The Michigan Interscholastic Press Association has honored Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, as the recipient of its 2017 John V. Field Award for his support of student speech rights.
The award recognizes a person or organization who is not currently a student media adviser for their significant contributions to scholastic journalism in Michigan. It was first given in 1972 to John Field, who served as the executive director of MIPA for more than 20 years.
On March 8, 2016, Jones introduced Senate Bill 848, the Student Free Press and Civics Readiness Act. The bill marked Michigan’s entry into the New Voices campaign, a national movement that aims to stop the unwarranted censorship of student media and to encourage civic engagement in a new generation of Americans.
“The Michigan Interscholastic Press Association is proud to call Sen. Jones a friend of the thousands of Michigan student journalists who work every to improve their schools and communities,” said Jeremy W. Steele, executive director of MIPA and a faculty member in the Michigan State University School of Journalism. “Our democracy relies on an informed public to keep the government in check, and student journalists answer that call. We should help encourage and protect this work by preventing unwarranted censorship of legitimate journalism.”
Jones’ bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but was not taken up by the full session by the end of the legislative session. He has pledged to reintroduce the bill.
Earlier this year, the Michigan Press Association awarded Jones its Peter Pettalia Memorial Sunshine Award for his work to promote government transparency, including by sponsoring the Student Free Press and Civics Readiness Act.
ABOUT THE MICHIGAN INTERSCHOLASTIC PRESS ASSOCIATION
Founded in 1921 and housed in the Michigan State University School of Journalism, the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association is a nonprofit organization composed of scholastic journalism teachers and publications advisers and their students. MIPA is committed to promoting and recognizing excellence in scholastic journalism at all levels through education, training and support of student journalists and their advisers.