The Shield Staff Manual

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McCallum High School

macshieldonline.com @macjournalism

Staff Manual 2023-2024 school year


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Mission statement

2023-2024

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The Shield is the official student newspaper of A.N. McCallum High School. Staff members distribute 750 copies on campus six time a year, generally every six weeks. All McCallum families receive a free mailed copy of each issue of The Shield. The Shield is an open forum for the exchange of student ideas. Although students work under the guidance of a professional faculty adviser, the student staff ultimately determines the content. The adviser will not act as a censor to student work. The Shield is not a publication subject to prior review by school administration. Content represents the views of the student staff, not school or district officials. The Shield will publish accurate and timely coverage that is relevant to its readers, the students of McCallum High School. Content will be held to the ethical standards set by the Society of Professional Journalists. All articles are published with a genuine desire to produce objective news and inform the school community. The Shield will equally cover students, activities and school events to fairly and accurately represent all aspects of McCallum’s diverse student body. The Shield will not publish material that is obscene, libelous or that which will cause a disruption to the educational environment. Content that may stimulate heated debate is not included in this definition. Opinions expressed in editorials are the ideas of the staff. Opinions expressed in columns are that of the writer’s alone. Letters to the editor are encouraged and must be signed. Positive identification may be required when a letter is submitted. Letters may be edited for grammar or for brevity. Letters that are critical of the newspaper staff ’s coverage of events or that present information that may stimulate heated debate will be published. Letters that contain malicious attacks on individual reporters, the adviser or the principal will be rejected. A.N. McCallum High School 5600 Sunshine Dr. Austin, TX 78756

Current staff awards • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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NSPA Pacemaker, online news NSPA Pacemaker finalist, print newspaper NSPA first place Best Use of Social Media Reporting NSPA fifth place Best Use of Social Media Promotion CSPA Gold Crown, hybrid news SNO Distinguished Sites award SIPA Scroggins Award, print newspaper ILPC Gold Star, print newspaper ILPC Gold Star, online newspaper TAJE Fall Fiesta second place Best of Show, website TAJE Fall Fiesta first place Best of Show, print newspaper (5A & under) TAJE Fall Fiesta third place Best of Show, sweepstakes UIL District 24-5A journalism champions UIL Region III 5A journalism champions


The Shield staff

editors-in-chief Alice Scott Lanie Sepehri Ingrid Smith Francie Wilhelm print managing editor Caroline Owen web managing editor JoJo Barnard social media managing editor Naomi Di-Capua design editor Sophie Leung-Lieu

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news editor Morgan Eye a&e editor Eliza Jensen people editor Chloe Lewcock sports editor Camilla Vandegrift opinion editor Nate Williams staff reporters Kyan Adams Noah Braun Dylan Bryl

Julia Copas Tristen Diaz Violeta Dimova Gaby Esquivel Shila Gill August Gleason Lillian Gray Evelyn Jenkins Helen Martin Maggie Mass Lulu Menghini Josie Mullan Carl Offutt Ephraim Paprock-Schue

2023-2024

Mira Patel Raul Rivas Winnifred Roberts Callen Romell Sofia Saucedo Chloe Seckar-Martinez Maya Tackett Priya Thoppil Elena Ulack Hadlee Varela Lucas Walker adviser Dave Winter

Dear staff, The following 25 pages are a culmination of everything we’ve learned over our past three years as staffers and editors. We used our knowledge of journalism ethics and the rights of student journalists to create publication policies and standards similar to those of professional news outlets. We transformed notes and presentations on all aspects of journalism into “how-to” handouts that you can access by flipping through these pages. By compiling these resources, we hoped to create an all-inclusive guide to The Shield. We want to set you up with the tools for success now, so you have a reference guide for the rest of the year. And if you ever have any confusion, the answer you are looking for can be found somewhere in this manual. These guidelines are the basis to the work you will do as a Shield staffer, and we are pleased to be sharing this information with you. It is the experiences we were not able to include in this manual, however, that we most look forward to sharing with you, our staff, this year. We are looking forward to celebratory doughnuts when we meet deadline. Or the laughs at late nights while we work on page designs, Or when the first print issue comes in and the staff gets to see the payoff of their hard work. We hope you all will come to cherish these moments of collaboration that go into producing good, quality journalism that define The Shield as much as we do.

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Staff job descriptions editors-in-chief Responsible for leading the staff, setting deadlines, expectations, workload and division of labor. Determines what qualifies as a “story.” Verifies print designs, edits stories for AP style and designs/plans cover. Leads class and teaches key topics like writing, interviewing, ethics, etc. Manages BLEND and deadline consequences (not grades). Finalizes ladder. Assists managing editors.

print managing editor Oversees print issue. Edits and verifies all print stories and designs. Creates table of contents. In consultation with the EICs, plans the ladder. Helps lead class activities. Coordinates communications about the issue.

web managing editor social media managing editor Oversees website. Maintains Oversees comments, DMs, daily posting schedule. stories and various social Organizes Tuesday Top 10. media platforms. Maintains Edits web designs. Updates staff daily posting schedule. bios and related information. Delegates post assignments. Keeps online sections balanced. Edits captions. Informs staff Assists with multimedia of events and encourages projects for Distinguished Site. timeliness.

design editor Edits all pages. Teaches InDesign. Teaches design principles. Makes graphics for print and web.

section editors Edit rough draft stories and meet with writers throughout the issue cycle. Teach how to write in respective section. Keep staff informed on respective topics (breaking news, fine arts events, sports games, etc.) Design brief pages and delegate brief writing. Work with MEs to keep stories moving along. Keep editors aware of a story’s status. Work with online ME for specific TT10s in their section, as well as at least one weekly post. Opinion editor: assists EICs with editorial and assigning editorial writers. Sports editor: keeps website scores updated.

staff reporters Staff reporters should, at minimum, complete the work expectations outlined later in the manual on page six.

