Model Policy Manual
A starting point for community college publications to develop their own policy manuals.
Dear JACC faculty members and student editors: If there is one most important step for a newspaper staff to take in nailing down its professionalism and protecting itself against its many campus critics, that step is to produce a detailed policy manual. The policy manual is the cornerstone of any publication. Recognizing that need, the Executive Board of JACC has authorized the production of this sample policy manual which can easily to adapted to your newspaper. This is not intended to be the only or even the best way to do things on a campus newspaper. But it is one way. It is a way which has been successful for some of our most prominent college members. This document is presented in disk form (Macintosh WriteNow 3.0 or IBM) to ease the adoption of a policy manual for your newspaper. Feel free to eliminate, add or change any of the material listed in the sample. Place the name of your newspaper and college in the appropriate places by substituting for the existing copy. In some places, editorial notes have been added to explain the background behind the listed policy, to show an option you may prefer to the one listed or to suggest wide discussion before formal adoption of the policy. But whether you decide to use the policy as given, to use the policy in a very streamlined version or to use a fine-tuned version consistent with the special situation(s) found at your college, the primary concern of JACC is to provide the easiest way possible for you to put a policy in place at the earliest possible moment. The joy that comes from being able to refer an irate letter writer, campus administrator or unreasonable advertiser to a well written policy that was passed months or even years before the current situation became a problem is a genuine pleasure. It shows the professionalism that comes with planning and following well known procedures. It takes the fire out of your criticsâ€™ bards when you know you have done the right thing or at least have made a considered decision on how to handle certain situations. If you have any questions about the issues raised in the policy manual, please contact any JACC officer for comment or discussion. Once you have produced your own finished policy manual, you should make copies for each member of your staff and copies should be distributed each new semester to incoming staffers. It might be helpful to distribute copies to key campus administrators. Simply present them with the policy manual, telling them what it is and that it has been approved by your Editorial Board and is sanctioned by JACC. The odds are that the administrators will not read it but they may be impressed that such a policy exists. When the problems come, you can refer them to the document that they were given. Some advisers have had their Board of Trustees vote approval of the policy so that it takes on the strength of a district board rules. Some voice concern about this practice because it could backfire and the board could produce their own not so favorable version of the policy. If there is no current crisis surrounding the paper and the mood is favorable toward the paper and its adviser(s), then going to the board might be just a simple matter without change or controversy. The policy should be a product of the Editorial Board thus it is best to present this sample (with whatever changes the adviser would include before it goes to Editorial Board) as a suggested policy. Once passed, changes can easily be made on the disk version and updated to all staffers as needed. JACC hopes this document will help you survive and improve the effectiveness of your publication. FOREWORD The following policy is the product of the best thinking of the students on the (name of publication) staff at (name of college). It has been revised many times. Each revision has been an effort to improve procedures that are the backbone of the newspaper. The policies of the newspaper are part of what has made the (name of publication) a leader in the countryâ€™s community college journalism world. Course(s): Journalism (insert correct course number)--newspaper production laboratory class(es) Textbook(s): Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual and the (name of publication) Policy Manual Adviser(s): Students will be evaluated on all of the following: 1. deadlines met 2. writing quality 3. accuracy of stories 4. fulfilling job responsibilities 5. total inches written 6. application of the principles of ethical journalism as outlined in the Society of Professional Journalists Canons of Journalism (included in this Policy Manual) 7. production abilities reflected and measured in copyreading, proofreading, headline writing and page design (Your specific grading policy could be inserted at this point. JACC may sponsor a workshop idea exchange on grading of staff members at a future session during the Mid-Winter Faculty Conference at Morro Bay.) For Your Information (Name publications) are or is publication(s) whose basic concern is a community of about (list enrollment) population. Ordinarily editors realize they have neither the space nor the resources to compete with the metro or national publications. To cover such stories would be self-indulgent and, usually nonproductive. If readers have strong interests in international relations, national policies, the status of major league professional teams or the location and quality of big-city entertainment, they will subscribe to an appropriate publication. It is with these industry-wide facts in mind and having due concern for the proper teaching of journalism that the following rule has been constructed: 1. Material submitted for grades should be suitable for publication in the (name publication(s). That is, the material should be about a campus person or event, an event or person in the immediate community that would be of interest to our readers or an event or person farther away that has a local angle. 