Editorial Policy

SOLON HIGH SCHOOL COURIER EDITORIAL POLICY

The SHS Media Editorial Policy pertains to all SHS media published on the site theshscourier.com.

The SHS Courier is the official student-produced media of  news and information published/produced by SHS Media Communication students. The SHS Courier has been established as a designated public forus for student editors to inform and educate their readers as well as for the discussion of  issues of  concern to their audience. It will not be reviewed or restrained by school officials prior to publication or distribution.  Advisers may – and should coach and discuss content – during the writing process.

School officials do not engage in prior review, and the content of the SHS Courier is determined by and reflects only the  views of  the student staff  and not school officials or the school itself.

I. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

As it is essential to preserve the freedom of the press in order to preserve a free society,

  1. The media will serve the best interest of the students and faculty of Solon High School, keeping itself free from any commercial obligations distracting from this purpose; this is defined by the media itself;
  2. Any decisions affecting the publications on all levels will be made by the student staff, the adviser is allowed to give legal advice and his/her opinion, but the final decision rests in the hands of the student staff;
  3. All media will vigorously resist all attempts at censorship, particularly pre-publication censorship;
  4. All media retain the right to publish any and all material attained through an interview by a staff member of the publications staff, holding that the interviewee was made aware that the information could be published in any form at any time;
  5. All student media referenced in this editorial policy are designated public forums;
  6. Student journalists may use print and electronic media to report news and information, to communicate with other students and individuals, to ask questions of  and consult with experts and to gather material to meet their newsgathering and research needs;
  7. SHS Courier and its staff  are protected by and bound to the principles of  the First Amendment and other protections and limitations afforded by the Constitution and the various laws and  court decisions  implementing those principles;
  8. SHS Courier will not publish any material determined by student editors or the student editorial board to be unprotected, that is, material that is libelous, obscene, materially disruptive of  the school  process, an unwarranted invasion of  privacy, a violation of  copyright  or a  promotion of  products or services unlawful (illegal) as to minors  as defined  by state or  federal law;
  9. Definitions and examples for the above instances of  unprotected speech can be found in Law of  the Student Press published by the Student Press Law Center.

II. THE ADVISER

  1. The adviser is a professional teaching staff member and is in charge of the class just as in a conventional classroom situation.
  2. Is a certified journalism teacher that serves as a professional role model, motivator, catalyst for ideas and professionalism, and an educational resource.
  3. Provides a journalistic, professional learning atmosphere for students by allowing them to make the decision of content for the media and ensuring the media will remain an open forum.
  4. Guides the newspaper staff in accordance with approved editorial policy and aids the educational process related to producing the newspaper.
  5. May caution, act as legal consultant and educator in terms of unprotected speech, but has no power over censorship or veto except for constitutionally valid reasons.
  6. Will keep abreast of the latest trends on journalism and share these with students.
  7. Will submit the school media content produced by the students in Media Communications to rating services and contests in order for the school publications staff to receive feedback.
  8. Will forward any received correspondence and/or information to the appropriate editors.
  9. Will work with the faculty and administration to help them understand the freedoms accorded to the students and the professional goals of the school publications.
  10. The adviser will not act as a censor or determine the content of  the paper. The adviser will offer  advice  and instruction,  following  the  Code of  Ethics for Advisers established by the Journalism Education  Association as well as the Canons of  Professional  Journalism. School officials shall  not  fire or otherwise  discipline advisers for content in student media  that is determined and published by the student  staff

III. THE BUILDING ADMINISTRATION

  1. The Solon High School administration will provide the students of SHS with a qualified journalism instructor to serve as a professional role model, adequate classroom equipment, and space for a sound journalism program.
  2. SHS administration will offer equal opportunity to minority and/or marginalized students to participate in journalism programs.
  3. SHS administration is not required to view and approve publication content before publishing

IV. CONTENT OF SHS MEDIA

A. INTRODUCTION

All content decisions will be made in occurrence to the following provisions, while keeping in mind that the overall purpose, role and goal of all SHS Media is to

  1. Inform, interpret, and entertain their viewers through accurate and factual reports, where information has been thoroughly gathered and information has been completely verified;
  2. Serve as an educational laboratory experience for those on staff;
  3. Be accurate, fair, and impartial in its coverage of issues that affect the school community;
  4. SHS Media will not avoid publishing a story solely on the basis of  possible dissent  or controversy;
  5. Cover the total school population as effectively and accurately as possible;
  6. The staff  of  SHS Media will strive to report all issues in a legal, objective, accurate and ethical  manner, according  to  the Canons  of  Professional Journalism developed by the Society  for Professional Journalists. The Canons of  Professional Journalism include a code of  ethics concerning accuracy, responsibility, integrity, conflict of  interest, impartiality, fair play, freedom of  the press, independence, sensationalism, personal  privacy, obstruction of  justice, creditability and  advertising.

B. REGARDING PROFANITY

  1. The media will not print unnecessary profanity.
  2. The editorial board will make the decision on whether content is considered profane or whether it is a cultural or non-vulgar slang term.
  3. The editorial board reserves the right to edit quotes for unnecessary profanity or unnecessarily offensive words, quotes that have been edited will be noted accordingly when published.
  4. Any edited quote will be read back to the source prior to publishing and sources will have a chance to make changes.
  5. Staff interviewers have the right to ask a source when necessary to repeat a quote without the use of profane language.