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Print deadlines

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Issue #1 Pitch sheets: Aug. 30/31 (A/B) Rough drafts: Sept. 8 Final drafts: Sept. 15 Rough page designs/web drafts: Sept. 22 Final page designs/web drafts: Sept. 29 Send to print: Oct. 10 Publication date: Oct. 13

Issue #4 Pitch sheets: Jan. 11/12 (A/B) Rough drafts: Jan. 19 Final drafts: Jan. 26 Rough page designs/web drafts: Feb. 2 Final page designs/web drafts: Feb. 9 Send to print: Feb. 20 Publication date: Feb. 23

Issue #2 Pitch sheets: Oct. 5/6 (A/B) Rough drafts: Oct. 13 Final drafts: Oct. 20 Rough page designs/web drafts: Oct. 27 Final page designs/web drafts: Nov. 3 Send to print: Nov. 14 Publication date: Nov. 17

Issue #5 Pitch sheets: Feb. 15/16 (A/B) Rough drafts: Feb. 23 Final drafts: March 1 Rough page designs/web drafts: March 8 Final page designs/web drafts: March 15 Send to print: April 2 Publication date: April 5

Issue #3 Pitch sheets: Nov. 9/10 (A/B) Rough drafts: Nov. 17 Final drafts: Dec. 1 Rough page designs/web drafts: Dec. 8 Final page designs/web drafts: Dec. 15 Send to print: Jan. 16 Publication date: Jan. 19

Issue #6 Pitch sheets: March 28/29 (A/B) Rough drafts: April 5 Final drafts: April 12 Rough page designs/web drafts: April 19 Final page designs/web drafts: April 26 Send to print: May 7 Publication date: May 10

All deadlines can also be found on The Shield shared TimeTree Calendar.

Deadline policy Grades are determined by completion of work expectations (page 6) and adherence to deadlines. Each day you miss a deadline, five points will be deducted from that assignment’s grade. Missed points can be made up by completing extra “once-a-week” assignments. Beyond earning a grade, meeting deadlines is an important affirmation of your commitment to the staff. The Shield relies on all of its staffers to complete work on time, in order to ensure the timely production of news. Missing deadline puts the entire staff behind schedule. In addition, businesses that advertise in The Shield are paying for their ads to run on certain dates. A missed deadline that delays publication puts The Shield in a position to lose both revenue and credibility.

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Work expectations

Story equivalents

If a staffer cannot write two stories, work requirements can be met by completing one story and a story equivalent. Story equivalents are contributions that match the time and effort required for written content. Examples of story equivalents include: • videos • podcasts • other multimedia content • in-depth photo essay • a week’s worth of social media posts (five minimum) • In-depth photo assignment (photographing an event and writing three to five captions) • Other: Talk to EICs if you have other ideas for meeting your second contribution requirement. EICs will consider alternatives on a case-by-case basis.

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Staff reporters

In a six-week issue cycle, you will be expected to... • Write/produce two stories OR one story and one story equivalent (see page 22 for more information on the story writing process). • Design a print page and website draft for both of your stories. • Do one “once-a-week activity” per week. These activities include writing a Tuesday Top 10 caption, writing an Instagram caption, covering an event, contacting a possible advertiser or coming to late night. Week 1 - Pitch week • Fill out pitch sheets for each of your stories. • Turn in pitch sheets to BLEND for grading and Google Drive for feedback. • Begin interviewing and researching for your story. • Complete a “once-a-week activity.” Week 2 - Drafting week • Finish interviewing. • Write rough drafts for each of your stories. • Turn in rough drafts to BLEND for grading and to Google Drive for feedback. • Complete a “once-a-week activity.” Week 3 - Editing week • Revise stories based on editor feedback. • Turn in final drafts to BLEND for grading and to Google Drive for feedback. • Complete a “once-a-week activity.” Week 4 - Design week • Create page designs for both stories. • Create web drafts for both designs. • Turn in screenshots of completed rough web drafts/page designs to BLEND. • Complete a “once-a-week activity.” Week 5 - Design edits week • Revise web drafts and page designs based on editor feedback. • Turn in screenshots of completed final web drafts/page designs on BLEND. • Complete a “once-a-week activity.” Week 6 - DW week (Week 1 for the next issue cycle) *Editors are expected to complete one story, web draft and page design in addition to one “once-a-week activity” per week and their editorial duties in an issue cycle. Once pitch sheets, stories or designs are submitted to BLEND, they will be marked complete/ incomplete. This is simply a marker for the adviser to know which stories were turned in on time so that he can account for missed deadline point deductions. Official number grades will be entered into Frontline by the adviser. Staffers will earn a 100 for each weekly requirement based on completion of work in an issue cycle and adherence to deadlines.


