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New Jersey New Voices bill unanimously passes Senate Education Committee

The New Jersey Senate Education Committee unanimously voted in favor of a New Voices bill after hearing testimony from student journalists and advocates. The bill heads to the Senate floor next. 

Three students testified in favor of the bill. So did representatives from the Garden State Scholastic Press Association, the New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey New Voices movement.

Sommer Ingram Dean, Staff Attorney for the Student Press Law Center, provided expert testimony, pointing out that student speech law under Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier standard is “vague and inadequate for teaching sound principles of journalistic integrity.” 

Dean said S1176 would “restore the level of free speech afforded to students in the famous 1969 Tinker v. Des Moines case.”

The bill may not go before the Senate floor until September, but advocates are hopeful of the outcome.

“[The unanimous vote] is a great sign that this will go in the Senate and pass, and we will be hopeful that it will pass in the assembly,” said John Tagliareni, a former New Jersey journalism teacher and current board member of the GSSPA. “This is really exciting.”
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SPLC creates Nick Ferentinos New Voices Fellows Program to support “New Voices”


SPLC has established the Nick Ferentinos New Voices Fellows Program to support students to advocate for state-based student press freedom. The program is being established thanks to the San Francisco-based Sandler Foundation, which has granted the Student Press Law Center $150,000 over three years to grow the New Voices, a national nonpartisan grassroots campaign which seeks to create state-based protections for student press freedom rights for student journalists and their advisers. 

The SPLC has selected Neha Madhira as the first Ferentinos New Voices Fellow. Madhira gained national attention when her newspaper, the Eagle Nation Online at Prosper (Texas) High School, was repeatedly censored in 2018 by school administrators, leading to an outright ban on student editorials and the nonrenewal of their award-winning journalism adviser. She has since become a spokesperson for student press freedom

The Sandler grant honors the memory of Nicholas “Nick” Ferentinos, a renowned high school journalism adviser who died in 2016. 
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SPLC supports The Daily Targum at Rutgers University


   The Student Press Law Center stands by the student journalists of The Daily Targum as they seek funding to ensure the news organization’s survival.
   In late May, the student body at Rutgers University voted whether to continue funding the paper through a student fee. While a majority of students voted to fund the paper, voter participation did not meet the university’s 25% threshold among its colleges and campuses. 
   The paper is losing its $11.25 per student per semester fee, or a projected $540,000 in the coming school year. That's about  70% of the paper’s budget.
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