2. There may be occasional exceptions to this rule but they should be exceptions rather than the norm. They should arise out of extraordinary events, not normal ones, and even then the writers should be seeking a local angle. Therefore we do not expect to see sports stories, columns or speculations on Rams, Raiders, Angels, Dodgers or others in the normal course of events. We do not expect ordinarily to see advance or coverage stories or reviews of plays, concerts, movies or the like that do not have an angle that is especially studentoriented. Certainly space should not be used for such outside stuff until the local scene has been thoroughly covered. Ethics The practices of good journalism are outlined in the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists. Maintaining these high standards is vital to the survival of credibility for the program and its publications. Competition At times during the semester, it may seem that your adviser(s) emphasize competition. If so, your perception is correct. We believe in competition because it is the professional norm, because it is a valuable learning experience, because it breeds the personal characteristics of a reporter which are valued, because it is a way of comparing your work against that of your peers and because most employers would prefer to hire a winner with a strong track record in competition. But as the saying goes, winning is not the only thing. Participating, trying your wings, attempting to win even if you run the risk of not winning is part of the meaning of competition. Not all journalists win, but all journalists are winners because they think like winners. They compete hard but fairly. They are not undone by failure. They profit from what they learn each time they set their work against others. Be aggressive. If you never try, you cannot lose but you will be a loser in any event. What makes a great newspaper? This is an excerpt from Criteria of a Good Newspaper by the Associated Press Managing Editors Association. After considerable study, an APME committee reported that integrity, accuracy, responsibility and leadership form the core of the criteria. Integrity Maintain vigorous standards of honesty and fair play in the selection and editing of its contents as well as in all relations with news sources and the public. Deal dispassionately with controversial subjects and treat disputed issues with impartiality. Practice humility and tolerance in the face of honest conflicting opinions of disagreement. Provide a forum for the exchange of pertinent comment and criticism, especially if it is in conflict with the newspaperâ€™s editorial point of view. Label its own editorial views or expressions of opinion. Accuracy Exert maximum effort to print the truth in all news situations. Strive for completeness and objectivity. Guard against carelessness, bias or distortion by either emphasis or omission. Correct promptly errors of fact for which the newspaper is responsible. Responsibility Use mature and considered judgment in the public interest at all times. Select, edit and display news on the basis of its significance and its genuine usefulness to the public. Edit news affecting public morals with candor and good taste and avoid an imbalance of a sensational, preponderantly negative or merely trivial news. Accent when possible a reasonable amount of news which illustrates the values of compassion, self-sacrifice, heroism, good citizenship and patriotism. Clearly define sources of news, and tell the reader when competent sources cannot be identified. Respect rights of privacy. Instruct its staff members to conduct themselves with dignity and decorum. Leadership Help to protect all rights and privileges guaranteed by law. Act with courage in serving the public. Stimulate and vigorously support public officials, private groups and individuals in crusades and campaigns to increase the good works and eliminate the bad in the community. Serve as a constructive critic of government at all levels, providing leadership for necessary reforms or innovations, and exposing any misfeasance in office or any misuse of public power. Oppose demagogues and other selfish and unwholesome interests regardless of their size or influence. Guide for a good newspaper A good newspaper is guided by truth, freedom and concern for human decency. Background information (You may wish to insert some basic information about your district, its organization and your campus structure.) Statement of policy The purposes of the (name of publication) are primarily these: 1. To provide instruction in the discipline of journalism and to emphasize the professional as well as the academic approach to principles, rights and obligations of a free press in a free society. 2. To provide the college with a quality newspaper. A quality newspaper possesses at least the following: Concerns for its publics The (name of publication) must be concerned with its publics (the student body, the faculty, the administration and the community at large) because a good newspaper reports, interprets and comments on those ideas and events that are of consequence and/or interest to its readers. Meeting the needs of its publics should be the basic aim of the student-produced newspaper. That should be fundamental in the exercise of editorial judgment, in news play, content selection and editorial policy. Readers should receive a newspaper that provides full and accurate coverage of campus life and exhibits sound judgment and reasoning in columns and editorials. Readers deserve a newspaper that leads, informs, instructs and entertains with truth and accuracy foremost in the production of that newspaper. Right to criticize The (name of publication) deserves the right to criticize, to question and to evaluate, and assumes responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of that criticism. Constructive criticism, thoughtfully prepared and presented, is basic to the freedom of the college press. Responsibility The (name of publication) realizes that the exercise of press freedom entails a heavy burden of responsibility. That responsibility includes not only the right to print, but also the right not to print, for the (name of publication) realizes that, at least in part, the reputation of students, faculty and the institution, and the opinions of its readers, can be shaped by the (name of publication). The (name of publication) staff may make mistakes, but not without benefiting from those mistakes and not without full realization that it is responsible for those mistakes. Policy specifics A. Management 1. To accord students a medium of free expression, the newspaper adviser(s), college president and administrative assistants shall refrain from management of the (name of publication). 2. Because publishing a newspaper is a highly technical process that must operate within certain inflexible deadlines, it is necessary to concentrate executive authority in the hands of one individual--the editor in chief. a. The editor in chief is responsible and answerable for the news and editorial content of the (name of publication). b. The editor in chief ensures that the campus is adequately covered. c. The editor in chief is responsible for the conduct of staff members when they are performing (name of publication) duties. If the editor in chief believes there are journalistic or ethical reasons for the removal of a subordinate editor, subordinate editors may be removed by the editor in chief. 