HiLite Editorial Policy

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HiLite Editorial Policy

Carmel High School Newsmagazine 

“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.” 

–The First Amendment 

 

“The vigilant protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American schools.”

–Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District

 

The HiLite Editorial Policy pertains to the HiLite newsmagazine and hilite.org. HiLite serves as a public forum and two-way communication for both the school and the community. The HiLite aims to publish timely, localized, and student-oriented content. The HiLite is completely student-run.  It will not be reviewed or restrained by school officials prior to publication or distribution. Advisers can discuss content during the writing process, however, the management team will make all final decisions regarding content.

Because school officials do not engage in prior review, opinions expressed in the newspaper are not necessarily representative of those of CHS, the Carmel Clay system faculty, staff, or administration.  Staff members assume complete legal and financial liability for the content of the publication.

I. Freedom of the Press

  1. Any decisions affecting the HiLite on all levels will be made by the management team. The Adviser is allowed to provide his input and advice, but the management team makes all final decisions. 
  2. Only the management team can prevent material from being printed or published. 
  3. Unless completely necessary, The Managing Team and the Adviser will not censor content if it follows the ethicality and legality principles, but instead redirect stories.
  4. The HiLite will actively resist all attempts at censorship. 
  5. The HiLite retains the right to publish any and all content through an interview as long as the interviewee was made aware that the information could be published.
  6. Carmel administration cannot censor the HiLite.
  7. The HiLite staff is 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.
  8. The HiLite will not publish any material that is libelous, obscene, unnecessarily disruptive of the school process, an unwarranted invasion of privacy, a violation of copyright or promotion of illegal products or services.
    1. If this may be an issue, the advisor can overstep the management team to stop/subtract something printed if a piece of the publication goes against these listed, by informing management.

II. The Management Team

The management team oversees the proper execution and production of the HiLite

  1. The management team consists of six members: an editor in chief and five managing editors. These students have typically been on staff for three years of HiLite (four, including the prerequisite class). 
  2. The management team is chosen by the adviser with reference to recommendations from the previous year’s management.
  3. The management team works to maintain day-to-day activities (i.e proofreading, distribution, first page/PDF, etc.)  at the HiLite.
  4. All members of the management team are expected to know the duties of their role and must understand the consequences of not fulfilling said duties. 
  5. The duly appointed editor(s)-in-chief  interprets and enforces this editorial policy. The editor in chief makes all final decisions. 

 

III. Editor and Staff Selection Process

The adviser makes all final decisions about editor and staff positions. 

  1. During January of each year, an application is made available for any incoming and returning staff member to join the HiLite staff. 
  2. All applicants must write a small personal statement explaining why they want to join the staff.
  3. The Adviser looks through the applicants and chooses next year’s staff. 
  4. During February of each year, an application is made available for returning staff members who wish to become editor’s next year. 
  5. After the application is due, the management team gives their input on the applicants. 
  6. The Adviser takes their input into account and makes the final decision. 
  7. Only the management team and the Adviser are involved in making this decision. 
  8. On the first day of spring break, editor decisions are sent out via mail. 

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.”

 

  1. The Adviser is on the teaching staff at CHS and is the final authority, like in any conventional classroom.
  2. The Adviser is a certified journalism teacher. He models the principles of the staff serves as a source of motivation and provides ideas on professionalism and educational resources.
  3. The Adviser provides a professional learning atmosphere for students by allowing them to make decisions for the content of HiLite and ensuring that it will run as a designated public forum.
  4. The Adviser guides HiLite staff and aids the educational process related to producing content.
  5. The Adviser or the CHS Administration can’t determine the content of the HiLite. However, the adviser can offer advice and instruction in relation to ethics and morals in printing.
  6. The Adviser may caution, act as legal consultant and educator in terms of unprotected speech, but can’t veto or censor any content without a constitutionally valid reason.
  7. The Adviser keeps up with the latest journalism trends and shares these with the staff.
  8. The Adviser submits student-produced HiLite content to contests so they can receive feedback.
  9. The Adviser lets editors and staff know when a situation affecting them has occurred.
  10. The Adviser works with CHS faculty and administration to aid in the understanding of the freedoms accorded to the students and the professional goals of the HiLite.

