The student news site of Warsaw High School

The Wildcat

About

The Wildcat Editorial Policy

Warsaw High School Journalism Department

Updated August 2012

 

Mission:

As preservers of democracy, our schools shall protect, encourage and enhance free speech and the exchange of ideas as a means of protecting our American way of life.

The Wildcat is the official student-produced medium of news and information published by journalism students. The Wildcat has been established as a designated public forum for student editors to inform and educate their readers as well as for the discussion of issues of concern to their audience. Advisers may – and should – coach and discuss content during the writing process.

The content of The Wildcat is determined by and reflects only the views of the student staff and not school officials or the school itself.

Electronic media (including online, broadcast and podcast media) produced by The Wildcat students are entitled to the same protections – and subjected to the same freedoms and responsibilities – as media produced for print publication.

Student journalists may use print and electronic media to report news and information, to communicate with other students and individuals, to ask questions of and consult with experts and to gather material to meet their newsgathering and research needs.

The Wildcat and its staff are protected by and bound to the principles of the First Amendment and other protections and limitations afforded by the Constitution and the various laws and court decisions implementing those principles.

The purpose of this newspaper is:

  1. To inform readers of interests concerning WHS and all of its people.
  2. To interpret the facts reported upon clearly and precisely.
  3. To analyze subjects of interest and present them to the reader in a fair and honest way.
  4. To provide stories to entertain the reader.
  5. To serve as a public forum for student expression.
  6. To function as an educational tool to allow students to develop skills in writing, editing, and dealing with people.

 

Content:

The newspaper staff is responsible for the content. The executive editors will determine what subjects are to be covered and warrant placement in the newspaper. Once this is determined, the staff reserves the right to select and to limit the amount of content and determine priorities as to the coverage. Students outside of the staff are encouraged to submit materials for publication which will be reviewed by the executive editors for inclusion. Special columns may be submitted and included for publication by faculty or administration by executive editor approval.

Staff members will strive to correct errors prior to publication; however, if the editorial board determines a significant error is printed, the editorial board will determine the manner and timeliness of a correction.

The Wildcat will not publish any material determined by student editors or the student editorial board to be unprotected, that is, material that is libelous, obscene, materially disruptive of the school process, an unwarranted invasion of privacy, a violation of copyright or a promotion of products or services unlawful (illegal) as to minors as defined by state or federal law.

The staff of The Wildcat will strive to report all issues in a legal, objective, accurate and ethical manner, according to the Canons of Professional Journalism developed by the Society of Professional Journalists. The Canons of Professional Journalism include a code of ethics concerning accuracy, responsibility, integrity, conflict of interest, impartiality, fair play, freedom of the press, independence, sensationalism, personal privacy, obstruction of justice, creditability and advertising.

The adviser will not act as a censor or determine the content of the paper. The adviser will offer advice and instruction, following the Code of Ethics for Advisers established by the Journalism Education Association as well as the Canons of Professional Journalism. School officials shall not fire or otherwise discipline advisers for content in student media that is determined and published by the student staff.

The student editor and staff who want appropriate outside legal advice regarding proposed content – should seek attorneys knowledgeable in media law such as those of the Student Press Law Center. Final content decisions and responsibility shall remain with the student editorial board.

The Wildcat will not avoid publishing a story solely on the basis of possible dissent or controversy.

The Wildcat editorial board reserves the right to accept or reject any ad in accordance with its advertising policy.

Electronic manipulations changing the essential truth of the photo or illustration will be clearly labeled if used.

 

Editorials:

The editorial board, which consists of the staff’s student editors, will determine the content, including all unsigned editorials. The views stated in editorials represent that of a majority of the editorial board. Signed columns or reviews represent only the opinion of the author.

 

Letters to the Editor:

The Wildcat may accept letters to the editor, guest columns and news releases from students, faculty, administrators, community residents and the general public. We ask that letters to the editor, guest columns or other submissions be 300 words or less and contain the author’s name, address and signature. All submissions will be verified.

The Wildcat editorial board reserves the right to withhold a letter or column or other submission and/or return it for revision if it contains unprotected speech or grammatical errors that could hamper its meaning. Deadlines for letters and columns will be determined by each year’s student staff, allowing sufficient time for verification of authorship prior to publication.

The duly appointed editor or co-editors shall interpret and enforce this editorial policy.

 

Bylines:

Stories will carry bylines, except for the staff editorial. Photos will carry a photo credit, excluding mugs.

 

Illustrations and Photos:

Photographs will be used to promote school activities and student/ faculty achievements as well as to provide an insight into WHS life. Illustrations must be approved by the photo editor, section editor, and executive editors before they will be accepted as yearbook material.

No suggestive, implicative, or obscene gestures will be tolerated, nor will photos that make people appear foolish.

All illustrations must be of a news or entertainment value and relative to the year being covered.

Photos will not be manipulated to misrepresent individuals pictured.

Any questionable photo will be referred to the Editorial Board for a decision

 

Advertising Policy

The staff has the right to reject, edit, or cancel any advertisement at any time. If a business pays for advertising in advance of publication and the staff decides to cancel the advertising, money will be refunded for the remaining ads.

Advertising shall be free of statements, illustrations, or implications that are offensive to good taste or public decency based on the opinion of the staff.

Advertising shall offer merchandise or service on its merits, and refrain from attacking competitors unfairly or disparaging their products, services, or methods of doing business.

The staff may run political advertisements.

The staff will not accept advertising for products or groups that is racist, sexist, illegal for high school students, or violates other standard journalistic principles (libel, obscenity, invasion of privacy, disruption.)

Ads which the staff accepts are not an endorsement from the staff, the adviser, the administration, or the Warsaw R-9 board of education.

 

Obituary Policy

The Wildcat student newspaper will honor students who died with a journalistically written obituary. In the written obituary, the staff will point out the person’s significance to others, the person’s accomplishments and activities in the school and community, the person’s hobbies and aspirations.

 

 

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