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Code of conduct

2023-2024

After reading, sign this contract and initial next to each term

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

I agree to meet all deadlines that I am assigned. I understand that any missed deadlines will result in grade representative of my efforts. I agree to complete work beyond school hours, be that at late nights, after school, evenings or weekends, to ensure completion of my assignments. I agree to use online resources such as social media, cell phones and other websites only for Shield reporting and responsibilities when in room 134. I agree to practice ethical journalism, per the SPJ Code of Ethics, in the writing, reporting, photography and designs I produce for The Shield. I agree to engage in the collaborative workspace of The Shield newsroom. I understand the value of different perspectives and will respect peer ideas. I agree to treat Shield equipment with care and respect. I understand that resources including cameras and computers are earned privileges. I agree to pay for the repair or replacement of any Shield equipment damaged while in my care on or off school property. I agree to use my privilege to leave room 134 for Shield-related reporting and responsibilities only. I agree to refrain from malicious, damaging words and behaviors towards any McCallum students or staff. I agree to maintain a C average or above in all of my core classes and will not let The Shield undermine my academic responsibilities.

I understand that any violations of The Shield code of conduct will be handled by the adviser and could result in a change in editorial position (if applicable), a reduction in my grade or my removal from staff. After carefully reviewing The Shield code of conduct, each of the above terms was agreed to and signed this day of , 2023. Student name (printed) Student signature

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Responsibility for accuracy & objectivity • • • • • • •

Shield staffers will prioritize correctly spelling names, titles and identifying information so as to present sources accurately in our stories. The Shield will only publish facts that are verifiable by at least two sources. All quotes are subject to verification, when necessary, by the editors-in-chief or the adviser. Any reporter found fabricating quotations could face disciplinary action and/or a reduction in grades. The Shield will not publish rumors or gossip as the basis of stories. Shield staffers are responsible for keeping all interview notes or recordings for all stories written during the school year. Shield staffers are not allowed to accept gifts from sources that could compromise their story’s integrity. Shield staffers will avoid taking assignments with inherent conflicts of interests which includes, but is not limited to interviewing family members or close friends. The Shield will assume responsibility for all facts published in print and online, as they stand at the time of publication.

A note on objectivity Because journalists are human beings, it is impossible for them to be truly objective. Shield staffers should strive to eliminate bias as much as possible and ensure that all facts written in their stories are accurate. The editing process ensures that more than a single perspective will go into producing a story, helping to eliminate bias.

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Corrections policy

2023-2024

The Shield is committed to the truth and prioritizes accurate reporting. Despite our best efforts to verify information, content containing factual errors is occasionally published. If a reader identifies a potential error of any size within any published media, we encourage them to contact us at contact.macshield@gmail.com or david.winter@austinisd.org. Following the SPJ Code of Ethics and our publication values, The Shield will acknowledge mistakes, take responsibility for errors and issue corrections with clear explanations “promptly and prominently.” Corrections will be issued at The Shield Online under the “corrections” category on the main menu of our home page. Preventing errors: • Staff writers should attribute all information and hyperlink sources when possible. Editors are expected to verify all factual information before publication. • Incorrect or outdated information in a breaking news story may be explained in a subsequent story without a formal correction. The corrections process (adapted from The New York Times): 1. Reporters and editors involved in the story are notified of the potential error and discuss the issue with the adviser. If a correction is necessary, The Shield will revise the online story and issue the correction.​ 2. The Shield will issue a correction if a mistake is identified at any time, even if the story was published seconds ago. 3. Corrections will appear on any of our platforms that carried the mistake, including the MacJournalism Instagram account and The Shield Online. 4. The Shield will follow the same corrections process if a mistake is identified in a video or podcast. 5. If a mistake is identified in a print issue after distribution, The Shield will issue a correction through The Shield Online and adjust the digital print issue. We are unable to reprint and distribute physical copies with corrections. 6. Obvious typos may be corrected without notice of a correction.

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Takedown policy

Social Media & Web

Stories, photos, website and social media posts will only be taken down in the case of factual errors, egregious violations of the Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics, safety concerns or other specific extreme circumstances. Photos will not be removed on the grounds of them being deemed unflattering or embarrassing unless it coincides with one of the previously listed qualifications. If warranted a post will receive a digital correction (see corrections policy, page 9) instead of being removed from the publication platform. Content can only be pulled by the respective writer/ photographer, editor or adviser.

Quotations

Disputes regarding quotes will be handled between the individual subject and responsible writer/editor. The adviser will determine whether the dispute warrants the content being pulled. As a matter of policy, Shield reporters will ask permission to record an interview and are required to keep recordings and/or interview notes even after the story has been published in the case of a dispute. Texas is a “one-party consent” state, which means only one of the parties involved in a conversation must consent to a recording.

Request a takedown

Members of the public may send a “request for removal” letter to The Shield at: contact. macshield@gmail.com.com or david.winter@ austinisd.org. Letters will be considered on an individual basis and the final decision will be made by the current editors-in-chief and the adviser. The Shield will process requests in a timely manner.

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Letters to the editor

What is a letter to the editor? Letters to the editor are a way for readers of The Shield to publish their views, comment or expand on our articles and speak out on community issues. By addressing The Shield’s audience, letter writers may gain support for a cause or inform readers about an issue. The Shield encourages letters to the editor as a way to broaden the perspectives featured in the opinion section and to engage with the community.

