Illuminating the News for the Students by the Students

Lamplighter Media Productions

Illuminating the News for the Students by the Students

Lamplighter Media Productions

Illuminating the News for the Students by the Students

Lamplighter Media Productions

PLD Lamplighter Policies

Lamplighter Student Media Productions abide by set guidelines and principles in ethics, writing, and business.

Advertising policy

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

Byline & photo credit policy

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

Conflict of interest policy

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 unless their role is one that only they can speak

Conduct and behavior policy

It is expected that when reporters are conducting publication business they act professionally and courteously. Students who break the behavior contract could be removed from editorial or leadership positions.

Content-decision policy

We are a public forum in both policy and practice. The content of PLD Lamplighter is determined solely by student editors. The adviser does not determine the content, and the student publications of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School do not engage in prior review before publication.

Contributing writer policy

The use of guest writers is at the discretion of the Editors-in-Chief.

Controversial topics policy

Student publications may from time to time cover controversial topics. Student journalists will be ethical, and responsible when covering such topics. As a public forum in both policy and practice, PLD Lamplighter is not held to prior review or restraint.

Crime policy

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 and fairly. Incidents under investigation will be reported as such. Information will be accessed under the FOIA and Open Records laws to ensure factual representation.

Do No Harm policy

It is possible that in the act of reporting a story, a reporter will come upon a troubling 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.

Editorial policy

Editorials (which reflect the viewpoint of the majority of the editors) will be written from time to time. Final decisions regarding the editorial will be made by the Editors-in-Chief, though the actual editorial can be written by anyone. The opinion of the Editorial Board does not constitute the opinion of the faculty or staff at PLD.

Faculty & staff courtesy title policy

PLD Lamplighter refers to faculty and staff by full name on the first reference and by the last name on future references. In our publication, courtesy titles (Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., etc.) are used in each reference. We acknowledge that this is not AP style, but it is a courtesy we have decided to use in our publication.

Interviewing policy

Every attempt should be made to conduct in-person at a neutral location or location comfortable for the interview subject. Should an in-person interview not be possible, a phone interview is an appropriate backup solution. Texting is not considered acceptable for interviewing, and e-mail interviews are discouraged and should only be done with the approval of the editors-in-chief. If an interview is done via e-mail, it should be documented as such in the article. In Kentucky, it is legal to record a conversation as long as one person involved knows the recording is taking place; however, it is our policy to announce when we plan to record an interview. It is not our policy to give interview subjects a list of questions ahead of time or to allow subjects to read an article prior to publication.

Letter to the editor/comments policy

Letters to the editor and comments are welcomed and encouraged, but will only be published if they are signed and do not contain libelous statements. E-mails, posts, and calls will be shared with staff members. Exceptions to this are unsigned letters or comments intended to cause harm which we will not publish.

Obituary policy

In the occurrence of the death of a faculty member or student, PLD Lamplighter will report a recent photo of the deceased with a name, a list of survivors, school activities, and in some cases, an accompanying article. All obituaries will be handled in a fair and respectful manner. In the case of suicide, reporters will not disclose details, but will use the Associated Press-approved wording “took his/her/their own life” or “died by suicide.”

Opinion policy

Unlike staff 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 Policy

Some students may sign Media Opt-Out forms at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School; however, any student can be photographed at public events outside of the school day whether they are held on or off campus, and we cannot guarantee that students who signed opt-out forms will not appear in group shots.

Photo manipulation policy

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

Plagiarism policy

Plagiarism and/or the use of writer-created quotes or information in any form will result in immediate dismissal from the class. We do not tolerate or condone plagiarism, misquoting, or misinformation of any kind. If an article is found to have been plagiarized, it will be removed from our site.

Pre-publication policy

Stories, interviews, or photographs will not be shared with non-staff members before publication unless the reporter and/or editor-in-chief determine the need to confirm information for clarification. Interviewed subjects who were informed that their conversations were “on the record” at the time of the interview do not have the right to approve a story in which they appear.

Profanity policy

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

Staff conflict policy

Staff will always try to remain calm and respectful and deal with issues before they become large-scale problems. Should a conflict arise, the Editors-in-Chief will devise a resolution plan. Should further assistance be needed, the adviser will determine the appropriate course of action to end any conflicts.

Take Down policy

It is not our policy to take down stories that have been published under any circumstances.

Trigger Warning policy

Although it is not our policy to print a “trigger warning” at the top of any article, in cases of mental illness, self-harm, abuse, or suicide, an end note informing the public about public and school resources should be included in the body of the article.

Unnamed source policy

At the discretion of the editors-in-chief, unnamed sources may be used. When unnamed sources are used, only the reporter should know the identity of the source. It is preferred to use sources who will go on the record, however, the editors-in-chief understand that there are instances when the use of an unnamed source is appropriate for protection. Unnamed sources will be held in confidence unless the source says that they are planning to harm themselves or others.

Use of Minors’ Names policy

There is no law regarding the use of the name of a minor involved with criminal activity in the media. The editors-in-chief will determine if and when any names should be printed or withheld.




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