Nov 25th, 2015 @ 11:38 am | Author: Greg Vanney
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp met with supporters of the John Wall New Voices Act of North Dakota (HB 1471) on the campus of Valley City State University on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

The John Wall New Voices Act protects high school and college student journalists from direct and indirect censorship. Since the bill passed the North Dakota House and Senate unanimously and was signed in to law in April 2015, advocates in more than 20 states have been working to replicate North Dakota’s legislation.

Organized by Steven Listopad, VCSU assistant professor and director of student media, the event brought Heitkamp together with a group of more than 20 New Voices supporters in the VCSU Student Center’s Norway Room and a dozen others via video conference.

Those assembled heard from Masaki Ova, assistant editor of the Jamestown (N.D.) Sun and one of the original student authors of the New Voices Act; Lucy Dalglish, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland; Mark Goodman, Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism at Kent State University; and Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, among many others.

Listopad and Heitkamp also gave comments, with Heitkamp congratulating the New Voices Act supporters and offering her support and insight into maneuvering through Congressional channels for federal legislative action. “Many great movements have started with students,” she said.

VCSU’s Listopad received a Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award at a reception at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sept. 29, 2015, in recognition of his efforts in support of the John Wall New Voices Act.

The New Voices Act is named in honor of the late John Wall, a high school teacher and North Dakota legislator who died in 2014. Wall, a 1970 VCSU alumnus, served five terms in the North Dakota House following retirement after 34 years teaching English and journalism at Wahpeton (N.D.) High School and Sargent Central High School in Forman, N.D.