3. Selection of the editor in chief a. Candidates will submit a written statement announcing their wish to be considered as a candidate for editor in chief to any adviser prior to the announced deadline. b. A list of former (name of publication) journalists will be submitted to Editorial Board. From that list the Editorial Board will select two interviewers who along with the outgoing editor in chief will examine the candidate(s) and vote to determine who will be the new editor in chief. If one of the selected interviewers is unable to serve on the interview committee, then the Editorial Board will continue to select interviewers until two have agreed to make themselves available. If the Editorial Board challenges the list of former (name of publication) journalists submitted to it, the Board will be given access to the complete alumni file to seek interviewers for the editor in chief selection. c. Each interviewer will have one vote. Two votes are required to select the new editor in chief. d. Advisers will sit in on the interviews as resources but not as voting members of the selection body. 4. Removal of an editor in chief a. When any two members of the Editorial Board are concerned about the ability of the editor in chief to continue to perform his/her assigned duties, they may notify the advisers, who will contact the members of the interview committee and an inquiry hearing will be conducted. b. The interview committee members will determine if the editor in chief will continue in the job. The committeeâ€™s decision is final. c. During the hearing, the committee will hear testimony from any member of staff who wishes to address the committee on the issue of the editor in chiefâ€™s ability to continue to properly execute the job. d. The interview committee most desirable for this purpose is the original interview committee that selected the challenged editor in chief. However, if any member of the original committee is not available, replacement members of the hearing board will be selected by the remaining members of the original committee until the committee reaches its full membership of three. B. Advisersâ€™ role 1. The role of the advisers is to advise the editor in chief, Editorial Board and individual staff members about news judgment, writing and placement, content, page design, professional ethics and conduct and other journalistic principles and techniques. 2. The advisers can often supply information that may be necessary to understand facts about a story or issue. 3. The advisers shall not impose editorial positions. 4. At least one adviser must be present at Editorial Board proceedings. C. Content 1. Content selection is reserved for the (name of publication) staff. The staff, and the editor in chief in particular, shall insure that all copy meets the standards set forth in this policy. 2. The (name of publication) may publish information on offcampus events related to or of interest to the (name of publication)â€™s readership; however, the general rule is to cover campus activities first. 3. All art that contains opinion (cartoons and column illustrations) shall go before the Editorial Board to determine whether it contains any objectionable material. 4. All photos that may contain objectionable material shall be referred to Editorial Board for a vote. 5. Obscenity and racial or religious denigration's shall not appear in the (name of publication) with the intent of promoting those items or to titillate the readership. 6. Interruption of circulation a. Only the editor in chief or in the editor in chiefâ€™s absence the managing editor may interrupt the circulation of the (name of publication). The canons of good journalism must be paramount in the minds of the editor in chief or the managing editor in making such a decision. b. It is the responsibility of the Editorial Board to convene as soon as possible to decide whether the interruption of circulation is to be continued. 7. News treatment a. The (name of publication) reserves the right to treat individuals and issues on their merit as may be determined by the facts and the considered judgment of the Editorial Board. b. To protect academic freedom, the (name of publication) will not quote or otherwise cite statements made during and as a part of any class without the express permission of the individual making such statements. c. The (name of publication) shall not publish propaganda in the guise of news. 8. Political involvement a. The (name of publication) is a non-partisan publication and has no campus or off- campus political affiliations. b. The (name of publication) reserves the right, however, to publish in editorials, letters and columns support for or opposition to any candidate or issue in on-campus, local, state or national elections. c. The editorial or column in which a candidate or issue is supported or opposed must appear a minimum of two issues before an election to provide time for rebuttal, or space must be offered for such rebuttal in the same issue. d. To avoid a possible conflict of interest, a (name of publication) staff member shall not be a member of student government. 9. Double coverage a. It is not uncommon for members of the (name of publication) staff to be hired by other newspapers in the area as paid employees, stringers and interns. There have been occasions when staffers have been caught in a conflict of interest between their responsibility to the (name of publication) and to the other publication(s). b. When working on the (name of publication), the staffer is considered a full-time employee of the newspaper despite the lack of a salary. At any time where a potential conflict of interest might exist, the burden of checking with the Editorial Board or the editor in chief is on the staffer. If you are on assignment for the (name of publication), then obviously the primary loyalty is to the (name of publication); any information you gather is first and foremost the property of the (name of publication). You must check before writing a story for another publication or presenting film or prints to another publication. c. A violation of this policy will be considered a gross breach of ethics and may cause you to be excluded from normal publication activities. D. Freebie policy 1. Freebies are items of value, either merchandise or special consideration, offered to reporters. 