Spoke editors selected for 45words
By Lavi Ben-Dor, Staff Reporter
Juniors Mary Turocy and Laura Weiss, the features and news editors of The Spoke, respectively, were among twelve students nationwide selected yesterday as Scholastic Press Student Partners for 45words, a press rights group run by the Journalism Education Association.
Student Partners work to help student publications facing censorship and prior review, when administrators or teachers have the right to remove content that they believe puts the district in a negative light or for reasons unrelated to the value of the writing.
Senior Meghan Morris, the co-editor-in-chief of The Spoke, is currently a Student Partner with 45words. She decided to apply for the group after former Spoke editors successfully overturned a district proposal to allow administrators to review the paper in the summer of 2009.
“I realized just how important the First Amendment is,” Morris said. “I wanted to make sure students across the country know that they have the right to write what they want.”
Morris said that she greatly enjoys working with the other Student Partners to help other publications.
“I got to reach out to dozens of students from all over the country,” she said. “Some of them had never heard of censorship, while others were well-aware of prior review. I gained a deeper understanding of press rights.”
Turocy said that she decided to apply because she saw how much Morris had benefited from it.
“I knew Meghan was in it, and I thought what she was doing was really cool,” Turocy said. “I saw how passionate she was about it [and] how excited she is about the First Amendment. I thought what she was doing was awesome and I wanted to be part of it.”
Weiss is also looking forward to the opportunities participation in the project could offer.
“I’m hoping that student journalists facing censorship, who aren’t getting their First Amendment rights, will come to us and we’ll be able to help them,” Weiss said. “I hope to work together [with the other Student Partners] to make all types of outreach as great as they can possibly be.”
Morris is confident that both editors will learn a lot from their experiences as Student Partners.
“They’ll meet the best student journalists in the country—those who do quality work like The Spoke’s,” she said. “They’ll meet the movers and shakers of the student journalism world, and I hope they’ll continue to expand 45words’ reach.”
Lavi Ben-Dor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.