Your source for CHS news


Your source for CHS news


Your source for CHS news


HiLite Editorial Policy

Carmel High School News Website

“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

HiLite Editorial Policy pertains to HiLite newsmagazine (published for “Senior Issue) and hilite.org. HiLite serves as a public forum and two-way communication for both the school and the community. HiLite aims to publish timely, localized, and student-oriented content. 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 publication’s content.


I. Freedom of the Press

  1. Any decisions affecting 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 Management Team and the Adviser will not censor content if it follows the ethicality and legality principles, but instead redirect stories.
  4. HiLite will actively resist all attempts at censorship. 
  5. 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 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. 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 HiLite

  1. The Management Team consists of roughly seven members: two editor in chiefs 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, first look, posting etc.)  at 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(s) 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. 


IV. 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 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 HiLite.


V. 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; offers an equal opportunity to minority and/or marginalized students to participate in  journalism programs; acts transparently; is not required to view or approve HiLite content prior to publication.


VI. Content of HiLite


All decisions regarding the printing or dissemination of content in 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. HiLite will not publish unnecessary profanity within the print publication, the online publication, or HiLite social media
  2. The Managment 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. 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. 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 Management 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. 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 Managment 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 Managment Team.


  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. 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 Management 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 HiLite?


  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. The majority of the stories published by HiLite will emphasize school news that is unique to CHS students. 
  2. HiLite will cover national and international news when it is relevant to students at CHS.
  3. HiLite will strive to provide coverage of all school organizations and functions.
  4.  HiLite will publish the facts correctly, explain the issue clearly and end any speculation surrounding news.


  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. HiLite will aim to 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(s) 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. HiLite will treat all deaths in a discrete, respectful manner.
  6. HiLite will not publish an obituary for the student.
  7. An issue of publication will not be dedicated to, or in memory of, the deceased.


  1. All cutlines will identify the people and the actions they are performing in any photo running in any issue or post of HiLite.
  2. All photographs must be captioned and bylined, with the exception of cut-outs and column photos. 
  3. Editors’ 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 and graphics can accompany other material or can be published alone. 
  6. 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. HiLite can edit photos for brightness, color corrections, cut-outs, etc. However, HiLite cannot change the truth of the photo or illustration.


  1. Concerns about HiLite errors may be submitted through the Adviser and the Management Team. 
  2. The Management 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 HiLite will be addressed regardless if realized by author, audience or staff member.
  4. Staff members will strive to correct errors prior to publication.


  1. All ads need to be approved by the Management 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 HiLite is not necessarily endorsed by HiLite or their staff members, Editors, Management 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. 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 [email protected] 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. 


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

  1. The Management Team reserves the right to remove posts on HiLite’s 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 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 Management Team.


  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. 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.


  1. All takedown requests should be emailed to [email protected].
  2. The Management Team and advisor will review all takedown requests in line with the HiLite Editorial Policy and make a final judgment on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Takedown requests concerned with potential inaccuracies will be evaluated based on our previously stated policies regarding errors
  4. HiLite strives to fulfill its role as a public record and as such will not remove content unless there is proof of significant extenuating circumstances regarding a source’s safety.


The HiLite staff strives for creativity in the workplace. To that end, we will ensure that all the students on HiLite staff ceate original work. As such, AI will not be permitted for the generation of any content; however, it may be used to assist certain processes. These processes include such items as the use of AI for broad brainstorming and automation of transcription under supervision of a staff member, while maintaining our philosophy of a strictly student-made and student-led publication rooted on creativity and journalistic learning.

We will not allow any AI usage for creating content, including but not limited to the following: writing, photography, graphic design, podcast/audio and video. We also prohibit the staff from using AI technology to research statistics or studies to be used in our writing.

Below are the specific policies for AI usage in the HiLite staff. These policies can be added upon, taken away or edited when we deem an update is necessary. If any potential use for AI arises which is not mentioned below, the HiLite Management Team will discuss the policy and categorize it to one of the two below.

HiLite staff members MAY use AI to:

  1. assist in generating story, graphic and photo ideas as needed.
  2. assist in generating interview questions.
  3. spell/grammar check without altering the writer’s phrasing.
  4. transcribe interviews with supervision from the writer.
  5. ask AI questions such as “Does this story answer ‘x’ angle?”
  6. ask what the story could improve on*
  7. use as a reference for graphic design**
    * Cannot ask to revise or edit content.** Cannot trace over AI images. 

HiLite staff members MAY not use AI to:

  1. assist in creating digital media in the form of videos, graphics or photos.
  2. write content at any stage (headlines, stories, photo captions).
  3. retrieve research via AI software.
  4. copy and paste graphics and photos to count as a completed assignment.
  5. generate quotes.
  6. fill and/or extend images.
  7. revise a body of text or any command that could alter the student’s natural flow and voice.*
  8. change writing style so that the story includes language that is “sophisticated,” “formal” “complex” or anything of that nature.**
    *Can only be used for spelling and grammar checking.** Anything that can alter a writer’s natural style. 




  1. Editor in Chief and other editor-level positions for the next school year are chosen by the Adviser, with input from the current Management 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. 
  5. The Adviser reserves the right to make changes to the list as he/she deems necessary. 


  1. 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 the HiLite staff at the end of the semester in which student is currently enrolled. 



  1. Complaints and suggestions can be emailed to [email protected] or presented in written form to the Adviser or a member of the Management Team.
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