2. The (name of publication) and its reporters shall not accept freebies. 3. Items that cannot be accepted include, but are not limited to: a. free meals b. free records c. free books d. free admission to movies, plays, concerts, etc. for which admission is charged. 4. Reimbursement a. Since no (name of publication) staff member is expected to subsidize the operation of the (name of publication), reimbursement of expenses incurred while attending to (name of publication) business is provided when funds are available. b. Reporters shall not attend entertainment or other events requiring admission on their own initiative with the hope of obtaining reimbursement. After prior authorization from the editor in chief or his/her designee is sought, reimbursement can be granted. c. A bill for expenses shall be submitted to the editor in chief when reimbursement is desired. d. Legitimate expenses include, but are not limited to, mileage for travel in covering a story and admission fees and other expenses incurred while on (name of publication) business. e. A form for reimbursement is available from the advisers or the editor in chief. Once the request has been approved, reimbursement can be made. The form must be filled out prior to the (name of publication) business. 5. Handling freebie offers a. All freebies received in the mail shall be called to the attention of the editor in chief and sent back to the firm sending out the item, donated to charity or junked. b. All phone or personal invitations or offers shall be turned down with thanks at the time unless approved by the editor in chief. 6. Any and all violations of the freebie policy shall be considered a serious infraction and violators shall be brought before Editorial Board for disciplinary action. E. News room conduct 1. Conduct of individuals in the News Room shall be professional. 2. The News Room shall always be kept neat and clean. 3. Any editor that leaves his/her desk cluttered at the end of the day shall forfeit the right of occupancy when requested. 4. No one shall sit at a desk assigned to an editor, unless first obtaining permission from that editor. 5. The News Room is not the appropriate place to meet with friends who are not members of the (name of publication) staff. 6. Phones a. No personal calls may be made from the News Room except in the case of an emergency. b. When answering the phone use the following procedure: â€œ(name of publication) News Room, this is (state your name) speaking. May I help you?â€? c. Always be courteous. d. Messages for staff members shall be put in their mail boxes. Messages shall contain the following information: who called, when (time and date), the message (if any), a return number and the name of the person taking the message. e. When dialing a number on campus, just dial the extension. When dialing a number off campus, consult the campus phone directory. f. When leaving a message for someone to return your call, always leave your full name (first and last). F. Columns and columnists 1. Any staff member may write a column. 2. Any person not on the (name of publication) staff may write a guest column on his/her own initiative or at the request of the (name of publication). 3. Selection of columns for publication a. Columns shall be selected for publication by the opinion editor after consultation with the editor in chief. b. Of foremost concern in selecting a column for publication shall be reader interest and good writing. c. Columns that are obscene or contain racial, religious or group denigrations shall not run; the writer shall be contacted and informed of the unacceptable portion(s) and given the opportunity to make revisions. d. To protect the individualâ€™s right of freedom of expression, selection of columns shall not be made on the basis of opinions expressed therein except as noted in 3.c. 4. The (name of publication) reserves the right to condense columns. 5. Columns may run on pages other than the opinion page. 6. All columns must be labeled as opinion. G. Editorial Board 1. General a. Editorial Board is a class. The advisers are the teachers. The chairperson is the editor in chief, managing editor or opinion editor at the discretion of the editor in chief. b. At least one adviser must be present at Editorial Board meetings. c. Considerations of Editorial Board include: 1. Discussion of editorials, columns, cartoons and other editorial content. 2. Discussion of the general shape and content of the news and feature coverage in future issues. 3. Any problems and grievances from inside or outside of the Roundup, and any problems or issues surrounding policy. 4. Editorial leadership. 2. Membership a. The Editorial Board is composed of the editor in chief, managing editor, news editor, opinion editor, sports editor, photo editor, scene editor, focus/forum editor, feature editor, copy editor and magazine editor. b. The editor in chief may appoint a maximum of two staff members, other than the editors, to Editorial Board. They will take on all rights and responsibilities of other Board members. c. Any non-members may attend Editorial Board meetings, with the editor in chief, managing editor or opinion editor approval, but they shall not have a vote. 3. Responsibilities of board members a. Attendance at Editorial Board meetings is mandatory. It is the responsibility of the board member to inform the Editorial Board chairperson of an anticipated absence. b. Board members must present editorial premises on a regular basis. The board will assign the writing of editorials based on an approved premise. c. Board members must keep the opinion editor supplied with opinion page copy. The opinion editor may develop a column schedule for board members and will deliver copies of the schedule to the board members and advisers. d. Board members must be fair and accurate and avoid getting egos involved in the work of Editorial Board. e. Coming into a meeting emotionally set on an opinion is not desirable. Background information is essential on all issues to be discussed. f. A Policy Manual must be brought to every meeting by each member of the Editorial Board. 