The Marquette Messenger, Marquette High School’s student-produced newspaper since 1993, is read by approximately 4,000 people each edition. The Messenger comes out once every month and is available free to students. Subscriptions are available to those outside of the school. The Messenger totals 8 issues per year.
The paper has prided itself with a history of accolades and awards. It is consistently recognized as one of the top high school newspapers in Missouri. The staff is currently compromised of 28 students, who are required to have taken a prerequisite course. Emily Jorgensen, CJE, is the teacher adviser.
The Messenger seeks to maintain and enhance values of Objectivity, Credibility, Accuracy, and Balance.
Rockwood Student Publications Policy
The Rockwood Student Publications Policy pertains to all Rockwood high school media, including broadcast programs, print newspaper/newsmagazines, radio production, social media, video production, websites and yearbook which fall under the direction of a recognized Rockwood student publications staff. The full policy will be published on the school publications websites and referenced in the school yearbook’s colophons and newspaper staff boxes.
Rockwood student publications are the official student-produced media of news and information published/produced by Rockwood students and have been established by both policy and practice as designated public forums for student editors to inform and educate their readers as well as for the discussion of issues of concern to their audience. Publications will not be reviewed or restrained by school officials prior to publication or distribution. Advisers may – and should – coach and discuss content during the production process.
Because school officials do not engage in prior review and the content of all Rockwood student publications is determined by and reflects only the views of the student staff and not school officials or the school itself, its student editors and responsible student staff members assume complete legal and financial liability for the content of the publication.
General Philosophy Statements
I. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
As it is essential to preserve the freedom of the press in order to preserve a free society,
- The student publications will serve the best interest of the students and faculty of the Rockwood School District, keeping itself free from any commercial obligations distracting from this purpose; this is defined by the student publications itself;
- Any decisions affecting the publications on any and all levels will be made by the student editors, the adviser is allowed to give legal advice and his/her opinion, but the final decision rests in the hands of the student editors;
- Only the student editors may prevent material they judge to be in violation of the student publications editorial policy from being printed;
- All student publications will vigorously resist all attempts at censorship and prior review, particularly pre-publication censorship;
- All student publications retain the right to publish any and all material obtained through an interview by a publications staff member, holding that the interviewee was been made aware that they were talking with the student press and that the information could be published in any form at any time;
- All student student publications referenced in this editorial policy are designated public forums;
- Rockwood’s student publications and its staff members 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;
- Rockwood’s student publications will not publish any material determined by student editors 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;
- 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.
- Publications staff members will save all audio files and transcriptions as prescribed by publications procedures because these materials are the foundation of any defense against libel or slander.
II. THE STUDENT EDITORS
- The student editors make all decisions that pertain directly to Rockwood’s student publications.
- 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 editors.
- The duly appointed editor or co-editors shall interpret and enforce this editorial policy.
III. THE ADVISER(S)
- The adviser (s) is a professional teaching staff member and is in charge of the class just as in a conventional classroom situation;
- Is a certified journalism teacher that serves as a professional role model, motivator, catalyst for ideas and professionalism and an educational resource;
- Provides a journalistic professional learning atmosphere for students by allowing them to make the decision of content for the student publications and ensuring the student publications will remain a public forum;
- Guides the media in accordance with approved editorial policy and aids the educational process related to producing material;
- 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; The adviser will not act as a censor or determine the content of the student publications. 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 the student publications that is determined and published by the student staff.
- Will keep abreast of the latest trends on journalism and share these with students;
- Will forward any received correspondence and/or information to the appropriate editors;
- Will provide information to the staff about journalism scholarships and other financial aid and make available information and contacts concerning journalism as a career;
- Will work with the faculty and administration to help them understand the freedoms accorded to the students and the goals of the school publications;
All content decisions will be made in accordance to the following provisions, while keeping in mind that the overall purpose, role and goal of all Rockwood student publications is to:
- Inform, interpret and entertain their readers through accurate and factual reports, where information has been thoroughly gathered verified;
- Be accurate, fair and impartial in its coverage of issues that affect the school community;
- Will not avoid publishing a story solely on the basis of possible dissent or controversy;
- Cover the total school populations as effectively and accurately as possible;
- 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. The Canons of Professional Journalism include a code of ethics: Seek the truth and report it, be accountable and transparent, minimize harm and act independently.
- The student publications will not print unnecessary profanity.
- The student editors will determine whether content is considered profane or is a cultural or non-vulgar slang term.
- The student editors reserve the right to edit quotes for unnecessary profanity or unnecessarily offensive words; quotes that have been edited will be noted accordingly when published.
- Staff interviewers have the right to ask a source when necessary to repeat a quote without the use of profane language.
III. STAFF WRITING
- In general, all content in the student publications other than letters to the editor will be produced by students of the journalism program unless.
