College journalists at Arizona State scoop national news organizations


News broke last Friday night that Kurt Volker would be stepping down as U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine after appearing in the recent whistleblower complaint involving President Donald J. Trump and a telephone conversation with the president of the Ukraine. 

But this report didn’t come from the usual national players; it was from The State Press, the student newspaper at Arizona State University, Phoenix.

Namely, it came from managing editor Andrew Howard, a junior who’s worked at the paper since his first semester on campus. He first reported Volker’s resignation on Sept. 27, beating the heavyweights of the Trump-Ukraine coverage — The Washington Post and The New York Times.

"I think student newspapers often don’t get a ton of recognition and it was good to get that today,” Howard said about the flood of praise The State Press received for the story. “We put in a lot of really long hours and hard work to do what we do, and we don’t get paid a lot. It just feels really good to see people supporting us.”

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Q: Are student government election results at a public high school public records? My school only announces who won and does not provide the actual vote tally. 

A: The answer will probably depend on the wording of your state’s open records law. In the only case we are aware of to date, the Virginia State Supreme Court declined to order disclosure of student vote tallies under that state’s access law, ruling that they were exempt as “scholastic records.” Other states — whose laws are different — might rule differently. Certainly, a strong argument can be made that holding closed-door elections that lack such basic accountability as a vote tally is a lousy way to teach civics or to introduce students to the voting process.


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