Tip o’ the hat: SPLC turns 35

The non-profit Student Press Law Center is celebrating 35 years protecting the First Amendment rights of young journalists. And we here at SPJ headquarters – celebrating our centennial this year – wish all the best to SPLC and its cadre of volunteer lawyers, hardworking student interns, and, of course, ever-busy executive director Frank LoMonte.

SPLC sent a “party invitation” to recognize the occasion. There’s no physical party to attend – just a nicely designed campaign e-mail (and an ever-so-subtle suggestion to donate $35 … get it?).

One issue SPLC has been particularly in front of is opposition to FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The 35-year-old law is facing renewed scrutiny after a recent Columbus Dispatch investigation revealed universities arbitrarily and erroneously using the law to block public records. SPJ’s Quill magazine covered the controversy in the Sept/Oct 2009 issue, and SPLC’s Frank LoMonte was a crucial source. He provided some great tips for student journalists to overcome FERPA hurdles at their universities.

So, congratulations to SPLC on 35 years of defending the rights of the student press. Here’s to many more.

Defending the First Amendment and promoting open government are more crucial now than ever. Join SPJ's fight for the public’s right to know — either as an SPJ Supporter or a professional, student or retired journalist.


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