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Creating “put up guidelines” to counter takedown demands

In this lesson, students will learn about and create a series of Put Up standards, steps student media can take to attempt to avoid takedown demands.



  • Students will brainstorm a list of journalistic standards, some reportorial and some ethical, to act as the core of Put Up Guidelines.
  • Students will research best choices for Put Up standards, basing final choices on journalistic core values.
  • Students will synthesize their choices into a 200 word statement to explain their task and rationale.


Common Core State Standards




Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.




Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.




Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.




Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.





50 minutes



Takedown demands? Here is a roadmap of choices, rationale JEA, SPRC

Responding to takedown demands, SPLC

Internet access

Blackboard or whiteboard

Teacher laptop and digital projector

Student computers if available


Lesson step-by-step

1. Warm up—10 minutes

The teacher would introduce the day’s work by talking about the previous work on takedown demands (this lesson follows Introducing Students to Takedown Requests and Making Informed Takedown Decisions). This would lead to challenging students to come up with a statement that would use positive journalistic standards to avoid takedown demand situations. Such standards could include verification, integrity, credibility, skeptical thinking and context. In other words, careful info-gathering before something is published.


2. Small group—25 minutes

Students will choose their own groups and develop a list of core journalistic values they would term “Put Up Guidelines.” These guidelines would articulate standards and ideas for how student media can make good content choices based on journalistic responsibility and ethical standards. Students can think of this as a brainstorm that responds to the question: “What kind of content will we put up online?”

The teacher might also ask students to review best practices for journalism and core values learned at the beginning of the year.

Students can use any resources to come up with a list of 10 Put Up Guidelines, including internet searches. Examples of terms, concepts and phrases students might come up with and include in their statements include:

  • Verification
  • Credibility
  • Accuracy
  • Objectivity
  • Skeptical Knowing
  • Do no harm
  • Thoroughness
  • Seek the truth
  • Context

Some terms, like balance and fairness, might not be precise enough because they have several meanings. The same with fair and acceptable. Such terms have consistent definitions with different groups of people. To indicate why they choose their 10 statements, ask students to add one or two sentences of explanation.

With each statement, students should be able to explain how that guideline or best practice could prevent takedown demands.


3. Whole group—20 minutes

Each group will briefly share their list of 10 statements. It is likely the various group statements will be similar or consistent. The class goal will be to finalize and annotate a list of 10 Put Up guidelines that will become part of student media staff manuals.



Since this is an assignment of value judgment and there are no right or wrong responses, students should prepare a short statement of what they learned from this exercise about Put Up guidelines and journalistic best practices.