About

Newspaper Editorial Policy 

Purpose

The newspaper serves as an educational project for the students of GrayslakeNorthHigh School.  As a co-curricular activity, its basic function is to serve the community by informing, educating and stimulating the exchange of diverse opinions. The paper will maintain a policy which is fair, accurate and impartial.

 The members of the staff will at all times represent themselves as responsible journalists and abide by the Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.  the newspaper is a product of student work that is a learning tool to teach ethics and skills of responsible journalists.

Sensitive and Controversial Issues

The newspaper staff recognizes the importance of being sensitive to reader tastes as well as the legal and ethical responsibilities of being good journalists. 

The following material will not be published in the newspaper:

-Libelous material.  Libel is defined as a false and unprivileged statement that intends to harm a specific individual and his/her reputation in the community.

-Obscene material.  Obscenity is defined as material that, taken as a whole and applying local community standards, appeals to the minor’s prurient interest in sex in a patently offensive way.

-Materials which encourage students to do any of the following…

                1.  Commit unlawful acts.

                2.  Violate lawful school regulations.

3.  Cause the material and substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school.

-Material that invades an individual’s right to privacy.

The newspaper recognizes that while there are many things that can legally be published, we will strive to adhere to the ethical standards put forth by the StudentPressLawCenter in Washington, D.C. and the Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.

The newspaper will also restrict anything that is raciest, sexist or demeaning in any way.

There shall be no prior restraint of material prepared for official school publications except when the material violates this section.

The Board of Education shall adopt rules in the form of a written publications code, which shall include reasonable provisions for the time, place and manner of conducting such activities within its jurisdiction.  The Board shall make the code available to the students and their parents.

Student editors shall assign and edit the news, editorial and feature content of their publications subject to the limitations of this section.  Journalism advisers of students producing the newspaper shall supervise the production of the student staff, maintain professional standards of English and journalism, and comply with this section.

Any expression made by students in the exercise of free speech, including student expression in official school publications shall not be deemed to be an expression of school policy, and the public school district and school employees or officials shall not be liable in any civil or criminal action for any student expression made or published by students, unless the school employees or  officials have interfered with or altered the content of the student speech or expression, and then only to the extent of the interference or alteration of the speech or expression.

The editorial board will make final decisions concerning questionable material, and legal counsel may be sought in extreme cases.  The newspaper follows the School Board policy, and the adviser reserves the right to edit/veto material.

Content

It shall be the responsibility of the adviser and editorial board to determine content of each issue of the paper.  Outside sources or persons may directly submit ideas to the editor or adviser for discussion.  Submission of materials for discussion does not guarantee a story or idea will be used.  Final decision is made by the board and/or adviser on the basis of timeliness, available space, perspective, issue or editorial goal and relevance.

If there is doubt about clarification or the purpose, the adviser and/or board reserves the right to withhold the usage and publication of such material.

All reporting and editing will strive to be accurate, fair, objective, and complete as possible within the limitations of deadlines.  Students will strive not to use profanity unless specified in a quote for a specified purpose.

Editorials

The newspaper will provide insightful commentary about the issues that are relevant to student life.  Editorials relating to newsworthy subjects that are interpretative, critical, persuasive, appreciative, entertaining, and sometimes visual will provide an analytical voice to the paper.  Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the editorial board; signed editorials represent the individual author.  Viewpoints expressed in the newspaper are not necessarily the opinions of the adviser or other faculty, administration, or School Board.  Opinionated articles will appear only on the editorial page unless otherwise labeled as a review, analysis or column.

Letters to the Editor

The  newspaper will provide an open forum in which diverse opinions of the students, faculty and staff and wider community may be expressed in exercise of democratic rights.  Submission of letters to the editor by any reader of the newspaper are welcomed.  Letters should not exceed 250 words, and all works must be signed.  The editorial editor will verify author’s authenticity and edit for length.  Letters will also be edited for legal and ethical concerns outlined in the profanity section of this policy.

Bylines/Credits

The practicing journalists who contribute to the newspaper will be recognized for their efforts.  Any story, artwork or photograph will be by-lined at the beginning of the articles, and photo credits will be italicized at the end of the caption.  Artwork will be signed by the artist.

News/Feature Coverage

Beyond the major news events, there are many activities that occur within the school setting that go unnoticed throughout the year.  The newspaper will focus on feature and future coverage of school events, while giving community and national events secondary coverage.  State and national issues that have a direct relevance to the lives of students will be given coverage through the “local angle,” but the newspaper will not recount what has already appeared in other local and national media.

The newspaper also reports on social trends and takes an in-depth look at what happens in the lives of students.  Topics of teen interest like drug and alcohol use, relationships, racial, gender and sexuality issues, and college preparation will also be explored. While mirroring and analyzing the student body, page editors may include editor’s notes to clarify why a story was written and how the information was gathered.  For example, a survey will be accompanied by a note saying how the students were polled as well as an interpretation of the data collected.

Corrections

Student journalists make mistakes like professionals.  When the staff or readers notice an error beyond spelling and punctuation, a correction will be published in the next issue on the same page the mistake occurred.

Illustrations

Photos, artwork, graphs and advertisements will be used to support and accompany a story or to stand alone for their own value.  The newspaper will not publish any visual material that demeans, demoralizes or ridicules any individual or group for physical handicap, race, creed, ethnicity or sexual preference.  Illustrations will also follow the rules for obscenity, libel, slander and invasion of privacy laws and standards.

Advertising

The newspaper will only solicit advertisements from merchants who sell products that are legally available to minors.  All advertising requires prepayment if there is not a current credit record with the newspaper.  All ads must be accompanied by a signed contract.  Advertisement rates and payment dates are established within the terms of the contract.  Any student used in an advertisement must sign a model release form, and have it signed by a parent or guardian if the student is under 18 years of age.

All advertisements in the newspaper will adhere to the ethical standards put forth by the SPLC in Washington, D.C. and the Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. 

The newspaper will not accept advertisements that are racist, sexist or demeaning in nature.  Ads do not represent the opinions of the school board and administration.

Staff Dismissal

All staff members are expected to know the responsibilities of their position, to meet deadlines, to follow newspaper policy, and to fulfill their duties to the best of their ability.  Students who do not fulfill their responsibilities in timely fashion will be notified by the adviser and a will receive an F in the course. Corrective measures and/or probation may be implemented to avoid failure.

Repeated delinquency or other serious breaches of conduct by staff members such as plagiarism, making up facts or quotes, or stealing or damaging school equipment will result in dismissal and a failing grade for the newspaper class.

Manner of Distribution

The newspaper is a fourth class matter published roughly every month, with established publication dates announced at the beginning of the school year.  Copies are distributed to the main office, hallways and cafeteria.

Obituaries

Deaths of students, staff and faculty are news items that are given sensitive coverage.  Cause of death will be published only if the surviving family consents, and coverage will not “eulogize” the person by giving undue attention and space.

Membership

The membership of the staff will be students enrolled in Journalism II.  Students must take Journalism I before Journalism II. 

Members of the newspaper staff will adhere to all of the classroom policies as outlined in the Student Handbook and all of the policies outlined in the Activities Code of Conduct. 

Editors

Page editors must apply for their positions by putting together a portfolio of their work as described in the Editor Application.  Editors will be chosen by the adviser.  An editorial board will also lead the newspaper.  These positions will consist of an editor in chief, managing editor, business manager and other editors as deemed by the adviser. 

To remain an editor, all editors must attend layout sessions and complete their pages to the best of their abilities.  Failure to attend a layout session without prior approval could result in loss of honors credit and removal of editorial duties.

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