TTribune Frequently Asked Questions

If you don't find your answer below, contact us via email.

1. What is TTribune?

TeenTribune, TweenTribune, TTEspaƱol and TTJunior (hereinafter collectively referred to as "TTribune") is a free online educational service offered by the Smithsonian for use by K-12 grade Teachers and students. TTribune consists of daily news sites for kids, tweens, and teens, and includes text, photos, graphics, and audio and/or video materials prepared by the Smithsonian and others about current events, history, art, culture and science. TTribune also includes lessons, instructional and assessment tools, and opportunities for the registered users to communicate with other participants. TTribune is a moderated comment sharing community where registered Teachers can assign educational content (like news stories) to students and the students using a screen name have the ability to create comments which, if approved by their Teacher, are then published either to the other students within the Teacher's TTribune classroom page, or publicly on TTribune.

2. How are the News Articles selected?

Each weekday, TTribune searches the Internet for grade-appropriate stories from reputable news organizations, such as the Associated Press, and local newspapers and TV stations. TTribune selects interesting stories and tailors them for different reading level audiences (e.g. Grades K-4, Grades 5-8, Grades 9-12, and Spanish students in any grade). In addition, TTribune allows students to engage with each other, by allowing registered students to comment on the stories and create further discourse and discussion. All comments are approved by their respective Teacher before they are posted.

3. How does TTribune Work?

Teachers register themselves and, after obtaining verifiable parental consent, register their students and associated class. Teachers assign user/screen names to students. TTribune populates passwords for each student user. Teachers then instruct their students to log on with the user name and password and read articles pre-selected by the Teacher. The Teacher encourages the students to post comments and may quiz the students on the material. Prior to any comment being posted, it is reviewed and approved by the Teacher. The Teacher can make edits and/or provide constructive feedback to the student that is only viewable to the student when he/she logs on. All quiz scores are delivered automatically to the Teachers to share with each student individually. With a student user account, students are only able to access their account, view the classroom page, Teacher instructions, review articles and provide comments. Students are not able to communicate directly with Teachers or other users.

4. Is TTribune safe?

Safety is our top priority at TTribune. TTribune has implemented the following measures to ensure that it is a safe place for students to engage.

  • Teachers are required to have verifiable parental consent for all student users.
  • TTribune only collects personal information from and about Teachers.
  • Teachers set up student user/screen names for their students.
  • TTribune does not ask for or collect any personally identifiable information (PII) (i.e., names, photographs, ages, email addresses, home addresses, etc.) from or about student users and teachers are instructed on how to help prevent this, for instance, by not including last names in student user/screen names.
  • TTribune does not ask for, collect, or store student email addresses, and students may not use their email address anywhere on the site.
  • Teachers review and approve students' comments, in all cases, before they are published.
  • All classrooms are defaulted for PRIVATE publication, so when a Teacher approves a student's comment, only the Teacher's class and the Teacher can see it. Teachers have to submit a request to TTribune to have their classroom's comments changed from PRIVATE publication to PUBLIC publication on the TTribune website.
  • TTribune uses filters for all comments and communications to "flag" for suggestiveness, offensiveness, violence or the use of PII. If detected, a communication is "flagged" and the TTribune team takes necessary corrective actions and sends an email to the respective Teacher, as appropriate.
  • We verify that teachers are active at the affiliated schools.
  • Teachers can only interact with the students they register for their respective classes.
  • If a Student feels uncomfortable in any way, he/she can:
    • Report the incident to his/her teacher, parent or legal guardian immediately and his/her parent, teacher or legal guardian can contact us via email.
  • If a Teacher feels uncomfortable in any way, he/she can:
    • "Flag" the comment for TTribune to review, which is checked daily and TTribune will communicate with the Teacher within 24 hours.

All Teachers and student users are subject to the TTribune Conduct Rules, the TTribune Terms of Use and the Smithsonian Institution Privacy Statement.

5. What Personal Information Does TTribune Collect and Use About its Users?

Non-registered users to TTribune may view the various TTribune news stories at any time. However, only registered users have the capability to post comments on the news stories. Except as stated in our Privacy Statement, no personal information is collected about or from non-registered users.