IV. CHS and District Administration

The CHS and Carmel Clay Schools District administration

  1. Provides the students of CHS with qualified and professional role models, adequate classroom equipment, and space for a sound journalism program;
  2. Offers an equal opportunity to minority and/or marginalized students to participate in  journalism programs;
  3. Acts transparently;
  4. Is not required to view or approve HiLite content prior to publication

V. Content of the HiLite

  1. INTRODUCTION

All decisions regarding the printing or dissemination of content in the HiLite will

be made in occurrence to the following provisions, while keeping in mind that the overall purpose and goal of the publication is to

  1. Inform, interpret, and entertain readers through accurate and factual reports, where information has been thoroughly gathered and verified;
  2. Serve as an educational experience for those on staff;
  3. Be accurate, fair and impartial in its coverage of issues in all aspects of coverage.
  4. Raise pressing issues relevant to the student body;
  5. Cover the total school population as effectively and accurately as possible.
  1. REGARDING PROFANITY
  1. The HiLite will not publish unnecessary profanity within the print publication, the online publication, or HiLite social media
  2. The Managing Team and the Adviser will make the decision on whether the content is considered profane or whether it reflects a cultural or non-vulgar slang term that is not school-appropriate.
  3. The HiLite reserves the right to edit quotes for unnecessary profanity. Edited quotes will be marked with asterisks and parentheses around the supplemented information or wording.
  4. All quotes edited for profanity will be brought back to the source of the original quote prior to publications. Sources will be given the opportunity to rephrase their edited quote to avoid the previously stated profanity.
  5. Interviewers are allowed to ask a source to repeat a quote without the use of profane language.
  1. REGARDING WRITING
  1. All work is written by HiLite staff members. Other students can submit letters to the editors. 
  2. The HiLite staff can also recruit students to write a column. This tactic is only used when the student has greater expertise than staff members.
  3. Any material submitted from an outside source for Letters to the Editors or guest columns can be edited by the Managing Team and the Adviser.  The submitter must comply with all HiLite staff policies regarding publication.
  4. Writing must be the original work of the writer and cannot have been previously published in any publication.
  1. REGARDING EDITORIALS
  1. All editorials published will be bylined as HiLite Staff.
  2. The Editorial Board must consist of both perspectives editors and the management team. Any other staff member is welcomed to join or write the editorial for an issue. 
  3. Staff editorial ideas may be submitted to the Managing Team by all members of the HiLite staff.
  4. All printed staff editorial subject matter will be determined and edited for content and angle by the Editorial Board to appropriately represent the views of the staff.
  5. The views stated in staff editorials represent those held by a majority of the Managing Team.
  1. REGARDING CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES
  1. All coverage of controversial issues must have a timely aspect to accompany it. 
  2. All sides of the issue will be presented and reviewed to refrain from any bias, with the exception of opinions. If refraining from bias is impossible, the story’s angle will be replaced.
  3. All controversial issue will be published with the purpose to inform, not to promote or endorse.
  4. The HiLite will not publish material that is unnecessarily obscene, libelous or an unwarranted invasion of privacy.
  5. If doubts on the truthfulness of content being considered to persist, the issue will be brought to the Managing Team which will consider the following questions before publication of the piece:
    1. Why is it a concern?
    2. What is its journalistic purpose?
    3. Is the information accurate and complete?
    4. Are any important points of view omitted?
    5. What are the consequences of the publication of the piece?
    6. Is there a logical explanation to anyone who challenges the issue?
    7. Does it comply with the purpose and goal of the HiLite?
  1. REGARDING BYLINES
  1. All articles, graphics, photos, columns, pages, reviews, and other material creatively conceived will be bylined with the producer’s name, with the exception of staff editorials and column headshots.
  2. All staff members with bylines will assume full responsibility and accountability for their work.
  3. When more than one person has contributed significantly to a piece of work, any person who has contributed to the work must be bylined as a producer.
  1. REGARDING NEWS AND FEATURES
  1. The majority of the stories published in the HiLite will emphasize school news that is unique to CHS students. 
  2. The HiLite will cover national and international news when it is relevant to students at CHS.
  3. The HiLite will strive to provide coverage of all school organizations and functions.
  1. The HiLite will publish the facts correctly, explain the issue clearly and end any speculation surrounding news.
  1. REGARDING DEATHS