C. REGARDING STAFF WRITING

  1. SHS students outside of the media staffs will have the opportunity to submit writing to the media.
  2. Any writing submitted from an outside source for use will be reviewed by student staff and adviser before acceptance and publication. 
  3. Any material submitted from an outside source can be edited by the student staff and must comply to this policy.
  4. Writing must be the original work of the writer and not previously published on any publication, unless otherwise specified by the adviser.

D. REGARDING CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES

  1. All coverage of controversial issues will occur upon a timely subject.
  2. All sides of the issue will be presented and reviewed so as to refrain from any bias, with exception of opinions.
  3. In news, all sides of a school, community, city, state, national, or international political issue will be presented factually so as to inform rather than promote or endorse.
  4. The media will not publish material that is unnecessarily obscene, libelous, unwarranted invasive of privacy.
  5. The media will not attack
  6. If question on the veracity of publication persists, the issue will be brought to the editorial board who must consider the following questions before publication of the piece:
  1. Why is it a concern?
  2. What is it’s journalistic purpose?
  3. Is the information accurate and complete?
  4. Are any important POV omitted?
  5. How would we feel if the story was about ourselves or someone we know?
  6. What are the consequences’ of the publication?
  7. Is there a logical explanation to anyone who challenges issue?
  8. Is it worth risking our credibility?
  9. What are the alternatives?

E. REGARDING BYLINES

  1. All articles, graphics, photos, art, columns, pages, reviews, and other material creatively conceived will be bylined with the producer’s name.
  2. All bylined writers will be held accountable for their work.
  3. When more than one person has contributed creatively to a piece of work, any person who has contributed to the work must be bylined as a producer.

F. REGARDING NEWS AND FEATURES

  1. The media will specialize in and emphasize on informing their readers of school news and unique students of the Solon High School community.
  2. The media will cover community, state, national, and international news if it is directly relevant to the school community, and includes local angle.
  3. The media will strive to provide coverage to all school organizations and functions.
  4. When faced with the undesirable news such as student or staff or faculty crimes, the publications will endeavor to publish the facts correctly, explain the issue, and put a stop to any speculative stories that inevitably develop.

E. REGARDING ERRORS

  1. Concerns about errors in the school media may be submitted though the adviser.
  2. The student staff retains the right to determine whether, in fact, an error has been made.
  3. Known and or found errors that are brought to the attention of the school media will be addressed regardless if realized by author, audience, or staff member.
  4. Staff  members will strive to correct errors prior to publication; however, if  the editors or advisors  determine a significant  error is printed, the editors and adviser will determine the manner and timeliness of  a correction.
  5. Major corrections are determined by the editors and adviser.
  6. If changes are made to a web story once a story has been posted, the change will be noted 

F. REGARDING ONLINE COMMENTS

  1. No material will be published where content is obscene, invasive of others’ privacy, encouraging physical disruption of school activities, and/or implies libel.
  2. Online comments will require a name and email address submitted that are verifiable.
  3. Online comments are subject to review by the SHS Courier staff and adviser and need approval to be published.
  4. Personal attacks are not allowed.

G. REGARDING REVIEWS

  1. The reviewer must have experience in the area in which they are reviewing.
  2. All reviews will be bylined and all reviews will be expressed opinions of authors, the newspaper staff does not express opinions on the subject matter.
  3. All reviews will be to evaluate and inform, not to promote.
  4. Evaluative criteria used will be determined by staff depending on whether the event or item being reviewed is professional or amateur in nature.
  5. Review ideas may be submitted to the editorial board by all members of the SHS staff.
  6. All reviews must first be reviewed by editors  prior to publishing.

H. PRIOR REVIEW POLICY

  1. Sources will be able to have quotes read back at the time of interview or at reporter’s initiative.
  2. Sources will not be able to arbitrarily demand to read the reporter’s completed story and then perform editing tasks on that story.
  3. The media reporters will endeavor to include the name and identity of all sources if reporter believes that doing so will not result in endangerment, harassment or any other form of undue physical, mental, emotional anguish for the source.
  4. The media reporters will not, within all boundaries of law, reveal a source who asks to remain nameless.
  5. All media interviewers will respect the interviewees rights to have information remain “off the record” if the fact is known before giving the information to the interviewer.
  6. The media will not be reviewed by anyone outside of the Courier staff aside from the adviser prior to its release to the public, the adviser is allowed to review the publication, but not required to, for the sole purpose of acting as legal consultant and educator in terms of unprotected speech; the adviser reading content is not considered prior review unless he/she makes changes or directs changes.

I. STUDENT & STAFF PUBLICATION POLICY

  1. All students and staff of Solon High School are eligible for publication in the SHS Courier.
  2. Any student or staff member wishing to ‘opt out’ of being published in the student media needs to fill out the appropriate ‘opt out’ form with the main office and alert the student media adviser of plans to ‘opt out.’
  3. All efforts will be made to keep students and staff who have ‘opted out’ of coverage from publication in the SHS Courier.
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Editorial Policy