TTribune does not collect student' personally identifiable information (PII) (i.e., names, photographs, ages, email addresses, home addresses, telephone numbers, locations, etc.). As part of the registration process, Teachers provide only a user/screen name for each student which can be anything but the first and last name of the student.

Teacher accounts may only be obtained by Teachers who are 18 years of age or older. In order to register for a Teacher account, a Teacher will be required to provide the following information as part of the registration process:

  • Title
  • Full Name (First and last Names)
  • Email Address at Home
  • Email Address at School
  • School's Phone Number
  • School's Name
  • School's Address

TTribune will generate a Teacher's user name and temporary password that the Teacher will be prompted to change the first time he/she logs on.

We will use the Teacher's email address to contact them about the service in the following situations: (i) if the Teacher requests a password reset; (ii) to respond to a question or a concern that the Teacher submitted to us; (iii) or if we need to address a concern raised by other TTribune users about a comment published from a student user that is associated to the Teacher's classroom; or (iv) to contact them about TTribune, Smithsonian Enterprises, and/or Smithsonian activities, programs, memberships and development opportunities, products, and special events that may be of interest to the Teacher. When we send information by email, the Teacher will always have an immediate opportunity to decline further communications. Otherwise, except as stated in the TTribune Privacy Statement, the Smithsonian will not share the Teacher's email address that it receives through TTribune outside the Smithsonian unless a Teacher affirmatively authorizes TTribune and/or the Smithsonian to do so by opting-in.

Further, consistent with the Smithsonian's Privacy Statement, TTribune automatically collects information about visitors, such as an IP address, domain name used to access the site, pages, files, links and documents visited, etc., which it uses in the aggregate to understand TTribune's site usage, traffic trends, functionality and how to make technological and programmatic improvements. Smithsonian only uses interest based advertising on TTribune for logged-in Teacher users. It does not permit interest based advertising to appear on the website when student users access the website. For more information about our privacy policy and practices, please read the TTribune Privacy Statement. You may also contact the Privacy Office by either (i) email at; (ii) fax at 202-633-0179; or (iii) mail at: Privacy Office, PO Box 37012, MRC 041, Washington, DC 20013-7012.

6. Does TTribune share my personal information with third parties?

TTribune may use outside vendors to provide certain services on our behalf, such as the monitoring or filtering of comments. These third-party vendors will have access to the information needed to perform their functions but may not use that information for any other purpose.

TTribune may also provide your information to a Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency if we become aware of a violation or potential violation of law or regulation, and to any other person or entity as required by law. You can read more about the specifics on this page.

Any further sharing or disclosure requires your consent. The Smithsonian will not share information about its users that it receives through TTribune outside the Smithsonian unless you affirmatively authorize us to do so by opting-in.

7. How do Teachers register?

After completing and submitting the Registration Form, TTribune will send you an email containing your user name and temporary password. (Note: If you do not receive an email within 5 minutes after submitting your information, please click here. The email will also contain a link for you to click on to change your password. You may also change your user name, if you choose. After resetting your temporary password to one that you choose, you can log in to your account and set up your classroom(s) by clicking on the Manage classrooms link which is also included in the welcome email we send you.

8. I am a Teacher. How do I register my class?

Teacher accounts may only be obtained by Teachers who are 18 years of age or older. Prior to registering students, you (the Teacher) are responsible for obtaining verifiable parental consent from the students' parent or legal guardian who will be using TTribune. You must retain this information for the duration of the school year in which you created the Teacher account. The Smithsonian may request this information at any time. A Parental Consent Form is available here.

After obtaining verifiable parental consent, you can register your students for class using the Manage classrooms link. You can also use Manage classrooms to rename your classrooms, add students, delete students or retrieve your students' usernames and passwords.

After you have registered all the students in your classroom(s), click the Print button to print your students' usernames and passwords on sheets of paper. Tear the sheets into strips, and then distribute usernames and passwords to your students. Thereafter, ask your students to log in with the system-generated usernames and passwords you gave them, then select a story from the Topics menu or the homepage of TeenTribune, TweenTribune, TTJunior or TTEspaƱol and create a comment about the story. Remember, Comments do not appear until you "Publish" them. [See "How do Teachers publish their students comments so they are visible to other students in the classroom?" below.]