4. Editorial Board responsibilities a. Conduct of Editorial Board meetings shall be professional at all times. b. The Editorial Board enjoys wide freedom of choice of editorial topics. Freedom imposes serious responsibility. That responsibility is met when the Board investigates facts thoroughly, analyzes situations carefully, forms honest opinion and expresses itself clearly. c. While the (name of publication) reserves the right to criticize, responsibility and mature judgment are expected to be brought to bear in advance. All sides should be discussed before criticism is published. d. Inaccuracies and misstatements of fact should not be part of the (name of publication) whether these appear in news stories, columns, editorials or cartoons. Therefore, statements made as fact that are false, inaccurate and/or misleading should be omitted, or the item should not run until corrected. Clarification's and/or apologies will be published when appropriate. e. The Editorial Board determines the print worthiness of all materials questionable from the standpoint of obscenity, taste and/or libel with the final decision reserved to the editor in chief. f. The Editorial Board will not print libel. No libelous statements in editorials or columns, or libelous drawings or photos, shall appear in the (name of publication). g. The (name of publication) does not print profanity for profanityâ€™s sake. Good taste shall be the guideline. Where profanity is used in quotes and/or contributes significantly to the feeling of the statement, its use shall be permitted. h. The Editorial Board will consider complaints and grievances leveled at the (name of publication) from both inside and outside sources. 5. Voting a. A voting quorum is 2/3 of the membership. b. Each member of the Editorial Board has one vote. Advisers have no vote. A member may vote yes, no or abstain. c. An editor may give his/her assistant editor a proxy vote in the event of an anticipated absence. An editor without an assignment may assign a proxy to another staff member with editor in chief, managing editor or opinion editor approval. 1. Proxies will be written and shall include the following information: the names of the editor and assistant editor or approved proxy, the date and any instructions to vote in a particular way on an issue. 2. An approved proxy must attend the designated meeting. d. An Editorial Board decision requires a majority vote, unless otherwise specified hereinafter. e. Two negative votes are needed to defeat an editorial premise or an editorial. 1. If an editorial is defeated, a pro-con column may result. 2. Representatives from each side of the issue will be assigned to write the columns. f. Editorials are best discussed and voted upon during an Editorial Board meeting. g. An editorial may be passed by circulating it outside Editorial Board for signatures of the members, but only in emergencies and with the knowledge of an adviser. 1. In circulating an editorial for signatures, the Editorial Board chairperson shall make an effort to contact all members of the board. 2. If a board member refuses to sign a circulated editorial, then that action would constitute a no vote. h. A 2/3 vote of quorum is necessary to change any (name of publication) policy. i. The editor in chief has the power to override any vote and all decisions. 6. Confidentiality a. All proceedings of the Editorial Board and the (name of publication) staff are strictly confidential and shall not be discussed with the individuals who are not members of the (name of publication) staff. b. No Editorial Board member or (name of publication) staffer shall indicate to non- staffers his/her non-agreement with Editorial Board or with decisions of the editorial staff. c. If a (name of publication) staffer is approached by someone expressing dissatisfaction with an editorial stand or with the treatment of news, the staffer shall refer the critic to the editor in chief or suggest that the critic write a letter to the editor or a guest column. 7. Editorials a. All editorials must be produced for presentation to each member of Editorial Board. b. Any journalism student (in writing classes) may write an editorial to be considered by Editorial Board for publication. c. The author of an editorial must be present at Editorial Board when the editorial is being discussed. d. Discussion of editorial ideas is confidential. The editorial represents the viewpoint of the paper (even should there be differing viewpoints to the editorialâ€™s passage) and is unsigned. e. The name of the editorial writer shall not be made public except in cases of competition. f. Strong differing ideas and opinions about editorial issues may be used as a basis for pro-con columns. 8. Opinion page a. The masthead will always run. b. Conflicts among columns, letters and/or editorials caused by space limitations on the opinion page shall be resolved by the editor in chief and the opinion editor. 1. In general, letters have priority over all other items on the opinion page. Which items shall be published shall be determined on the basis of the available editorials, columns and other materials for the opinion page. 2. Columns and letters may be run on news pages depending on circumstances and at the discretion of the editor in chief as long as they are clearly labeled. c. All art expressing an opinion shall come before the Editorial Board for discussion and a vote on its suitability and consistency with Roundup policies. 1. A vote is taken to determine whether the board believes the art contains any objectionable material. 2. Another vote may be taken if the board wishes to have the art run under the editorial standing head, thereby making it the opinion of the paper; the vote must be unanimous. d. The opinion page is the result of the effort of the entire Editorial Board and not of the opinion editor alone. 9. Changes of policy and/or specifications and production procedures a. Any and all changes of (name of publication) policy and/or specifications must come before the Editorial Board for approval. b. Staff members and editors are encouraged to make recommendations, and may appear before Editorial Board to present arguments in favor of or in opposition to a change the editor in chief presents to the board. c. No changes shall be made unless members of the Editorial Board are given the opportunity to express an opinion on the proposal. d. A favorable vote by 2/3 of the quorum of Editorial Board is required to approve the proposed change. Proxies may not be used. 10. Editorial Board procedures a. Attendance is mandatory and roll will be called at every meeting. b. Any editor recorded twice for non-attendance (unexcused and/or without an approved proxy) will have his/her class grade adversely affected. A one-week loss of voting privileges will result, but attendance during this week will still be mandatory. c. Any member absent three times (unexcused) may forfeit his/her board membership as well as his/her editorship. d. Discussion of premise and/or editorial ideas will be recorded in writing by the opinion editor. e. Editorials must be