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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Camarillo

Ex-Editor of School Newspaper Honored

November 23, 2000|ANNA GORMAN

The former editor of Camarillo High School's student newspaper has received an award for supporting free press rights of students, after he exposed censorship of a student publication at a neighboring school.

Nick Edwards, who was the co-editor-in-chief of the Stinger, was this year's recipient of the Scholastic Press Freedom Award.

Last spring, administrators at neighboring Rio Mesa High School prevented students from printing a story about teen pregnancy in their paper, the Spartan. Edwards heard about the incident and began researching the law. He discovered that student publications cannot be censored unless the material is libelous, obscene or substantially disruptive.

Edwards published a story about censorship in his own paper, under the headline, "Freedom of Press Under Fire." Despite pressure from his principal and the district superintendent, Edwards also printed the censored story in his paper. And the staff wrote an editorial supporting student free press rights.

Student Press Law Center Executive Director Mark Goodman said Edwards was an ideal candidate for the award because of his courage. "Nick was willing to risk his own press freedom in defense of the press freedom of others," Goodman said.

Edwards is now a freshman at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash.

The award is sponsored by the Student Law Center, a national organization devoted to providing free legal advice and assistance to student journalists and their advisors.

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