IJEA endorses JEA statement condemning attack on Capitol, reaffirming importance of journalism to protection of democracy

January 14, 2021

From IJEA President John Gonczy, CJE: In the wake of the events on Jan. 6 in our nation’s capital, the IJEA wishes to express its wholehearted support of the following statement by JEA President Sarah Nichols. We are proud to stand with JEA in this and all matters regarding student press rights, and we are grateful to President Nichols and the JEA board for their leadership, particularly during this time.

By Sarah Nichols, MJE, Journalism Education Association President

Experiencing acts of violence is difficult for students under any circumstances, but the Jan. 6 attacks at the Capitol raise unprecedented concerns. The Journalism Education Association condemns these acts of violence and the assault on our democratic institutions.

We applaud journalism educators finding ways to engage students on this topic in class and urge others to do the same, whether in person or through virtual learning communities.

Courageous journalism informs us all and serves as a historical record. The reporting during and after such events underscores the importance of the work journalists do based on shared values of truth and justice. Last week, student journalists saw the sustained attacks on their future careers rise to a new apex. Knowing these actions were largely related to deep-rooted beliefs of hate and intolerance makes the attack all the more critical for us to address as we empower students to continue reporting on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in their communities.

Students have the right to cover the news; doing so is also their responsibility.

As always, we seek to amplify work by students that makes an impact. In some cases, students don’t engage with any fact-based accounts of news events unless their student media program covers it. The disinformation, bias and news gaps underscore the essential role journalism education plays in developing an informed, civil society.

JEA stands behind journalists exercising their First Amendment right to report and inform the public. Journalists must be able to do their jobs without fear of retribution or harm. Our foremost consideration is for the safety of student journalists who may choose to cover these events, and we urge scholastic media advisers to provide guidance for their students.

As a professional learning community for scholastic journalism educators we will continue to provide our members with resources and support on these important topics.

By producing and supporting journalism and increasing media literacy education in every classroom in America, together we can fulfill our duty as educators to help protect our democracy.

The Journalism Education Association originally published the above statement Jan. 13, 2021. The statement can be found here on the JEA website.


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