How do I submit a letter to the editor? Letters to the editor are encouraged and must be signed. Positive identification may be required when a letter is submitted. Letters may be edited for grammar or length. Letters that are critical of the newspaper staff ’s coverage of events or present information that may stimulate heated debate will be published. Letters that contain malicious attacks on individual reporters, the adviser or the principal will be rejected. Letters to the editor may be emailed to The Shield via contact.macshield@gmail.com, david.winter@austinisd.org by using the submission form at macshieldonline.com.

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Editorial policy

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The Shield management The editorial board • • • •

Selected student staff and editors in the newspaper production class comprise the editorial board. The editorial board will make all decisions that pertain to The Shield and the interests of The Shield. The faculty adviser may give an opinion or advice, but final decisions will be made by the editorial board. In the event that a member of the editorial board has been dismissed, all remaining board members and the adviser will elect a replacement for the dismissed board member. The editor(s)-in-chief, duly appointed by the adviser, are tasked with interpreting and enforcing this editorial policy throughout the academic year.

The adviser • • • • • • • •

Is a professional member of the teaching staff and manages the publication classroom. Is a certified journalism instructor who will serve as an educational resource, a consultant in areas of legality and unprotected speech and a mentor to staff members. Will inspire and encourage a professional, journalistic work environment by allowing the publication to be a student-run open forum for the exchange of ideas. Will submit the publication and student work to competitions and for critique to obtain outside feedback. Will forward any received correspondence and/or information regarding letters to the editor, requests for takedown, corrections, or otherwise to the editors-in-chief and other key stakeholders on staff. Will inform staff about journalism scholarships, programs and contacts that may help staff members pursue higher education or a career. Will not attempt to censor student work or determine the content produced in The Shield. The adviser will only offer insight and advice gained from professional expertise. Will follow the Code of Ethics for Advisers established by the Journalism Education Association.

The administration • • •

The McCallum High School administration will provide its students with a qualified journalism instructor, necessary classroom equipment and space for a functioning student media program. Administration will ensure equal opportunity for minority and/or marginalized students to join and engage in journalism. There is no requirement for administration to view or approve publication content before publishing.

Content of The Shield Regarding staff writing • • •

All writing in The Shield, other than letters to the editor and guest columns, will be written by students of the journalism program and will not be accepted otherwise. Any writing submitted from an outside source for publication in The Shield as a guest column or letter to the editor will be reviewed for approval by the editors-in-chief and given to the adviser for verification. Writing must be the original work of the writer and may not have been previously published in another publication. To that extent, stories published in The Shield cannot later be published in another publication (see page 13 for more information on ownership).

Find the rest of our editorial policy online Please read The Shield editorial policy at macshieldonline.com. The policy addresses Shield practices regarding editorials, controversial issues, profanity, advertisements, the reviewing of content, staff selection, staff dismissal and The Shield’s professional affiliations.

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Ownership policy

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Bylines & ownership

Any reporter who produces a story, podcast, video, photo essay or other full-length work will be named in a byline across The Shield’s platforms. Photographers and illustrators will receive a credit line in or near the graphic’s caption. Caption writers will receive a credit at the end of the caption. Editors and the adviser will not have a formal credit for work they edited and did not write. Reporters who helped interview for a story will be mentioned after the text. Staff editorials are attributed to The Shield staff or editorial board, not to an individual, but writers will be named in op-eds and other opinion pieces. Student journalists have no responsibility to share their articles with their sources before publication but are encouraged to fact check with sources.

Photography

Photos taken for MacJ purposes belong to the individual photographer. The Shield may use all photos on the MacJ Flickr account, but no photo should be published elsewhere without the photographer’s consent. Additionally, no photo should be downloaded from Flickr and distributed to people outside of MacJ without the photographer’s consent. That includes personal Instagram pages, booster club pages, other school websites, personal camera rolls, texts and more. Never assume that the photographer will approve of the distribution of their photos and always ask permission before sharing.

The bottom line

Under U.S. copyright laws, original works belong to their creators and are protected from unauthorized use. All work created for The Shield belongs only to the student journalist and cannot be reproduced without their consent. This means that following publication in The Shield, student journalists control the use of their work. However, media published in The Shield should only be published in The Shield and cannot be pitched to other publications. If another publications requests to reprint a story, it must be kept in its entirety and credit both The Shield and the author.

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Publishing standards • • • • • • • •

The Shield will publish accurate and objective articles. Reporters and editors will be required to fact-check statements and verify sources to eliminate any misinformation. Mistakes will be addressed through the issuing of a correction at macshieldonline.com (see page 9). The Shield will publish content that is relevant, timely and localized to its primary audience, the students of McCallum High School. The Shield will publish work that is free of favoritism and bias. Sources in Shield stories will be selected objectively and will not purposely exclude any important stakeholders or groups. The Shield will publish original content produced by student journalists. The Shield will not reproduce work it does not own without gaining permission from the creator. The Shield will not publish sensational content for the purpose of entertainment or shock value. Content that may stimulate heated debate is not included in this definition. The Shield will not publish any content that is libelous, defamatory or injurious. The Shield will not publish doctored or altered images that change the reality of what appears in the photograph. All print and web stories will have three sources, except for briefs.

