ROBINSON HIGH SCHOOL MEDIA EDITORIAL POLICY
The RHS Media Editorial Policy pertains to rhstoday.com.
rhstoday.com is the official student-produced website of news and information published by RHS Media students. RHS Media have been established as designated limited public forum for student editors to inform and educate their readers as well as for the discussion of issues of concern to their audience.
The content of rhstoday.com is determined by and reflects only the views of the staff of RHS Media, not necessarily that of the adviser, that of Robinson High School or its administration, or that of the School District of Hillsborough County.
RHS Media 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 editor-in-chief(s) and the editorial board are responsible for enforcing this editorial policy.
The role and goal of all RHS Media is to inform, interpret and entertain their viewers through accurate and factual reports, and be accurate, fair and impartial in its coverage of issues that affect the school community. The staff of RHS Media will strive to report all issues in a legal, objective, accurate and ethical manner, according to the Canons of Professional Journalism developed by the Society for Professional Journalists.
I. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
- It is essential to preserve the freedom of the press in order to preserve a free society and provide students of Robinson High School with relevant information pertinent to their educational growth and prudent to their concern as students of the school and community.
- The Media will keep itself free from any commercial obligations distracting from this purpose.
- Any decisions affecting the Media on all levels will be made by the Editorial Board. The Adviser is allowed to provide legal advice, but the final decision rests in the hands of the Editorial Board.
- Only the Editorial Board may prevent material from being printed or authorize its printing pursuant to the material’s compliance with provisions outlined in the editorial policy.
- RHStoday.com will vigorously resist all attempts at censorship, particularly pre-publication censorship, and also commit to fighting any censorship if it shall occur.
- RHStoday.com retain the right to publish any and all material obtained through an interview by a staff member of the publications staff, holding that the interviewee was made aware that the information could be published in any form at any time prior to their dissemination of said information.
- 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 news-gathering and research needs.
- RHStoday.com and its various staffs are protected by, and bound to, the principles of the First Amendment and other protections and limitations afforded by the Constitution,various laws, and court decisions implementing those principles.
- RHStoday.com will not publish any material that is, as determined by the student Editorial Board, libelous, obscene, unnecessarily 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.
Definitions and examples for the above instances of unprotected speech can be found in Law of the Student Press published by the Student Press Law Center.
II. THE EDITORIAL BOARD
- Being that the Media are operated and produced at the discretion of students of the school there shall exist an Editorial Board to oversee the proper execution and production of the Media.
- The Editorial Board will consist of the editor(s)-in-chief, the managing editor, and the head section editors.
- The Editorial Board votes on all decisions that pertain directly to the RHStoday.com and its interests.
- No member of the Editorial Board shall have more than one vote on the board.
- All members of the Editorial Board, along with the Adviser, will vote on a replacement for board members who have been dismissed.
- All members of the Editorial Board are expected to know the duties of their role within the specific area they work on and must understand the consequences of not fulfilling said duties.
- Appropriate outside legal advice regarding questionable content should be sought from attorneys knowledgeable in media law, such as those of the Student Press Law Center. Final content decisions and responsibility of action on content decisions shall remain within the responsibilities and power of the student Editorial Board.
- The duly appointed editor(s)-in-chief shall interpret and enforce this editorial policy.
III. THE ADVISER
- As the execution of ethical and proper journalism is a skill that provides students with practical skill sets, there shall be an Adviser to guide and educate the student editors and staff to these ends.
- The Adviser is a professional teaching staff member and is in charge of the class as in a conventional classroom situation.
- The Adviser is a certified journalism teacher who serves as a professional role model,motivator, catalyst for ideas and professionalism, and an educational resource.
- The Adviser provides a journalistic, professional learning atmosphere for students by allowing them to make the decision of content for the staff and ensuring the staff will remain a designated limited public forum.
- The Adviser guides the staff in accordance with this Editorial Policy and aids the educational process related to producing the various media.
- The Adviser may caution, act as legal consultant and educator terms of unprotected speech, but has no power over censorship or veto except for constitutionally valid reasons which are still subject to approval by the Editorial Board.
- The Adviser will keep abreast of the latest trends on journalism and share these with students.
- The Adviser will submit the various staff content produced by the students to rating services and contests in order for the staff to receive feedback.
- The Adviser will forward any received correspondence and/or information pertinent to the proper execution of duties to the appropriate editors.
- The Adviser will provide information to the staff about journalism scholarships and other financial aid, and make available information and contacts concerning journalism as a career.
- The Adviser will work with the faculty and administration to aid in the understanding of the freedoms accorded to the students and the professional goals of the staff.