- Rockwood students outside of the student publications staffs will have the opportunity to submit material to the student publications.
- Student editors will determine if any content submitted from an non-staff source will be verified and published.
- Any content submitted from an outside source can be edited by the student editors and must comply with this policy.
- Content must be the original work of the student and not previously published on any publication unless otherwise authorized by the EICs.
- All printed editorial subject matter will be determined by the student editors.
- The student publications will endeavor to provide a chance for comment from all sides of a critical issue in the same edition.
- The student editors will determine the content, including all unsigned editorials. The views stated in editorials represent that of a majority of the publication’s staff. Signed columns or reviews represent only the opinion of the author.
REGARDING CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES
- All coverage of controversial issues will occur in a timely manner.
- All sides of the issue will be presented and reviewed so as to refrain from any bias with exception of opinions.
- In news, all sides of a school, community, city, state, national, or international political issue will be presented factually so as to inform rather than promote or endorse.
- The media will not publish material that is unnecessarily obscene, libelous or an unwarranted invasion of privacy.
- The media will not attack people and/or organizations;
- Editors will consider the following questions before publication of the piece:
- Why is it a concern?
- What is its journalistic purpose?
- Is the information accurate and complete?
- Are any important POVs omitted?
- How would we feel if the story was about ourselves or someone we know?
- What are the consequences’ of the publication?
- Is there a logical explanation to anyone who challenges the issue?
- Is it worth risking our credibility?
- What are the alternatives?
- With the exception of staff editorials, all articles, graphics, videos, photos, art, columns, pages, reviews, mugshots and cutouts and other material creatively conceived will be bylined with the producer’s name.
- All bylined writers will be held accountable for their work.
- When more than one person has contributed creatively to a piece of work, any person who has contributed to the work must be bylined as a producer.
- Any current student, staff member, faculty member or building administrator that dies during the year will be recognized in the student publications.
- The death may be reported as a combination news story and standard obituary and may be covered in the most appropriate space according to the timeliness of the publication.
- The portrait of that individual will appear in the yearbook as it would under normal circumstances.
- Any current student, staff member, faculty member or building administrator that dies during the year will be recognized in the yearbook if still within press time. Coverage will include a memorial box with the person’s name and birth/death dates.
- The publications will maintain the dignity of the student or staff member by striving for accurate, fair coverage of the death.
- The student publications 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 student editors reserve the final say in publication of cause of death.
- The student publications will treat all deaths in a tasteful, respectful way.
- An issue, or portion of a publication, should not be dedicated to or in memory of the deceased, but student publications may run stories about scholarships, events etc. in that person’s name.
VIII. ILLUSTRATIONS, PHOTOGRAPHS, VIDEOS, GRAPHICS, ETC.
- All captions will record the necessary information in the photo.
- All photographs must be captioned and bylined, with the exception of mugs and cutouts.
- Any photographs need to be deemed appropriate by the editors.
- Artwork represents the interpretations of the artist not necessarily the student publications staff.
- Electronic manipulations changing the essential truth of the photo or illustration will be clearly labeled as a photo illustration.
- All pictures, video, audio and stories made by student journalists or professionals contracted by the publications staff are the property of the student publications staffs. Portrait photos taken by the contracted portraiture photographer are property of the school district and part of the student’s official record.
- It will be at the editor’s discretion whether to release any or all of the photos/video/audio created during the year.
- In candid photos and other photos, the staff will accommodate a student’s request for preferred name or gender to be used in the publications and identify the student using the name used most commonly at school.
- All student publications staff members will adhere to all copyright laws concerning use of images, music and video.
- Concerns about errors in the student publications may be submitted through the adviser(s) via the district email or through the student editors.
- The student editors will determine whether, in fact, an error has been made.
- Known and or found errors that are brought to the attention of the student publications will be addressed regardless if realized by author, audience or staff member.
- Staff members will strive to correct errors prior to publication; however, if the student editors determine a significant error has been published the student editors will determine the manner and timeliness of a correction.
- The publications will not accept advertising for products that are illegal for minors to purchase and/or use.
- Students not of legal age whose photographs appear in an advertisement created by student publication staff members are required along with their legal guardian to sign a model release form.
- The student publications reserve the right to refuse any ad. All ads need to be approved by the editors. Any ad deemed not appropriate by the board will not run.
- The student publications may choose to publish public service ads at the discretion of the editors.
- The student publications will print political ads which comply with federal, state and local campaign laws.
- All advertising must meet the same guidelines as editorial content.
- Acceptance of ads does not constitute an endorsement by the school, the staff as a whole or its individual members.
- The publications will cease to publish advertising that does not meet payment obligations specified in the publications’ contract.
- If a published advertisement is incorrect as a result of publication staff error, a reduced price or corrected run will be negotiated.
