Illuminating the News for the Students by the Students

Lamplighter Policies

The Lamplighter student media productions has set guidelines and principles in ethics, writing, and business. Below are the policies the Lamplighter staff abides by.

Advertising

The editor-in-chief, with guidance from the business manager and adviser, shall determine if any advertisement is not acceptable. Ads for non-school appropriate products or services will be rejected.

Anonymous Source

At the discretion of the editor-in-chief, anonymous sources may be used. When anonymous sources are used, only the reporter and editor-in-chief should know the identity of the source. Of course, it is preferred to use sources who will go on the record, however the publications department understands there are instances when the use of an anonymous source is appropriate.

Byline and Photo Credit

All stories written by an individual will receive a byline with the exception of an editorial. Any photos that appear in the publication will receive a photo credit. Photographers are expected to write their own captions. If more than two people contributed to a story the byline will read Staff Report.

Class Interruptions

Every effort should be taken to complete publications business in a manner which is not disruptive to another classroom. If a class must be interrupted, staff members should introduce themselves and ask permission to conduct your business. As a general rule there are several classes we always try to avoid interrupting. We attempt to make interruptions only toward the end of a class period.

Coverage

Student press has the right to cover all school functions. Staff reporters identify themselves with their press pass for event coverages for free entry, at no unreasonable cost to the event host or attendees, to all school-sponsored functions.

Conflict of Interest

There are several occasions when, as a student journalist, a conflict of interest might arise. For starters, a reporter should never quote him or herself, nor use his or her friends as sources. This is unprofessional. Reporters should also avoid writing stories about activities they participate in.

Content-decision

Content of student publications is determined by student editors. The adviser does not determine content. Student publications do not engage in prior review before publication. Lamplighter is a designated public student forum.

Contributing Writer/Content

The use of guest writers or content is at the discretion of the editor-in-chief. All work is staff-produced, but editors have the right to decide how much, if any, of the contributed content will be incorporated.

Controversial Topics

Student publications may from time-to-time cover controversial topics. Student journalists should be responsible when covering such topics. While not under prior review, student editors may decide to give the principal a “head’s up” on the controversial topic before the paper is distributed.

Corrections

Corrections will be made when mistakes are brought to the attention of the writers and editorial staff. Readers can submit corrections online, and all corrections will be listed under the "About Us" tab. The correction will also be made known on the respective article/story.

Crime

If a student or faculty member commits a criminal act, or is alleged to have committed a criminal act, it is considered newsworthy and will be reported on appropriately.

Editorials

Editorials (which reflect the viewpoint of the majority of the editors) may be written from time to time. Final decisions regarding the editorial will be made by the editor-in-chief, though the actual editorial can be written by anyone.

Faculty and Staff Name

In accordance with AP Style, faculty and staff will be referred to by full name on first reference and by last name on future references. Courtesy titles (Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., etc.) are always used.

Interviewing

Every attempt should be made to conduct in-person at a neutral/comfortable location. Should an in-person interview not be possible, phone is appropriate. Texting is not considered acceptable interviewing. Emailing is discouraged and should only be done with Editor approval. Email interviews should be documented in story. It is legal to record a conversation as long as one person involved is aware.

Inclusivity

We report on all groups, organizations, individuals and events regardless of race, gender, religious affiliation, sexual identity or orientation, or political views.

Letters to the Editor/Comments

Readers are encouraged to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of the publication. Letters and comments will be pre-moderated, and may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Posting under a pseudonym is not permitted. Editors reserve the right to edit for length and grammar.

No Harm

It is possible that in the act of reporting a story, a reporter will come upon on a troubled source who may need outside help. In addition to being a reporter, you are a human being. Adhering to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics edict to “do no harm,” a reporter should notify an adult if they believe a source is going to injure themselves or others.

Obituary

In the occurrence of the death of a faculty member or student The Lamplighter will print a recent photo of the deceased with his or her name, a list of survivors, school activities and possibly, an article. All obituaries will be handled in the same, fair manner.

Opinion

Unlike editorials, the views of staff columnists are not necessarily those of the rest of the staff. The publication strives to present a variety of diverse views.

Photo Manipulation

Electronic manipulations changing the essential truth of a photo or illustration will be clearly labeled as a “photo illustration.”

Plagiarism and Lying

Plagiarism and/or the use of writer-created quotes or information in any form will result in the immediate dismissal from the class. We do not tolerate or condone plagiarism, misquoting or misinformation of any kind.

Pre-Publication

Content will not be shared with non-staff members before publication unless the reporter and/or editor determine the need to confirm information for clarification. Writers have the right to choose quotes from an interview based on what they deem is most relevant to the story. Interviewed subjects do not have the right to approve a story they appear in if they have signed the media release form.

Press Pass

Having a press pass is a privilege, and they should be used responsibly at all times. Press passes need to be out and visible when outside. They can get you into events that you are covering. You are only allowed free of charge to a school event IF covering that event for our publications. Abusing this privilege will result in surrendering the pass and/or being removed from staff.

Profanity

Profanity may appear in a publication, but only in cases of direct quotes or if the profanity is necessary to the content of the story. In questionable cases, the editor-in-chief will determine whether the use of profanity is vital to the story.

Use of Minors’ Names

There is no law regarding the use of the name of a minor involved with a criminal activity in the media. The editor-in-chief will determine if and when any names should be printed or withheld. Students sign Media Opt-Out forms which we will adhere to in terms of using in-school photos; however, any students can be photographed at public events like games.