- The Adviser or the Building Administration will not act as a censor or determine the content of the Media. The Adviser will offer advice and instruction in compliance with the Code of Ethics for Advisers established by the Journalism Education Association as well as the Canons of Professional Journalism.
IV. THE BUILDING AND DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION
The Robinson High School and Hillsborough County School District administration:
Provide the students of Robinson High School with a qualified, professional role model, adequate classroom equipment, and space for a sound journalism program;
Will offer equal opportunity to minority and/or marginalized students to participate in journalism programs;
Is not required to view or approve Media content prior to publication;
Shall not fire or otherwise discipline Advisers for content in student Media that is determined and published by the student staff.
All decisions regarding the publication, printing or dissemination of content in the Media will be made in occurrence to the following provisions, while keeping in mind that the overall purpose and goal of the Media is to
- Inform, interpret, and entertain their viewers through accurate and factual reports, where information has been thoroughly gathered and verified;
- Serve as an educational laboratory experience for those on staff;
- Be accurate, fair, and impartial in its coverage of issues that affect the school community;
- Not avoid publishing a story solely on the basis of possible dissent or controversy;
- Cover the total school population as effectively and accurately as possible;
- Report all issues in a legal, objective, accurate and ethical manner, in accordance with the Canons of Professional Journalism developed by the Society for Professional Journalists and 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, credibility and advertising.
1. The media will not print unnecessary profanity.
2. The editorial board reserves the right to edit quotes for unnecessary profanity or unnecessarily offensive words, quotes that have been edited will be noted accordingly when published.
REGARDING EDITORIALS AND THE EDITORIAL BOARD
1. All editorials will be clearly identified as so.
2. The staff and editorial board will strive to include both sides of an issue, when possible, so as to avoid unnecessary bias.
3. The editorial board will determine the content. 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.
4. Any decisions affecting the publications on all levels will be made by the editorial board, the adviser is allowed to give legal advice and his/her opinion, but the final decision rests in the hands of the editorial board.
5. RHS Media will not publish any material determined by student editors or the student editorial board to 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 as to minors as defined by state or federal law.
REGARDING CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES
1. All coverage of controversial issues will occur upon a timely subject.
2. The editorial board will refrain from publishing controversial stories just for the sake of controversy.
1. All articles, graphics, photos, art, columns, pages, reviews, and other material creatively conceived, with exception to staff editorials, mug shots and cut-outs will be bylined with the name of the producer (s).
REGARDING NEWS AND FEATURES
1. The media will specialize in and emphasize on informing their readers of school news and unique students of the Robinson High School community.
2. The media will cover community, state, national, and international news if it is relevant to the school community.
3. When faced with the undesirable news such as student or staff or faculty crimes, the publications will endeavor to publish the facts correctly and explain the issue without bias.
1. Any current student, staff member, faculty member or building administrator that dies during the year will be recognized in the school media.
2. The media will publish factual information (date of birth, date of death, survivors, organizations, hobbies, interests) in a 300-word obituary including one mug shot if possible in RHStoday.com.
3. The school media will work to obtain permission from the deceased’s family before publishing any information regarding the cause of death, if permission is not granted, the editorial board reserves the final say in publication of cause of death. Suicide will not be listed as a cause of death.
4. The school media will treat all deaths in a tasteful, respectful way.
REGARDING ONLINE COMMENTS
1. No material will be allowed where content is obscene, invasive of others’ privacy, encouraging physical disruption of school activities, and/or implies libel.
2. Online comments will require a name and email address submitted that are verifiable.
3. Online comments that are found in violation of the editorial policy will be removed as quickly as possible.
4. Personal attacks are not allowed.
PRIOR REVIEW POLICY
1. Sources will be able to have quotes read back at the time of interview or at reporter’s initiative. However, sources will not be able to arbitrarily demand to read a reporter’s completed story and then edit that story. Reporters respect a source’s right to have information remain “off the record” if that fact is known prior to the revelation of information.
2. The media reporters will endeavor to include the name and identity of all sources unless the reporter believes that doing so will result in endangerment, harassment or any other form of undue physical, mental, emotional anguish for the source. The editor(s)-in-chief will make the final decision regarding anonymous sources, and will check the accuracy of the source before publishing the story. In order to legally protect the adviser, only the editor(s)-in-chief and the reporter(s) will know the identity of the anonymous
3. The media reporters will not, within all boundaries of law, reveal a source who asks to remain nameless.
REGARDING ERRORS, COMPLAINTS, AND SUGGESTIONS
1. Questions, complaints or suggestions regarding material published should be made in writing to the adviser, who will present the concern to the editor-in-chief. Such correspondence should be delivered, in a sealed envelope, to Room 112.
2. Known and or found errors that are brought to the attention of the school media will be addressed regardless if realized by author, audience, or staff member.