- Web advertisements appear in a specific section of the website determined by the staff and run in a timeframe agreed to through the advertiser/publications contract.
YEARBOOK INDIVIDUAL PORTRAIT POLICY
- All students must have their portraits taken by the approved/contracted school photographers to be in the portrait section(s) of the yearbook. By having portraits taken by only approved photographers, the yearbook staff can be assured of the highest quality reproduction and consistency of all portraits.
- Underclassmen will have their portraits taken at school during registration/orientation.
- Seniors will have individual sittings with the school-approved photographer.
- The section/grade placement of student portraits will be determined by the student’s first semester status according to their official student record.
- Portraits provided by the school photographer will be used for students in grades 9-12 and for school staff members. Because of plant deadlines and the possibility of students missing portrait day, the yearbook staff is not responsible for unavailable portraits of students.
- Requests to remove the official school portrait from the yearbook must be made in writing by the parent/guardian.
- The student editors reserve the right to review or omit questionable or inappropriate portraits. All students photographed must be adhering to dress code policies.
- Portraits will consist of one individual only. No other persons or props are permitted.
- Names in the portrait section will run as it appears on the student’s official school record. If a nickname is listed on that record, it will be used. Changes will be made with parental consent.
XII. GROUP PORTRAIT POLICY
- Any groups with school sponsors are eligible to take a group photo for the yearbook.
- Yearbook will cover school-sponsored, board-approved and established clubs/sports. All other sports or clubs will be reviewed by the student editors.
- The student editors reserve the right to review or omit questionable or inappropriate portraits.
- Portraits will consist of group members and sponsors only. Props are not permitted without prior approval.
- Sources interviewed for publication should be made aware beforehand by a student publications staff member that their name will be published and the interview may be recorded.
- Students involved in a school-sponsored event or public activity may be photographed for publication without explicit permission.
- Reporters should make every effort to conduct interviews in person. The writer of a story should conduct all of his/her own interviews. If another reporter completes some interviews, he/she must be given credit.
- Sources may request to have quotes read back at the time of the interview but will not be able to read the reporter’s completed story.
- Student publications staff members will endeavor to include the name and identity of all sources. If they believe doing so will result in endangerment, harassment or any other form of undue physical, mental, emotional anguish for the source, editors may determine to withhold a source’s name from publication.
- Staff members should use publications social media accounts for crowdsourcing but should not use social media to conduct interviews.
XIV. YEARBOOK SALES
- Any customer who does not wish to keep his/her book may obtain a refund provided the book is returned in the same condition in which it was distributed. Once returned, the book becomes the property of the staff and can be resold at the current price.
- Exchanges can be made for books with minor flaws if no writing has been done in the book. If a book has been written in, then no exchange can be made unless the adviser determine the flaw to be major.
- It will be the responsibility of the buyer to provide proof of purchase if no record can be provided by the staff. A canceled check or receipt will constitute proof of purchase.
- Books not claimed at the end of the first quarter of classes in the fall automatically become the property of the yearbook staff and can be sold at the current price.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR AND ONLINE COMMENTS
- Participation through letters to the editor or comments online by students, faculty and the community is encouraged.
- Letters/comments must be signed but names may be withheld upon request and with the approval of the editor.
- Letters/comments should be limited to 300 words. The staff reserves the right to reject, edit or shorten letters.
- Letters may be submitted in writing to the publications adviser or to any publications staff member or via the adviser or publications email.
- The staff reserves the right to delete the contents of comments that it deems inappropriate.
- No material that falls under the category of unprotected speech will be printed.
- The student publications editor 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 and allow sufficient time for verification of authorship prior to publication.
- Online comments that are found in violation of the editorial policy will be removed as quickly as possible.
- Personal attacks of private individuals are not allowed.
XVI. SOCIAL MEDIA
- Social media will be used to inform, promote the publication, promote published content and engage the community.
- 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.
- The official student publications social media accounts should promotion events fairly and remain objective, reporting what is fact. Student publications staff members may choose to share content from other social media outlets if the content is relevant to their followers.
- Information gained through social media channels should be verified through multiple sources or by confirming a source’s validity before passing it along on a social media account.
- In breaking news situations, extreme caution will be exercised and speculation will never published.
- Engagement of the audience through social media should be done in a professional manner.
- Student publications are only responsible for content that they create and post or share. They are not responsible for advertisements or other linked material.
- Mistakes in coverage or content made on social media posts should be corrected as soon as possible and any deleted posts should be acknowledged and corrected as soon as possible. In the event that a personal post is inadvertently posted from a student publications account, it will be immediately deleted. It will be acknowledged if deemed necessary by the editor.
- The student editor reserves the right to remove comments that violate any provisions hitherto outlined by this policy.