  1. A death notification will be published for any current student who passes away during the school year on the HiLite website. This will not be published in print. 
  2. The HiLite will publish 
    1. The date of the death 
    2. The full name of the deceased 
    3. Grade of the deceased 
    4. A quote from the head of counseling on the availability of counseling services 
    5. A quote from the principal about the death 
  3. The HiLite editor-in-chief will work to gather the quotes from the principal and the head of counseling. 
  4. The death notification will be published the school day after the death. 
  5. The HiLite will treat all deaths in a discrete, respectful manner.
  6. The HiLite will not publish an obituary for the student.
  7. An issue of publication in any of the HiLite will not be dedicated to, or in memory of, the deceased.
  1. REGARDING ILLUSTRATIONS, PHOTOGRAPHS, GRAPHICS, ETC. 
  1. All cutlines will identify the people and the actions they are performing in any photo running in any issue or post of the HiLite.
  2. All photographs must be captioned and bylined, with the exception of cut-outs and column photos. 
  3. Editor’s choices of photos and graphics will be based on news value and benefit to the readers. 
  4. Infographics will be informative rather than decorative.
  5. Photos, graphics can accompany other material or can be published alone. 
  6. The HiLite will not publish any photos, illustrations, etc. that ridicule, demean or misleadingly represent any individual or group.
  7. Any electronic manipulations made to the picture will be labeled as “photo illustration.”
  8. The HiLite can edit photos for brightness, color corrections, cut-outs, etc. However, the HiLite cannot change the truth of the photo or illustration.
  1. REGARDING ERRORS
  1. Concerns about errors in the HiLite may be submitted through the Adviser and the Managing Team. 
  2. The Managing Team retains the right to determine whether, in fact, an error has been made.
  3. Known and/or found errors that are brought to the attention of the HiLite will be addressed regardless if realized by author, audience, or staff member.
  4. Staff members will strive to correct errors prior to publication; however, if the Managing Team determines a significant error is printed, a correction of the error will be published in the next issue of the HiLite.
  1. REGARDING ADVERTISING
  1. All ads need to be approved by the Managing Team. Any ad in violation of the provisions of this policy will not run.
  2. The HiLite will not accept advertising for products that are illegal for minors to purchase and/or use.
  3. The HiLite will not run advertising without a proper signature on the advertising contract which explains terms of payment, content, size, and publishing dates.
  4. The HiLite will cease to publish the advertising of any advertiser who does not meet payment obligations.
  5. Free web ads appear in a specified section at the bottom of the website.
  6. Advertising that appears in the HiLite is not necessarily endorsed by the HiLite or their staff members, Editors, Managing Team or Adviser.
  7. Payment for all ads is due at the end of the month in which the advertisement is printed. An invoice and tearsheet will be mailed or delivered by ad sales personnel.
  8. Political advertisements and new accounts are the exceptions to this policy. They must be paid in advance.
  9. There will be a cancellation fee of $25 for canceled ads after the contract deadline.
  10. All checks should be made payable to Carmel High School.
  11. Advertising revenues and fundraising are to be used to pay for HiLite printing costs, supplies, and other HiLite expenses.
  1. REGARDING DISTRIBUTION AND CIRCULATION
  1. The HiLite will begin at no less than 16 pages in magazine format, excluding explicitly noted special editions. The number of pages can, however, be altered as needed at the discretion of the Adviser and/or Managing Team.
  2. Frequent updates will be made to hilite.org during the week throughout the school year. While less frequent updates will be made to the site during breaks.
  3. The HiLite will be distributed free of charge to all CHS students according to a distribution schedule approved by the Adviser and editors. Newspapers will be distributed every month.
  4. Current copies of the HiLite will also be displayed in the library, main office, guidance office, and in the HiLite room.
  5. All efforts will be made to distribute the HiLite at the start of SRT on the predetermined publication dates unless a complication arises.
  6. The HiLite will print around 5,000 copies of each issue. 
  7. Exchange publications are received and looked over in the HiLite room.
  1. REGARDING LETTERS TO THE EDITOR AND ONLINE COMMENTS
  1. Letters to the editor will be accepted for the upcoming issue no later than the specified date in the previous issue.
  2. Letters may be submitted to Room C147, placed in the mailbox of Jim Streisel, emailed to management1920@hilite.org or mailed to the school.
  3. All letters must be signed.
  4. Names will be published. Letters sent via email will be taken to a student’s SRT for him to sign.
  5. Letters must not contain personal attacks against an individual and may be edited.
  6. Comments on the website will be supervised by the online editors and the Advisor. If the comment is appropriate, it will be approved to publish on the website. 

