"When I raised my hand to vote in a classroom at Neshaminy High School nearly 18 months ago, I was unaware of the battle I was about to ignite as editor-in-chief of The Playwickian, my school's newspaper,"Gillian McGoldrick, a senior at Neshaminy High School in Langhorne, Pa., wrote Tuesday for Education Week.
"In the fall of 2013, one of my fellow editors began a conversation about our school mascot, which is also the name of every sports team at our school and our school's nickname. This would soon become a national controversy over our use of a racist mascot and a legal battle over the amount of control students have over their publications in public schools.
"This mascot is the 'Redskin.' It has been consistently criticized by a Native American parent within our Pennsylvania school district for its derogatory and hateful connotation. The paper's staff and I came to a consensus that we should listen to what this parent had to say and start a conversation about the future use of the mascot, given how offensive it is to Native Americans. We debated, did our research, and ultimately came to a vote —14-7 — in favor of removing the mascot — and the football team's name — entirely from our newspaper, essentially forming a new policy. Both the majority and the dissenting sides wrote editorials, and we went to press Oct. 23, 2013.
"As the editor-in-chief since 2013, I continue to face reproach for this decision, including the possibility of criminal charges, as well as a lot of social-media bashing by my peers and the parents in my school district. . . ."
McGoldrick also wrote, "A few days after we published the editorials and the student body's reaction had slowly begun to die down (painful though it was), my principal, Robert McGee, sent a directive to our newspaper adviser, Tara Huber. In this directive, he said that our 'new' policy would be put on 'hold,' and that we were not permitted to edit or reject any letters to the editor, advertisements, or articles that featured the mascot. So this policy that we had just formed carefully and precisely was now suddenly reversed.
"Nothing about this directive seemed right. . . ." McGoldrick cited the state code to justify her position.
McGoldrick's article also said, "When we printed the next edition of the newspaper without the image or name of the mascot, it did not go over well. Students ripped the paper up and threw it on the ground in the school hallways. They even threatened to take it home and set it on fire.
"I walked into a homeroom, and as I began to hand out the newspapers, one student crossed her arms and said, 'I'm not touching that.' When you hear this from a peer about something you struggled for more than 10 hours to complete, it is unbelievably discouraging. My fellow students couldn't separate the mascot issue from the rights of the student press. . . ."
"A new report by The Intercept tells the story of the Obama administration's prosecution of former North Korea expert Stephen Kim for violating the Espionage Act," Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!" reported Wednesday on its website.
"Kim is one of nine such cases under the Obama administration — twice as many as all previous presidents combined. The former State Department contractor was accused of discussing classified documents on North Korea with Fox News reporter James Rosen. Last year, he was sentenced to 13 months in prison.
"But Kim always maintained his innocence. During the year before he went to prison, he shared his story with The Intercept. Journalist Peter Maass of The Intercept details the prosecution of Kim in a new article out today, 'Destroyed by the Espionage Act: Stephen Kim Spoke to a Reporter. Now He’s in Jail. This is His Story .' . . ."
- Hadas Gold, Politico: Risen: Obama administration is greatest enemy of press freedom
"The 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the Selma to Montgomery March, and the passage of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Dr. Martin Luther King'srole in these events is correctly capturing the imagination of Black America,"Ron Daniels wrote Monday for the National Newspaper Publishers Association. "However, there is another set of events that should also receive attention of our people. This year also marks the 50th memorial of the assassination of Malcolm X; it is also the year of his 90th birthday.
"It seems odd that very little attention is being devoted to the anniversary dates of the life and legacy of such an extraordinary leader. It is as if Black America is gripped by a case of historical amnesia. But this is not the first time we've suffered from the disorder. . . ."
Meanwhile, C-SPAN announced that it will air on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET a 1963 interview with Malcolm on its C-SPAN3 American History network:
"Former Nation of Islam minister Malcolm X was assassinated 50 years ago on February 21, 1965. He sat down for an interview in 1963 as part of a sociology class at the University of California, Berkeley. He discussed race relations in America and the Nation of Islam's opposition to racial integration. The interview was conducted by UC Berkeley professor John Leggett and graduate teaching assistant Herman Blake. We air the program courtesy of UC Berkeley."
- Todd Steven Burroughs, The Root: Malcolm X Speaks of the Soulful, Soothing Power of Jazz (Feb. 20)
Merlene Davis, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader: CBS Sports documentary on UK's football integration worth watching
Kali Nicole Gross, HuffPost LatinoVoices: Black History Month Is a Time to Reckon With Police Bias Against African-Americans and Latinos (Feb. 12)
- PBS "American Masters": August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand (airs Feb. 20)
Donna Rogers, the Chronicle, Winston-Salem, N.C.: Black History becomes personal for me as journalist
- The Root: Black Tributes That Aren't in the Hood
Gyasi Ross, Indian Country Today Media Network: Black History Month, Indian-Style: Natives and Black Folks in This Together Since 1492
Tatiana Schlossberg and Annie Correal, New York Times: New York Today: Remembering Malcolm X (Feb. 19)
- The Tennessean, Nashville: Black History Month: William A. Reed Jr. was pioneering journalist(Feb. 11)