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SPJ code of ethics

Although The Shield is a student-run publication, it adheres to the same standards set for industry journalists. Under the guidance of the Society of Professional Journalists, The Shield works to produce media not only legally, but ethically.

Seek truth and report it

The Shield will seek the truth and report it. We will take responsibility for the accuracy of our work, clearly identify sources, conduct open methods of investigation as much as possible and never plagiarize. We support the open and civil exchange of views, even those with which the staff may disagree.

Minimize harm

In our reporting the Shield will minimize harm done to subjects and the public. We will show compassion to those affected by news coverage and recognize all individuals’ right to privacy. We will consider the long-term implications of our work and will provide updates and context when needed.

Act independently The Shield will act independently as a student-run organization operating without prior review or restraint by school administration. We will avoid conflicts of interest, refuse bribery and clearly distinguish advertising from reporting.

The Society of Professional Journalists “The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior” (SPJ website). The Society of Professional Journalists sets the standard in the field of journalism. It’s a volunteerbased organization that is made up of about 10,000 members and 250 local chapters across the nation. The Society works to help journalists network, gain training and support the basis of Democratic society — Freedom of Information and First Amendment rights.

Be accountable and transparent The Shield will be accountable and transparent when addressing mistakes and will issue prompt corrections. We will maintain an open dialogue with our audience and will answer questions regarding accuracy, clarity and fairness. We will expose unethical journalism practice, even within our organization.

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Freedom of speech

First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” (Bill of Rights). Under the United States Constitution, reporters have the right to free speech, expression and the press, which allows for journalists to act independently. A free and uncensored press is vital to a successful democracy because it plays a key role in setting policy agendas, informing voters about electoral candidates and holding the government accountable.

Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) Tinker v. Des Moines was a Supreme Court case involving Iowa students Mary Beth Tinker (13), John Tinker (17) and Chris Eckhardt (16), who were suspended from school for wearing black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War. The Court ruled that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” The ruling protected students’ First Amendment rights and prohibited school officials from censoring student speech unless there is a strong case that it would disrupt learning or impede the rights of others. Under the “Tinker Standard,” students have the rights to free speech and free expression at school.

Hazelwood v. Kulhmeier (1988)

Photos licensed with permission from Adobe Stock.

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Students at St. Louis East High School produced articles about teen pregnancy and divorce only to have the principal remove them from their newspaper prior to printing. The Supreme Court ruled that schools can censor student journalists if administration has a “legitimate pedagogical concern.” Essentially, student journalists do not have the right to a free press. But there is no set definition of what a “legitimate pedagogical concern” is. This means: • Administration can practice arbitrary and subjective censorship. • Student media is subjected to prior review and restraint. • School media programs lose funding. • Student journalists self-censor, writing watered-down stories or no stories at all.


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Student press limits

Censorship is the “suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security” (Oxford dictionary). Censorship of student press comes in many forms, most often prior review or prior restraint. The fear of censorship often leads student journalists to self-censor their own work.

Types of censorship Prior review “Prior review occurs when anyone not on the publication/media staff requires that he, she or they be allowed to read, view or approve student material before distribution, airing or publication” (Journalism Educators Association). There are many implications of prior review because it is rarely just reading. Prior review eventually leads to censorship. It “inevitably leads the reviewer to censor and the student journalist to self-censor in an effort to assure approval” (JEA). Prior review is unethical. “Prior review inherently creates serious conflicts of interest and compromises administrator neutrality, putting the school in potential legal jeopardy” (JEA). Prior restraint “Prior restraint occurs when someone not on the publication/media staff requires pre-distribution changes to or removal of student media content” (Journalism Educators Association). Implications of prior restraint include students losing their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, expression and the press, school publications no longer being student-run, tension between publication staff and administration which builds a relationship of fear rather than trust. Self-censorship Self-censorship is when student journalists stop themselves from creating or publishing a piece of content. Students self-censor for many reasons including the fear of being censored by administration, fear of being punished by administration or fear of negative repercussions for their adviser.

Fighting censorship: The New Voices campaign

“New Voices is a nonpartisan, student-driven grassroots effort to restore and protect student press freedom and stop retaliation against advisers who refuse to infringe upon students’ press rights” (Student Press Law Center).

The New Voices campaign led by the Student Press Law Center is going state by state to create laws prohibiting censorship in schools. As of 2023, there are 17 New Voices states. Texas is not one of them, but it does have an existing campaign. New Voices legislation prohibits censorship, undue delays, retaliation against student media advisers, and allows student journalists to publish independently. New Voices legislation doesn’t allow student journalists to engage in libel or slander (page 18), to write anything that constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy, to violate state or federal law or to create substantial disruption.

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Libel & slander

Libel

Your right to freedom of speech is revoked when your speech becomes libelous. Libel is published written defamation — writing that is untrue, malicious or reflects reckless reporting. The Shield could be sued in a court of law over libel. Libel has occurred if the writing is published, identifies a single person or small group of people, is defamatory and is false (must meet all qualifications). The best defense in a libel case is proof of truth.

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Slander

Slander is spoken defamation. Defamation is communication of a false statement that exposes a person to hatred, ridicule or contempt, lowers a person in the esteem of others, causes the person to be shunned or injures a person in a business or calling. Slander cases often have lesser consequences than libel cases because libel is written.

Are these stories libelous?

