Student Journalists Focus On The First Amendment In Statehouse Event
By Quinn Fitzgerald
INDIANAPOLIS—Two hundred student journalists, journalism advisers and more gathered in the south atrium of the Statehouse Wednesday to support the accomplishments of their peers.
The Indiana High School Press Association held its annual First Amendment Symposium to honor student journalists and hear from journalism educators and professionals on the importance of the profession.
IHSPA Student Board members kicked off the event by taking turns to talk about their proudest journalism experiences and why scholastic journalism is important.
Indianapolis Star investigative reporter Marisa Kwiatkowski shared details of her team’s coverage of the U.S. Gymnastics and Larry Nassar scandal. Their investigation revealed how the Olympic organization failed to report multiple allegations of sexual abuse by coaches to authorities. Larry Nassar, a physician for the team accused by multiple gymnasts of sexual abuse, is now in prison.
Kwiatkowski urged student journalists to pursue a career in journalism because of the good they can do for people who are unable to tell their own stories.
“For many people, we are the only voice they have before the public. We’re the only people who can share their stories with the communities,” Kwiatkowski said.
The event concluded with contest awards for First Amendment graphic design, sports coverage, and essay writing.
Before announcing the 2018 Indiana Student Journalist of the Year, IHSPA Director Ryan Gunterman took time to share the news of House Bill 1016, a bill that would have extended First Amendment press freedoms to Indiana middle and high school students. The bill had died in the House earlier in the session.
“Had those representatives met students such as [the student journalist finalists] and such as yourselves, I don’t know how with a clear conscience they could have voted against giving protections for you, protections you deserve,” Gunterman said.
This year’s Student Journalist of the Year is Andrew Tapp from Southport High School. Tapp is also one of five student board members for IHSPA.
Finalists were Audrey Gacsy from Crown Point High School, Andrea John from Crown Point High School, Jared Rigdon from Lawrence North High School, and Claire Rightley from Avon High School.
In April, Tapp will represent Indiana at the National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco, California.
FOOTNOTE: Quinn Fitzgerald is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.