Jewish Scholastic Press Association

Bringing professionalism and Jewish values to high school journalism

Jewish Scholastic Press Association

Jewish Scholastic Press Association

About JSPA

Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people; neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor;  I am the Lord.

Vayikra, Chapter 19, verse 16

The motto of the Jewish Scholastic Press Association (JSPA) is Chapter 19, Verse 16, of Leviticus (Vayikra):  Do not go about as a talebearer among your people; do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor; I am the Lord — a template for journalism practiced with scrupulous honesty and sensitivity, with attention to those who are suffering or endangered, and with an imperative to hold leadership truthfully accountable.

Founded in 2013, JSPA is a national journalism education organization that sponsors an annual conference, journalism competition and other programming for high school students interested in looking at journalism through a Jewish lens, with that template in mind.

It does this three ways:

~ By working, through its annual conference and other programming, to improve student media at Jewish high schools, enhance journalism education in those schools, and teach students and advisers how they can add Jewish content and sensibility to their publications.  Conference speakers are distinguished journalists, educators, attorneys, rabbis and public figures.

~ By promoting these goals in a way that respects the Jewish calendar, in particular using Shabbat to create a Jewish journalistic cohort while creating a space to consider news gathering in a Jewish way.

~ By sponsoring the annual Jewish Scholastic Journalism Awards, giving prizes for news, feature and opinion articles and page design on Jewish subjects.

In other words, JSPA aims to help kids become educated, top-flight journalists who can become leaders of college and professional publications, while employing Jewish values as stated in our motto, above, from Vayikra 19:16.

Conference programs feature speakers and workshops designed to challenge the most advanced students while providing the basics of reporting, writing, multimedia production and graphic design to those who need them. Past conferences have been held in Los Angeles’ Pico-Robertson neighborhood, walking distance to more than a dozen popular kosher restaurants and 15 or more synagogues of every denomination.

Workshop offerings include Jewish journalism ethics; covering Israel in the college press; press freedom in religious high schools; copyright law for newspapers and news websites; how to localize world and national news; page and double-page layout and design; photojournalism; interview technique; and how to find news in the Torah.

For more information, including how to participate in our summer advisers workshops and Editors Roundtable for student leaders, please e-mail Joelle Keene at [email protected] and we’ll send you more details.  You also can e-mail her to set up a time to speak by phone.

Here is a link to news coverage of the Jewish Scholastic Press Association.


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