Story #1: Store owner linked to drug cartel activity In a shocking revelation, sources close to the investigation have disclosed that John Smith, owner of the popular antique shop “Knick-Knacks and More,” is allegedly involved in drug cartel activities. The news comes as a devastating blow to the community, leaving residents questioning the credibility of the establishment and its owner. Story #2: Local business accused of unsanitary practices In an explosive expose, Austin News Network uncovered shocking allegations against a local restaurant, Tasty Bites. An anonymous source claimed they witnessed employees mishandling food and saw rats in the kitchen. The owner, Eleanor Williams, refused to comment on the matter, raising suspicions of guilt.

Story #1: yes, Story #2: yes

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Copyright laws

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Copyright checklist If a photo or graphic meets any of the following criteria, The Shield can use it. • • When selecting photos or graphics for The Shield, staff members must adhere to copyright laws. Photos and graphics produced by The Shield are OK to use, but content found online may only be used with permission or appropriate licensing. This means that copying and pasting a graphic from the internet into a story without permission is illegal. The creator of the photo or graphic should always be credited. Sourcing graphics: Don’t... • Copy and paste a copyright protected photo from the internet and paste the URL underneath it. • Publish a story without an appropriate graphic. • Assume The Shield has permission to use a copyrighted outside source. Sourcing graphics: Do... • Look through MacJournalism’s Flickr account. • Call on The Shield’s artists who can create original graphics • Utilize the “all creative commons” filter on Flickr. • Select “Creative Commons licenses” under “Usage Rights” on Google images. • Message the owner of a graphic or photo and ask for permission. If permission is granted, write “photo courtesy of ” and credit the person. • Search the Wikimedia Commons. • Utilize the public domain: Defense Department, FEMA, Library of Congress, NASA, National Park Service, State Department, Smithsonian Institution. • Republish copyrighted images when the situation falls under “fair use” (for our purposes this applies only to entertainment reviews).

A Shield photograher took the photo. A Shield artist designed the graphic. The owner of the graphic/photo gives The Shield permission to use the content. The photo is under a Creative Commons license. The image is in the public domain or made by a U.S. government employee and not copyright protected. The image is aquired under the doctrine of fair use.

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Interviewing tips

The interview is perhaps the most important part of the story-writing process. Without a good interview, it will be impossible to get the information needed to help the reader understand the story. More importantly, without a good interview, the story will lack an engaging, emotional angle. “Good” interviews are those where the writer truly connects with their subject and can thus reveal something surprising, fascinating and compelling about them. Below are tips for how to do just that. Photo of Noah Braun being interviewed for KXAN by Dave Winter.

Before the interview: Make sure you show up to your interview prepared. That means three things: pick an angle, do research and brainstorm questions. Before interviewing, think to yourself, “What do I want to know about this topic/person that hasn’t been written before?” Once you’ve picked an original angle, start researching your topic/person. Your knowledge can be surfacelevel, but knowing about your subject prior to the interview will help the conversation be more fluid and natural. Finally, brainstorm 10 to 15 questions in advance. These

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will guide your interview to ensure you get the information you need. The interview: If the interview is in person, choose a location without background noise or distractions to ensure that you and your source can focus on each other. Start by asking a broad, open-ended question: “Can you tell me a little bit about ___?” Making your source comfortable is essential to getting them to open up to you. For that reason, asking a specific, personal question right off the bat is a no-go. Avoid yesor-no questions; ask how your source felt when they won the

big game instead of asking if they were happy to win. Be sure to ask follow-up questions. If a source gives one-word or dry answers, ask questions until they reveal details. Most importantly: Treat an interview like a conversation. Don’t be afraid to be casual; a relaxed environment will help them open up. Listen closely to your source; while it’s important to have an angle and questions prepared, be flexible. Your source may say something that provides a much more interesting angle. It’s OK to abandon your plan and follow the story where it leads.


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AP style cheat sheet

1. Proper attribution of quotes • “This is the first sentence of a quote,” freshman John Doe said. “This is the second sentence.” • Commas go inside quotation marks, and the period goes after the attribution. A period goes inside the quotation marks if an attribution has already been included. • Always use “John Doe said.” Only use “said John Doe” if the name is followed by a long descriptor: “The Shield is awesome,” said John Doe, who graduated from McCallum in the '80s. • Each quote gets its own paragraph. • Always use “said,” NOT “exclaimed,” “added,” etc. 2. Dates • “Aug. 5, 2006.” • Never abbreviate days of the week. • Days: July 1, NOT July 1st. • Months: Abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. when used with a specific date. Spell out months when used alone: “I start school in August.” 3. Times • “3 p.m. to 8:30 a.m.” • Don’t use colons for times on the hour. “3 p.m.” NOT “3:00 p.m.” • Distinguish morning/afternoon with lowercase “a.m.” and “p.m.” • Use “midnight” or “noon” instead of numerals. 4. Names and titles • “journalism adviser Dave Winter” • Use a source’s full name on first reference, but refer to them by last name thereafter. • Do not use courtesy titles like “Mr.” and “Ms.” unless they are part of a direct quotation. • Capitalize formal titles if they appear before a name: “Vice President Kamala Harris.” Lowercase informal titles, titles without a name and titles set off by commas. • Use titles like “Ph.D.” or “Dr.” on first reference, then last name only. 5. Numbers • Zero through nine are spelled out, and 10 and above are numerals unless they begin a sentence. • Use numerals for ages (11-year-old girl), dollar amounts ($3) dates (July 4), measurements (3 ounces) and scores (11-2).

