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House Committee Passes Bill Protecting Student Journalists

The Arizona House Education Committee voted 10-1 on Monday in favor of SB 1384. That bill would give more protection to student journalists by limiting administrators’ ability to censor school papers. That one “no” vote came from Republican Rep. David Stringer, who said the bill goes too far when it comes to high school students.

"I think it's a big mistake to include high schools and student newspapers in high schools with colleges and universities. There's a very, very fundamental difference between high schools, which are full of children, which are full of minors,  and colleges and universities where we're dealing with adults," Stringer said.

But high school journalist Henry Gorton disagrees. He writes for a paper at Sunnyslope High School and says he was barred from reporting the views of Trump supporters on illegal immigration  because of concerns that undocumented students would feel threatened.

"Under censorship, it's not a forum but an echo chamber that's more propaganda and more a newsletter rather than a newspaper, something that only advances the interests of our administrators," Gorton said.

The measure now just needs a vote of the full House to land on the governor’s desk. Joining us to talk more about what it would mean for the bill to pass is David Cuillier, director of the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona.

Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.