edited by the editor in chief and/or the opinion editor before the editorial is reproduced and presented to Editorial Board. Editorials should be checked against the premise assigned and must meet high standards before the Editorial Board time is taken for it. f. No more than one half an hour of each Editorial Board meeting may be devoted to one topic of discussion, editorial or outside speaker. No more than two editorials per meeting will be dealt with, unless otherwise approved by the editor in chief. g. Cartoons must be approved in Editorial Board. They may not be circulated for signatures outside the Editorial Board. Once approved, they may not be altered in any substantial way. H. Letters policy 1. General a. The (name of publication) recognizes its position on campus as a printed medium for the expression of current student opinion. Therefore, the letters to the editor shall always be conducted in as fair and responsible a manner as possible. b. The (name of publication) accepts all letters addressed to the editor but reserves the right to determine the content of its publication including the letters section. c. The decision to publish a letter shall not be based on the letterâ€™s agreement with (name of publication) editorial positions. d. The letters section shall not become a propaganda outlet for any individual or pressure group. 2. Submission of letters a. Any person other than (name of publication) staff members may submit a letter to the (name of publication). b. All letters must be accompanied by the writerâ€™s name, signature, address and telephone number. If the letter is from a student, the (name of publication) prefers to know the studentâ€™s major and year in college or any other significant identification, such as president of the honor society. c. Student letters must include a student ID number. d. Every attempt will be made to run all letters received prior to the publication deadline (Thursday, noon). 3. Acceptance of letters a. The (name of publication) accepts all letters initially, but requests revisions of letters that are not publishable as submitted. Letters that are not publishable include the following: 1. Letters that are obscene, libelous and/or racially, sexually or religiously offensive. 2. Literary endeavors, poetry and publicity releases. 3. Any other material that the Editorial Board may deem not to be a letter. 4. Letters rejected by the editor in chief for specific reasons to be stated in writing. b. The (name of publication) also may request revisions of letters that would be publishable as submitted, but may reflect badly on the (name of publication) because of language structure and/or usage or because of verbosity. 1. Letters are generally published as submitted although minor corrections may be made if the content is not violated by such changes. 2. Letters should, in general, be limited to 300 words. Letters may be edited for length by (name of publication) editors, but the letter writer shall be given the opportunity to reduce the length of the letter whenever possible. 4. Selection of letters for publication a. The (name of publication) publishes all letters that are not in violation of this policy. b. However, because of space limitations, it may not always be possible to publish all acceptable letters. In such cases, the letters to be published will be selected by the editor in chief and the opinion editor. 1. Letters have priority over all other items on the opinion page. 2. Letters also may be published on other pages. c. The proper use of logic and the accuracy of facts as well as probable reader interest and consequence shall be of primary importance in the selection of letters for publication when space restrictions prevent publication of all letters. Inaccuracies and/or improper use of logic shall constitute grounds for exclusion from publication. 1. Inaccuracies may be pointed out in an editorâ€™s note. Faulty logic, if it misleads readers on an issue of importance, also may be pointed out. d. If two or more letters on the same subject are received, and space is a problem, the letter(s) to be published shall be selected in accordance with the foregoing and the following criteria and procedures: 1. If there are both pro and con letters, those that best present the arguments for their respective sides shall be published. 2. If only one side of an issue is addressed, then that (or those) that best present the issues shall be published. 3. The editor in chief and the opinion editor may seek the advice of other editors, Editorial Board and/or the advisers in selection of letters for publication. 4. Nothing in this section of policy shall be construed as excluding the possibility of a large number of letters addressing the same subject being published. The consequence and importance of an issue to the readership shall be a guide in determining whether many letters are justified. e. If limited space makes it impossible to publish all letters, those letters that will be of most immediate interest and/or consequence to the community shall have priority. Those letters not published may be held for the next issue. f. In general, letters from on campus have priority over offcampus letters. 5. Referral of letters to Editorial Board a. Letters that are referred to Editorial Board by the opinion editor or the editor in chief shall be copied and each member of the board shall receive a copy of the letter(s) under consideration. b. Matters of questionable taste, possible libel and/or obscenity shall be referred to Editorial Board for discussion and a vote. c. Any letter that appears irrelevant shall be referred to Editorial Board for discussion and a vote on whether to publish it. d. Letters dealing with individuals or an individual’s behavior must be reviewed by Editorial Board. e. The Editorial Board shall decide whether the (name of publication) will withhold a letter writer’s name upon his/her request. 1. The letter writer shall be informed of the board’s decision as soon as possible. 2. If the board decides that the writer’s name cannot be withheld, then the writer shall be given the opportunity to withdraw the letter. 6. Editor’s notes a. The purpose of the editor’s note shall be 1. To correct inaccuracies 2. To respond to questions or requests for information 3. To provide further explanation of the issues discussed in the letter 4. To make any comment about the letter that the Editorial Board shall deem necessary. b. All editor’s notes shall come before Editorial Board for approval. c. Editor’s notes shall be kept as brief as possible and are to be avoided. 