Student journalists “Go TAO” during National Scholastic Journalism Week

Journalism students at Whitney High School (CA) take the TAO of Journalism Pledge.

Student journalists who practice ethical journalism and want to assure readers, viewers and school administrators of their commitment to excellence, are going public by taking the “TAO of Journalism” pledge .

The TAO Pledge asks journalists to promise that they will be “Transparent” about who they are and how the story was developed; “Accountable” for, and willing to correct any errors; and “Open” to other points of view. This idea, introduced by the Washington News Council, is gaining traction with media organizations around the world. Student journalism organizations may take the TAO Pledge for free, while professional journalists are asked to donate $25 per year to help support the TAO Project website. Media organizations are asked to donate $50 per year.

The Journalism Education Association has endorsed the TAO of Journalism Pledge as one way student media can instill trust in their programs.

JEA encourages schools and student media to sign the Pledge during Scholastic Journalism Week on Wednesday, Feb. 23 and to invite their school administrators to sign on, as well. Any student media group who “takes the TAO Pledge” will be listed on the TAO of Journalism website with a link to their website.

Students can then post the TAO Seal in their masthead and they will receive a poster of the TAO Pledge that can be displayed as a public reminder of their commitment.

Once students take the pledge, they need to be sure to follow the pledge to show their schools and their communities the importance of professional standards.

• BONUS for student media groups who take the TAO Pledge during Scholastic Journalism Week: Temporary tattoos of the TAO seal for all members of the staff.

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About Kathy Schrier
Kathy Schrier is part-time executive assistant for the Washington News Council and is also part-time director of the Washington Journalism Education Association (WJEA). She holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1975) and a Masters in Education from Antioch University, Seattle (2004). Besides teaching and being very involved in journalism education, in a past life Schrier ran a small Seattle publishing company, producing magazines and business publications for a range of clients. Her work on Student Press Rights legislation in Washington state earned her the WJEA Fern Valentine Freedom of Expression Award and the national Journalism Education Association Medal of Merit (both in 2007). In 2008 she received the Pioneer Award from the National Scholastic Press Association.