New Voices of Missouri is a movement to guarantee student journalists in the state the freedom to report without fear of consequence. Right now, there is no added protection against administrative censorship for high school or college journalists and their advisers, leaving them vulnerable to censorship for simply reporting the truth.
“Missouri is the home of one of the world’s most famous and iconic journalists in Walter Cronkite, but also the home of the Hazelwood decision that saw the rights of student journalists suppressed. My hope is that we can reestablish Missouri as a place that supports the freedom of the press, and protects the rights of high school and college student journalists.”
The Missouri legislature convened on January 6, 2016, and the Walter Cronkite New Voices Act was filed. On February 1, a dozen student journalists, free press advocates and student newspaper advisers testified in front of the Missouri house committee at a hearing in support of anti-censorship legislation. The Act passed its second committee hurdle 7-0 on Feb. 18. It passed the House on March 15 by a vote of 131-12 and was sent to the Senate. The Missouri Journalism Education Association, the Missouri Press Association and the Missouri College Media Association are all supporting the bill.
Rep. Kevin Corlew introduced a new version of the Cronkite New Voices Act, HB 441, on Jan. 5, 2017. The revised version addresses concerns raised during 2016 including clarifying that schools and colleges are immune from legal liability for the speech of their students in journalistic publications.
To get involved or to learn about the movement, email newvoicesmo [at] gmail.com.