About AP Style The Shield adheres to Associated Press (AP) Style, a writing and editing reference that is used by journalists worldwide. The Associated Press is “an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting,” according to its website. The AP Stylebook, which can be accessed on paper or online (there are many paper editions in Room 134), provides guidelines for grammar, spelling, punctuation, language usage, etc. Writers should reference the AP Stylebook often to verify that every word and paragraph in their story follows AP Style.

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staff manual vol. 71

Life cycle of a story

From brainstorming to bylines

1. The story cycle begins with pitch, when the staff brainstorms ideas for the upcoming issue. Once assigned a story, the staffer will complete a pitch sheet that further develops the idea to select an angle and brainstorm possible sources, graphics, photos and page layouts. Staffers turn in the physical pitch sheet to section editors in person, and they submit a photo of it on BLEND, then mark their progress Trello. Section editors will provide feedback on pitch sheets and mark it done on Trello. The rest of Week 1 can be used for interviewing and research. 2. During Week 2, staffers will finish interviewing and write a rough draft of their story. They will turn the finished rough draft into BLEND and place it in the appropriate Google Drive folder, then mark it done on Trello. Section editors will edit the stories in Google Drive and mark on Trello when the drafts have been edited. 3. During Week 3, staffers will revise stories based on editor feedback. Once they have completed a revised draft, they will ensure that the Google Drive doc of their story is up to date, submit it on BLEND and mark on Trello that they are done. EICs will edit revised drafts and mark on Trello when complete. 4. During Week 4 staffers will create rough drafts of page and web designs for their stories. Staffers are expected to complete both a print page and a web draft regardless of whether their story is on the print ladder. Staffers will turn in screenshots of both their print and web drafts to BLEND and mark on Trello when complete. 5. During Week 5, print, web and design editors will review the drafts and mark on Trello when done. EICs will review the drafts and mark on Trello when complete. This will be a collaborative process with staffers. Staffers should submit screenshots of their final print and web designs to BLEND. 6. The adviser will review page designs before sending the issue to the printer during the sixth week, which also functions as Week 1 for the next issue. Print stories will appear in the issue distributed on Friday the following week. Web stories will be posted on a rolling basis.

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Pitch process All members of staff should come to pitch meetings with ideas. Staffers can brainstorm interesting stories by staying informed, listening to/reading the news and observing everyday happenings at school and around town. Look at the Mac calendar for upcoming events. Keep an eye on pop culture events such as upcoming movies, music or books. Take note of individuals who may have a story to tell.


News writing

Breaking news

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The inverted pyramid

All news stories must balance News stories often follow the inverted pyramid structure, timeliness (How recent is the event?), which presents the most important information first. impact (Why is this story important? The story should become more specific and less Who is affected by this issue), proximity important as it progresses. The lead should (How is this story connected to McCallum?) contain the main points (think 5 Ws) in and uniqueness (What makes this story the most concise way possible so that different from other news stories?) to be the reader can easily understand effective. what the story is about. The story then enters a quoteIn the case of a breaking news story, timeliness is transition format to of the utmost importance. Since these stories are convey the other key happening “right now,” the deadline is tight. Most facts and elaborate breaking news stories fall into the inverted pyramid and on the topics quote-transition structures and are fast-tracked for the web. described in Note: There may the lead. be alternative story Oftentimes breaking news stories can involve hot-topic issues structures that do but it’s important to avoid editorializing. All information must not follow the inverted be pulled from research and interviews, both of which must be pyramid model. directly attributed in the story. Stay concise — don’t speculate or focus on what is not happening.

News-feature

News feature stories typically focus on a character or some event of human interest within a news topic, which means they tend to stray from straight news reporting and writing styles. The key difference between a news feature and a feature is that a news feature presents newsworthy information and hard facts alongside the main character. There may be points in the story where the human interest is abandoned in favor of more research-based reporting and vice versa.

In-depth package

An in-depth package includes several stories, posts and photos from a variety of writers and photographers. As the name suggests, these packages dive deep into a particular issue that is so broad and pressing that it requires different methods of reporting over a longer period of time. In-depth packages typically begin with a breaking news story followed by related news features, briefs and even multimedia elements like photo essays, videos or podcasts. In the past, the Shield has published in-depth packages covering school facilities and the 2022 bond, climate change and Austin’s growth.

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Feature writing

Characteristics

Feature stories cover a wide range of topics and can be written in many different ways. They can offer an exploration of the human condition or a deep immersion into a new or little-known world. Most importantly, feature stories give a face to current issues and events in the news.

Types of features Features can cover anything under the sun. Below are a few different types. • Profile - Feature on a person of interest • Trend story - Feature on a current trend, could be social, technological, etc. • Human interest - Feature on a group of people or culture • Investigative - Deep dive into a phenomenon, revealing new information

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Anecdotal lead A narrative that draws the reader in. The lead places the story’s main idea in a moment. The moment must take the reader somewhere — not just an irrelevant story.

Nutgraph The nutgraph is the thesis of your story, the “so-what,” that reminds the reader of what news the story illustrates. Often, its helpful to write your nutgraph before your lead.

Establishing quote The establishing quote is where your story begins. It should be a “bright, brilliant, burst of life” from your story’s main character or an expert on the topic of your feature story.

