisco Chronicle and Robert Rosenthal of the Center for Investigative Journalism.

Pre-disaster Investigative Reporting

It’s not a question of if, but when there will be another major earthquake in California. Is your school ready for this or other disasters? Investigative reporter Corey Johnson of California Watch, a part of the Center for Investigative Reporting, set out to write a routine story about earthquake safety in schools when he unearthed a problem of epic proportions: nearly 20,000 schools in the state not in compliance with earthquake safe construction and inspection state law. Journalists behind the “On Shaky Ground” project — a Pulitzer finalist — will describe how it developed and how such pre-disaster investigative reporting can help student journalists help their schools.

How Hazelwood (Almost) Stopped Student Reporting on HIV/AIDS

In 1988, the Epitaph at Homestead High School in Cupertino, Calif., was about to publish a profile on a junior boy who had tested positive for HIV when the Supreme Court handed down its Hazelwood decision. Within hours, Homestead’s principal put the story on hold. That sparked a standoff. Journalistically, the AIDS story needed to be told; at the time, the virus was unchecked and the press routinely called AIDS a certain death sentence. But Hazelwood seemed insurmountable. In a last-minute twist, however, a local reporter and a little-known California statute helped the Epitaph face down a censorship threat. Come hear how the student, editor and adviser made history.

Covering Marriage Equality

It’s a story that the Huffington Post has called “a social sea change” — the push to legalize same-sex marriage. Nationwide, nine states now allow gay couples to wed; more than 30 restrict it. Ironically, same-sex marriage is not allowed in San Francisco, which legalized it in 2004; four years later, California voters approved Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The Supreme Court is expected in March to take up a lower court ruling that struck down Prop 8. This presentation by award-winning student and mainstream journalists will focus on what student journalists need to know to cover this important issue.