7. Miscellaneous a. In order to promote diversity in subject matter, the (name of publication) (at the discretion of the Editorial Board) shall normally limit discussion of any one subject to three consecutive issues of the paper. b. If an organization submits a letter as an organization, it must be signed by the organization president in order to be published. c. The (name of publication) shall not print pen names on letters. d. The (name of publication) letter section will be used as an ongoing public forum serving the interests of an individual or an organization. I. Advertising policy 1. General a. The (name of publication) shall accept advertising in accordance with this policy. b. Advertisements and advertisers shall not influence (name of publication) policy. c. Advertisers shall not receive special editorial consideration. d. Advertising inserts will not be accepted. 2. Advertising manager a. The advertising manager shall be selected by the (name of publication) advisers. 1. A written application stating the individualâ€™s availability for the post shall be submitted to an adviser. 2. Desirable qualifications are journalism experience, advertising sales, completion of courses in merchandising, business and/or journalism, and the ability to work independently. b. The advertising manager shall be supervised by the (name of publication) advisers and shall be responsible for: 1. Conducting all financial transactions through the Business Office in accordance with recognized accounting principles 2. Keeping an up-to-date record in the News Room of all ads ordered, all ads to be billed and all payments 3. All advertising monies received 4. Supplying the editor in chief or the managing editor, as soon as possible after the advertising deadline, with page dummies displaying the advertising line 5. Submitting an interim progress and financial report to the (name of publication) adviser(s) each semester. c. The advertising manager may be removed from his/her post by the (name of publication) adviser(s) on the grounds of failure to discharge duties competently and responsibly and failure to work well with (name of publication) editors. 3. Advertising space a. In general, no more than 25 percent of the (name of publication) shall be devoted to advertising. 1. 258 column inches per 8-page issue 2. 194 column inches per 6-page issue b. The 25 percent limit may be waived by the editor in chief for any particular issue. 4. The advertising deadline is noon one week prior to the adâ€™s appearance. a. Copy and payment for classified ads must be received prior to the deadline. b. Camera-ready copy for display ads must be received prior to the deadline. 5. Advertising rates a. The local and national ad rates shall be set on the recommendation of the ad manager and the (name of publication) adviser(s). b. Special discount rates may be arranged for long-running ads. 6. Solicitation of ads a. Any member of the (name of publication) staff may solicit ads, but shall do so only with the knowledge of the advertising manager. b. Professional advertising services may be used. 7. Advertising content a. The copy, artwork and design of ads shall meet the same standards of good taste that are applied to other material appearing in the (name of publication). b. Any ad in possible conflict with (name of publication) policy shall be submitted by the ad manager to the Editorial Board for discussion and a vote. c. The (name of publication) shall not accept the following: 1. Any ad that fosters prejudice 2. Indecent or vulgar ads, offensive directly or by suggestion 3. Ads that may mislead 4. Ads for fortune telling, astrology, numerology, dream interpretation unless approved by the Editorial Board 5. Matrimonial or dating offers 6. Offers of homework or research papers 7. Any ad that may cause monetary loss to the reader through fraud or injury to health 8. Large political ads--1/4 page maximum (single or multiple) for any single candidate or ballot measure. d. All movies with â€œXâ€? rating or no rating shall be referred to Editorial Board. 1. The Editorial Board must receive the ad material at least two days prior to the ad deadline. 2. The advertising manager shall present the ad and any other information requested by or of importance to the Editorial Board in deciding whether to run the ad. e. The (name of publication) discourages the use of reverses in its advertising. The publication reserves the right to refuse to accept a reverse that in the opinion of the editor in chief or the Editorial Board detracts from the graphic impact of the editorial presentation. 8. Procedure for taking ads a. Follow the telephone and message-taking procedures outlined earlier in the Policy Manual. b. All messages should be placed on the ad managerâ€™s desk. c. All staffers should be familiar with the advertising rates published by the ad manager on the rate card in order to give advertisers basic information in the absence of the ad manager. Editor responsibilities Editor in chief 1. The editor in chief is responsible and answerable for the news and editorial content of the (name of publication). He/she is expected to exercise his/her best judgment in this respect. 2. The editor in chief is responsible for seeing that all deadlines are met. 3. When the editor in chief is doubtful about the facts of a story, column or editorial, he/she should consult with fellow editors and advisers. 4. The editor in chief must make certain the photo and story assignments are out on time. 5. The editor in chief is responsible for seeing that the News Room is run in a professional manner. 6. When a factual misstatement of any consequence is published, the editor in chief shall see that a correction is published immediately in an equally prominent position in the paper as the original mistake. 7. The editor in chief must be highly conscious of the possibility of libel in the newspaper. The greatest chance of libel in a college publication arises in statements that question the qualifications of people for their jobs. It is not necessary to name a person to libel him/her; if the reader can deduce the name of the subject, the statement is just as libelous as if the subject had been named. 8. The editor in chief represents the (name of publication) both on and off campus. The editor in chief is responsible for â€œthank youâ€? letters to sponsors of contests and to all others who have contributed in any way to the (name of publication). 9. The editor in chief judges placement of news stories and directly or indirectly coordinates special assignments. 