Tips and tricks

Think of your feature like a movie. Write in moments. Write in scenes. Show, don’t tell. Write how you would talk. Ask your interviewee what they did, not how they felt. Use standout quotes and jump right in — take your reader directly to the story. Use anecdotes to reveal information.

Background information

Things to avoid

Examples The examples section adds more detail and layers to your story. This is a good time to add statistics or facts relevant to the greater topic or issue your feature is about.

Avoid rhetorical questions or speculating on what didn’t happen. Don’t insert yourself into the story — you aren’t the subject. Avoid clichés and vague statements like universal truths. Don’t write quote leads, question leads or “Webster’s dictionary defines...” leads. Don’t do the bare minimum of interviewing. Your sources are the backbone of your story. If your reporting is bad, your writing will be, too.

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The background information fills your reader in on everything before your lead. Write chronologically. Don’t jump around and confuse readers. Focus on relevant events.

Kicker The kicker should end your story with a bang. Oftentimes this is a really strong quote from your main character. A kicker can circle back to your lead or gaze into the future.


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Opinion writing

2023-2024

article written by the editorial board that takes a stance on a current issue Staff editorial An affecting readers and offers a solution. Always the last page in every issue. General tips • Say what you mean — don’t try and fancy up all the phrases. If you wouldn’t say it, don’t write it. Avoid clichés. Be true to your voice. • Don’t overwrite. Less is more. An editorial should make its point in 400-500 words maximum. • Little mistakes make big differences. Mistakes kill your credibility. The reader might question if the rest of your article is accurate. Take a stance! • The most important part of editorial writing is TAKING A STANCE. You can’t have an in-between opinion. • Your stance should be a YES or NO. This doesn’t mean your opinion needs to be black-and-white; it just means the stance you are taking needs to be firm. Write what you know • Most people don’t care about what an average high schooler has to say on (insert broad political topic). Write about what affects you and your readers, like district policy, local legislation and issues on campus. You have a better chance at making change with issues that affect you directly. Use your unique perspective. • If you feel uninformed about a topic, do your research. Statistics and facts build your credibility and help strengthen your argument. End with a call to action • The point of your editorial is to be a catalyst for change, so offer a solution or an ideal outcome. If you are going to complain about something, you should offer a better solution.

Editorial writing

This is not a rigid formula that most always be followed, but is a guideline with all the pieces that an editorial should have. Graphic by Jeanie Acton.

Opinion column A written personal opinion regarding a current subject.

An opinion column is like the combination of an editorial and a personal column. You can write in first person and use personal experience, but your topic should be related to a wider issue affecting the community. Don’t be afraid to dissent. Opinion columns can often stand against the staff editorial, offering an alternate perspective to a layered issue.

Personal column A story about yourself that has some greater relevance. •

Personal columns, at their best, read like a feature story about yourself. Everyone has defining moments in their life. Great personal columns share these experiences with readers to leave them with a deeper meaning. These articles tap into themes people can relate to. Come back to important motifs by using repetition. Write in moments that are always moving forward — think about writing in scenes.

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Design principles

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Proximity

Proximity is a tool to create relationships between different elements on the page. Related elements are in close proximity to each other, while separate elements are separated by distance. Proximity tells readers where to look.

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Alignment

Alignment is used to create order within your page and a uniform look that limits distraction or visual chaos. Alignment organizes text, photos, graphics, headlines and captions.

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Repetition

The repetition of elements such as shapes, colors, text styles and more establishes a sense of consistency within your page and across the entire newspaper. Repetition is used to create a unified look.

Contrast

Contrast is used to grab the reader’s attention by drawing their eye to differences and breaks in patterns. Contrast can be used to emphasize important elements by setting them apart from the rest of your page.

Balance

Balance refers to the equal distribution of elements on you page; an element on the left side of your page should be balanced by another on the right. Balance helps create stability within your page.

Dominance

Dominance tells your reader where to look when they turn to your page. A dominant image or graphical element creates a hierarchy on your page, leading your reader from the most important to the least important elements.

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• Hit “W” to see whole design without guides or marks. • Hit “V” to go back to the selection tool. • Shift, Command, < or > to make text bigger or smaller in increments of two • Command B: ignore text wrap • Command D: insert photos from your desktop These are a few helpful shortcuts for when you are using InDesign. We will do multiple full tutorials on the software during the first few weeks of school.


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Website design

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While web design may seem simpler than print design, it is crucial that each web post is given the same amount of thought, effort and time that print pages receive. Pasting a story into Word Press is not the same as designing a web draft. A web draft must include all necessary elements to count as a completed design assignment. Key elements of a web draft include: • Headline and subheadline that should span the entire width of the page, or as close as you can get • Byline with lowercase job title • Section tags • Feature image which must be a high quality image that has a complete caption and photo credit • Related stories module, found under the SNO Elements button. The module goes at the end of the story and should be centered with three related stories if using single sidebar story tempalte or four if using the fullwidth template. It should also include a creative, relevant title. • Pulled quotes that alternate sides starting on the right • Secondary images with captions and credit and interspersed between pulled quotes Data Gif maker and Knight Lab are great resources for making interactive web elements that can elevate your web post to the next level. Don’t be afraid to experiment with these programs; take advantage of the flexibility offered by digital design.

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