9. Can student's register for a TTribune account?

No. Students are not permitted to register for a TTribune account. Teachers register for a Teacher account, and, with verifiable consent from the students' parent or legal guardian, can register the student. [See "How do Teacher's Register?" above.]

10. What are My Responsibilities as a Teacher?

  • Register Yourself
    • Complete and Submit the Registration Form (Note: By registering you agree to provide, maintain and update true, accurate, current and complete information about yourself as prompted by our registration processes. The Smithsonian does not regularly monitor registrations, but reserves the right to monitor and review registrations as it deems appropriate. If you provide any information that does not satisfy this provision, or we have reasonable grounds to suspect as much, we have the right to suspend or terminate your account and restrict or refuse any and all current or future use of any Site or any portion thereof.)
    • Provide a User Name
  • Obtain Parental Consent
    • Obtain Verifiable Parental Consent from students' Parents or Legal Guardians before registering them in your class
    • Retain the Parental Consent Form for no less than the duration of the school year in which you created the Teacher account
  • Register Your Class
    • The system will generate user names and passwords for each student, that do not include student's first and last names together
    • Distribute the user names and passwords to the students
    • Instruct students to log in with the user names and passwords you distributed
  • Comply
    • Ensure to provide, maintain and update true, accurate, current and complete information about yourself as requested during the registration processes
    • Maintain the confidentiality of your password and all activities that occur under your username and password
    • Comply with the TTribune Conduct Rules
    • Comply with the TTribune Terms of Use
  • Report
    • "Flag" inappropriate behavior or comments for TTribune review. Teachers will be contacted by the TTribune team within 24 hours
    • Report any confirmed or suspected unauthorized use of your username, password, account information, or any other privacy or security incident that you become aware of involving or relating to the website within 24 hours to the Smithsonian Privacy Officer at
  • Have Fun Teaching!

11. What are My Responsibilities as a Student?

  • Log in
    • Log in with the user name and password provided by your Teacher
    • If you forget your password, contact your Teacher
  • Comply
  • Report
    • Report inappropriate behavior, conduct, or any incident that makes you feel uncomfortable to your Teacher, Parent, or Legal Guardian immediately.
  • Have Fun Learning!

12. How do Teachers publish their student's comments so they are visible to other students in the classroom?

When the Teacher is ready to review and/or "Publish" the student's comments, the Teacher will log in and click the Comments awaiting approval link (which is displayed within the list of For Teacher links that appear on the right side of the homepage after the Teacher logs in) and "Publish" the student's comments.

No one can see the students' comments until the Teacher approves them, and even after the Teacher approves the students' comments, their comments are only viewable "Privately" by the students in that classroom when the students are logged into TTribune. Students can submit additional comments to the published comments they see for their classroom. The Teacher will need to approve the re-comments following the same steps stated above.

13. How can Teachers publish their classroom's comments so they are visible to others beyond the classroom?

Teachers must affirmatively request to have their classroom's comments published "Publicly" on the TTribune website by submitting a request via email to "Go Public" from "Private". Within 48 hours of receipt of the"Go Public" request, TTribune will review the request and email the Teacher with further information.

Once a Teacher's comments are published "Publicly", they will be viewable beyond the classroom, by all visitors and users of TTribune. By "Going Public," the Teacher will be allowing his/her students to connect with other students around the world, while the Teacher remains in control. Specifically, other registered TTribune users will now be able to see and re-comment on or reply to the Teacher's students' comments. All comments (or replies to comments) will still follow the same review and approval process by the student's respective Teacher before they are published publicly. When other students reply to the Teacher's students' comments, the Teacher's students can see the replies by clicking the Replies to comments link in the For students links after they log on. Note, that once this feature is turned-on, it can't be reversed, and all comments thereafter submitted by students and approved by the Teachers will be "Publicly" published.

14. Who Can I Contact For More Information about TTribune?

If you would like more information about TTribune, or would like to cancel your user account, you may contact us via email or by mail:

Smithsonian Enterprises
Attn: Jacquie Moen
MRC 513 PO Box 37012
Capital Gallery, Suite 6001
Washington, DC 20013-7012
or via Email