10. Because the editor in chief is responsible for the actions of his/her staff, he/she must exercise the most thoughtful consideration in the selection of subordinate editors. He/she shall select his/her staff in consultation with the advisers. Grounds for dismissal can be but are not limited to: contempt or non-support of the editor in chief, inability to meet the responsibilities of the position and absences. Only persons enrolled in journalism classes are eligible for editor positions. The editor in chief will produce a formal written evaluation of each subordinate editor for presentation and discussion to the advisers after four issues of the semester have been produced. 11. The editor in chief presides over Editorial Board or appoints the managing or opinion editor as chairperson of the board. Managing editor 1. Represents the (name of publication) in editor in chiefâ€™s absence. 2. Works closely with the news editor to insure thorough campus coverage. 3. Must make certain assignments are distributed on time. 4. Is a member of Editorial Board. 5. Oversees production deadlines. 6. Is evaluated after four issues by the editor in chief in a formal written report to the advisers. News editor 1. Makes all assignments in writing on assignment forms. Follows up during the week on progress. 2. Receives all completed assignments and checks to see if the assignment has been fulfilled. 3. Makes a list of errant reporters for advisers. 4. Is a member of Editorial Board. 5. Keeps updated beat list. 6. Makes photo assignments with photo editor. 7. Makes certain advisers receive pinks for grading. 8. Organizes campus coverage. 9. Is evaluated after four issues by the editor in chief in a formal written report to the advisers. Opinion editor 1. Produce printed agenda for Editorial Board meetings. 2. Responsible for the organization, design and production of the opinion page. 3. Keeps a record of assignments, due dates and completed assignments. 4. Keeps a record of Editorial Board meetings. 5. Applies the Policy Manual to the opinion page. 6. Keeps the staff box updated. 7. Is responsible for seeing that all letters are retyped per copy specifications with the original going into the letter file. 8. Verifies the identity of all letter writers. 9. Makes certain mandatory items appear on opinion page: a. District statement b. Letters disclaimer c. Letters policy d. A staff box with at least the name of the editor in chief 10. Maintains security for all copy on the opinion page. 11. Coordinates the efforts of staff artists. 12. Does a complete and final proof of the opinion page. 13. Is a member of Editorial Board. 14. Is evaluated after four issues by the editor in chief in a formal written report to the advisers. Photo editor 1. Must be enrolled photography and assist with design during production, assisting with captions, photo cropping, picturepage design and pictorial advice. 2. Works with the news editor to produce assignments for the photography class. 3. Coordinates the efforts of the entire photo staff. 4. Maintains photo and negatives files. 5. Checks progress of photographers during the week. 6. Is a member of Editorial Board. 7. Is evaluated after four issues by the editor in chief in a formal written report to the advisers. Sports editor 1. Is responsible for the production of all sports pages. 2. Maintains high coverage level for all on-campus sports teams, both menâ€™s and womenâ€™s, and intramural activities. 3. Helps create the sports calendar. 4. Is a member of Editorial Board. 5. Is evaluated after four issues by the editor in chief in a formal written report to the advisers. Copy editor 1. Is responsible that all copy and heads on the desk are copyread or written. 2. Maintains the proper flow of copy to its final form. 3. Sees that weak copy is rewritten. 4. Calls to the attention of reporters any serious or repeated errors. 5. Is a member of Editorial Board. 6. Is responsible for approving only copy that meets standards of: a. Completeness and fairness b. Strong and effective lead c. Correct organization d. Absence of libel, unnecessary profanity, bad taste, slurs e. Mechanics f. Clarity g. Conciseness 7. Is evaluated after four issues by the editor in chief in a formal written report to the advisers. Feature editor 1. Creates a list of feature assignments for the news editor. 2. Looks for feature angles to news stories breaking in the paper. 3. Is a member of Editorial Board. 4. Is evaluated after four issues by the editor in chief in a formal written report to the advisers. 7. Is evaluated after four issues by the editor in chief is a formal written report to the advisers. Reporters 1. Responsible for covering stories deriving from beat. 2. Responsible for informing editors about future stories. 3. Should seek out opportunities to write the widest variety of material possible. 4. Should seek out opportunities to learn the production side of the newspaper operation and help out under the supervision of the managing editor. 5. Must keep confidential all discussions in the News Room, Editorial Board meetings or during class time. 6. Are expected to join editors on the copy desk for at least two hours per week to write headlines and captions. 7. Should take care that the appearance of the News Room is professional at all times. Photographers 1. Responsible for photographically covering news and feature events on campus. 2. Responsible for informing the photo editor of photo possibilities. 3. Takes on more than one assignment per week. 4. Responsible for the completeness and accuracy of the information accompanying any assignment. 5. Includes negatives and proof sheets for each assignment taken. Using your press card Each staff member of the (name of publication) is issued a press card for use during the course of the semester. The press card has your picture attached in addition to some basic information about your personal appearance. Your press card is entrusted to your care because you are considered an important member of this staff and the (name of publication) wishes to identify itself with you, as we hope you wish to identify with it. It is used primarily as a way for you to prove to sources and campus officials that you are an active member of the staff in good standing. Obviously a press card can be abused and used in violation of (name of publication) policies or the professional code of ethics. Any violation of the press card could lead to the editor in chief asking you to forfeit your press card or the advisers taking action against your grade. If you have any questions about how the card is to be used, please check with an adviser before putting yourself and your journalism future in jeopardy.