The following was presented to the Missouri House of Representatives last month in support of the Walter Cronkite New Voices Act. It has since been passed by the House and has been sent to the state Senate.
Please feel free to contact chapter president Elizabeth Donald at email@example.com if you have any questions or concerns.
Statement in Support of the Walter Cronkite New Voices Act
Emerging Issues Committee
February 1, 2016
The St. Louis Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists joins the SPJ national office in strongly supporting passage of the Walter Cronkite New Voices Act.
We believe the Act will help college and high school journalists better understand their role in a democratic society as it provides some protection from harmful and unnecessary censorship efforts.
“It is more important than ever that journalists act as independent and unfettered watchdogs on the systems they cover, and this is no less important for student journalists than it is for their older counterparts,” said Elizabeth Donald, chapter president of St. Louis Pro. “These young people will be the future journalists holding our public bodies accountable to their readers. They cannot learn these skills or the judgment to use them wisely if they are muzzled into silence whenever they write something disconcerting to those in power.”
In a press release issued on Jan. 26, 2016, SPJ National President Paul Fletcher said, “Student journalists set the foundation for the future of the profession. They are limited in their ability to do their job as journalists when government officials and administrations weaken their press rights.”
He added, “By passing the New Voices Act, Missouri will set a positive example for student press freedom everywhere. SPJ strongly supports the New Voices bill in Missouri and in every state where there is a New Voices campaign.”
The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry through the daily work of its nearly 7,500 members; works to inspire and educate current and future journalists through professional development; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press through its advocacy efforts.