 

  1. REGARDING SOCIAL MEDIA

The HiLite social media will be used to promote the HiLite, published content and other community and school activities 

  1. The Managing Team reserves the right to remove posts on the HiLite social media. 
  2. The information posted on social media platforms should be held to the same standard as all other reporting in terms of information gathering and fact-checking.
  3. The official social HiLite accounts should avoid biased promotion of events and remain objective.
  4. Content posted by specific clubs’ accounts promoting events may be shared by the HiLite accounts on a fair basis.
  5. In breaking news situations, extreme caution will be exercised and speculation will never be published. Staff members posting from these accounts should make every effort to have a school administrator as a source in a situation where a breaking news event pertains directly to the school.
  6. Audience engagement through social media HiLite should be done in a professional manner.
  7. Mistakes made on social HiLite posts should be corrected as soon as possible and any deleted posts should be acknowledged in subsequent postings. In the event that a personal post is inadvertently posted from a HiLite account, it will be immediately deleted. It will be acknowledged if deemed necessary by the Managing Team.
  1. PRIOR REVIEW POLICY
  1. Sources will be able to have quotes read back at any time during or after an interview.
  2. Sources will not be able to demand to read the reporter’s completed story and/or perform editing tasks on said story.
  3. The HiLite reporters will not use anonymous sources.
  4. All HiLite reporters will respect the interviewee’s rights to have information remain “off the record.”
  5. The Adviser is allowed to review the publication, but not required to, for the sole purpose of acting as legal consultant and educator in terms of unprotected speech; the Adviser reading content is not considered prior review unless he/she makes changes or directs changes.

VI. POLICY FOR SELECTION AND DISMISSAL 

  1. EDITOR AND STAFF SELECTION PROCESS
  1. Editor-in-Chief and other editor level positions for the next school year are chosen by the Adviser, with input from the current Managing Team.
  2. New and returning staff are judged by their application, previous work, and potential. 
  3. Staff applications are due in February of each year prior to registration.
  4. The staff is selected in January. Editors are selected before spring break. 
  1. The Adviser reserves the right to make changes to the list as he/she deems necessary. 
  1. Code of Conduct
  1. The HiLite follows CHS’s code of conduct for co-curricular activities 
  2. Penalties for violations of the code of conduct will be under the discretion of the Advisor
  3. Penalties (subject to change based on the severity of the offense):
    1. First Offense- Loss of all pass privileges for the length of an entire issue
    2. Loss of all pass privileges for six weeks. 
    3. Privileges to attend conventions, field trip, etc. revoked
    4. Removal from HiLite staff at the end of the semester in which student is currently enrolled. 

VII. QUERIES

  1. Complaints and suggestions can be emailed to management1920@hilite.org or presented in written form, to the Adviser or a member of the Managing Team.
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