All-star inspiration, senate support for free speech, and sexist censorship: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

NBA star shares why journalism matters:

CJ McCollum, shooting guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, isn’t just interested in playing basketball – he also loves reporting on it. He majored in Journalism at Lehigh University, and, while working on his game was certainly his main focus, his passion for journalism never faltered. He worked as a student editor for the school’s newspaper, and he even got to sit down with NBA broadcaster Tim Capstraw to practice calling a game. Now, McCollum’s launched an educational program called “CJ’s Press Pass,” where he empowers high schools students to get some hands-on involvement with journalism. His first group of students from Portland Madison High School received an assignment from CJ himself to cover the Trail Blazer’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. McCollum provided the students with all-access media passes and conducted a special press conference after the game. After all the students had a chance to report on the game, McCollum selected a winner; student reporter Hannah Ortloff took the prize with this assignment, which provided her with the opportunity to co-host McCollum’s weekly radio show with him, as well as getting her article published on The Player’s Tribune.

Senate support for free speech:

Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota recently took to the Senate floor in support of students’ free speech and first amendment rights in response to North Dakota’s passing of the New Voices legislation last April. Sen. Heitkamp spoke out about the “dire” effects that administrative restraint has when it comes to student journalism. She claims that an academic environment that chooses to censor student media is not “an environment that values and empowers student voices and it’s not a climate that is conducive to effective and learning civic participation. We can and must do better.”

SPLC launches Active Voice:

While student media censorship certainly affects all students, it turns out that it does, in fact, discriminate.  New research shows that young women reported experiencing censorship – both from school administration and from themselves – more often than young male students. To encourage young female journalists, the Student Press Law Center has launched the Active Voice initiative, which works to “make the voices of women and girls heard in the media through advocacy campaigns and by training women and girls to use media to advance the state of their own rights, safely and without fear of reprisal.” You can get involved by sponsoring a fellowship, applying for a fellowship, or simply joining the network to stay updated and help spread the word about the need for free speech in student journalism.

When going digital changes everything:

For the Dallas Morning News, going digital means starting over in a major way. Not only has the Morning News staff had to re-imagining their entire reporting model; they’re also moving out of the same building they’ve been working out of since 1949. The Morning News is Dallas’ only remaining newspaper and, following the arrival of editor Mike Wilson in 2015, going digital went from being a smart idea to the only remaining option. Wilson and his team decided to entirely reconstruct the makeup of their paper and rebuild it for the new age of media. Everyone who had been on staff had to apply for new jobs, as many of the old jobs available at the Morning News no longer existed. The teams became organized by topic-oriented “hubs” rather than desks or beats, and they’ve started treating their business like a website rather than a newspaper. Sure, it’s a lot of change, but we know better than anyone that going digital is the best thing you can do for your publication.

These things also happened this week:

An NFL official shocked us all by actually confirming the link between football-related traumatic brain injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This is the first time the NFL has ever acknowledged this connection.

Good news for those of us living in frozen tundras – a recent study shows that the cold may actually make your immune system stronger.

It’s Super Tuesday 3 today, so if you’re in any of the states currently holding primaries, make sure to get out and vote. In the meantime, here’s what you should watch for during this round of primary voting.