Lamplighter Media Productions

PLD Lamplighter Policies

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

Advertising policy

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

Anonymous source policy

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 & photo credit policy

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 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 policy

Every effort should be taken to complete publications business in a manner that is not disruptive to another classroom. If a class must be interrupted, the staff member should introduce himself or herself to the teacher, mention why you are there, and ask permission to conduct your business. As a general rule, there are several classes we always try to avoid interrupting. In addition, we attempt to make interruptions only toward the end of a class period. The best bet is to always plan ahead and take care of business during a passing period, lunch or before or after school.

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.

Conduct policy

It is expected that when you are conducting publication business you act professionally and courteously. You are not only representing yourself, but the staff, adviser, and school. You should always do your best to leave a positive impression.

Content-decision policy

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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 interviewing, and e-mail interviews are discouraged and should only be done at 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.

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. Editors reserve the right to edit letters for length and grammar. 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.

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.

Obituary policy

In the occurrence of the death of a faculty member or student, Lamplighter will print 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.

Opinion policy

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 policy

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

Plagiarism & lying 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 do not have the right to approve a story in which they appear.

Press pass policy

Having a press pass is a privilege. Students who abuse their press pass will be (a) required to surrender their pass and/or (b) be removed from staff. Staff members are only allowed admission free of charge to a school event IF they are covering that event for our publications.

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.

Outside class/school behavior policy

It is important that staff members understand that conduct outside of school or in other classes will reflect on the program. It is strongly encouraged that staff always behave appropriately and are mindful of how they conduct themselves in public and on social media.

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. Students sign Media Opt-Out forms at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, and we will adhere to this list in school photos; however, any student can be photographed at public events outside of the school day whether they are held on or off campus.