The three ‘P’s of online legal issues
Those thinking about expanding their student media outreach need to keep three concepts in mind: three Ps of online legal issues.
When you design editorial guidelines for your digital media, create them as equivalents with your print or broadcast media. You do not want separate and unequal designations of rights and responsibilities, especially if print and broadcast content also show up on a student-driven Web site.
Of course, the SPLC and JEA both recommend all student media be forums for student expression and free of prior review and restraint. For more information, look for JEA’s model editorial policy, specifically the section on digital media. This PDF lists JEA’s position statements on student expression, which includes the SPLC’s Model Editorial Guidelines.
Maintaining your status as forums for student expression, remember there is no legal requirement, under FERPA or HIPPA or anywhere else, that you cannot publish names and faces of students. In fact, to be accurate and complete, you need to do so. The SPLC has a good set of information. Another good reference is a link page to online legal issues.
And, speaking of policy and practice, to be a forum, students need to make all final decisions of content for all student media: print, broadcast and digital media.