Blog: The Educated Reporter

Alabama Sets Limits on Gifts to Teachers

Alabama has a new ethics law that sets strict limits on what teachers can accept as gifts from students. I have to ask: Was this really a problem? Were teachers being showered with large amounts of cash, or iPods or flat-screen televisions?

I remember a terrific story from the New Yorker (by the inimitable Caitlin Flanagan) about the ridiculous amounts of swag being showered on private school teachers in Southern California. As for me, my mother’s holiday banana bread was reportedly quite popular in the teachers’ lounge at my middle school.

While we’re on the topic of ethics, check out this story from the Bradenton Herald in Florida. Reporter Christine Hawes details how the Manatee School Board appears to have violated the state’s “sunshine” law, but so far isn’t owning up to it. This where the media’s watchdog role can’t be overstated. Ignorance rarely works as an excuse, particularly for elected officials.

On a lighter note, if you’re looking for a holiday gift for the journalist on your list, here’s some solid suggestions from Media Bistro’s 10,000 Words site (thanks to Poynter’s Mediawire for pointing it out)

I can attest to the usefulness of the Newseum’s coffee mug. The electronics-cleaning putty is a must for anyone who works in a newsroom, where lunch at your desk often means your keyboard could be mistaken for a squirrel’s winter hideout.

I also endorse No. 13 on the list — the complete series DVD of “Newsradio.”


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