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JEA Adviser Code of Ethics

Posted by on Nov 17, 2015 in Blog, Ethical Issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

To download JEA’s Adviser Code of Ethics, click here.

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JEA updates its Adviser Code of Ethics

Posted by on Nov 15, 2015 in Blog, Ethical Issues, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

sprclogoAt its board of directors meeting in Orlando Nov. 11, JEA updated its Adviser Code of Ethics by adding several new statements and updating several others.

Changes are noted in bold, below:
• Model standards of professional journalistic conduct. to students, administrators and others.
• Empower students to make decisions of style, structure and content by creating a learning atmosphere where students will actively practice critical thinking and decision-making.
• Encourage students to seek divergent points of view and to explore a variety of information sources in their decision-making.
• Support and defend a free, robust and active forum for student expression without prior review or restraint.
• Emphasize the importance of accuracy, balance and clarity in all aspects of news gathering and reporting.
• Show trust in students as they carry out their responsibilities by encouraging and supporting them in a caring, learning environment.
• Remain informed on press rights and responsibilities across media platforms.
• Advise and mentor, rather than act as censor or decision-maker.
• Display professional and personal integrity in situations that might be construed as potential conflicts of interest.
• Support free expression for others in local and larger communities.
Model traits of a life-long learner through continuous professional development in media education along with membership and involvement in professional media organizations.
• Foster cooperation and open communication with administrators and other stakeholders while students exercise their First Amendment rights.
• Encourage journalistically responsible use of social media in schools and educate students, school officials and community to its value. Educate students about the ramifications of its misuse.
• Champion inclusion so that ALL students not only see themselves and their ideas represented, but also see themselves as able to contribute to and to lead student-determined media.

 

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Law-ethics manual

Posted by on Oct 24, 2018 in | Comments Off on Law-ethics manual

Mission, editorial policy, ethical guidelines and public forum
strengthen the classic media staff manual

Four concepts drive the creation of journalistic approaches: mission statement, editorial policy, ethical guidelines and staff manual process. Together, the four comprise a package of complementary principles we call the Foundation of Journalism, often known as a staff manual. Through our discussions, lessons and models, we hope to demonstrate the rationale for adding comprehensive strength into staff manuals.

These principles represent the key pillars of standards-based journalism and are the products of perhaps the most important journalistic decisions the student staff can make. Together, the concepts enhance the strengthen the process and product, the decision-making and critical thinking that can characterize student media.

This first section provides information and resources on how and why the four parts of  the manual, and is below. All five pieces, introduction, mission, editorial policy, ethical guidelines and staff manual, are designed to interact and show and why each develop and apply to your school’s student media.

Here’s where you find each section of the law-ethics manual (mouse over each headline go to resources):

• Introducing a staff manual package to build journalistic responsibility

The SPRC’s manual package contains information and resources that create a framework for a school’s journalism publication and learning program – Mission Statements, Editorial Policy, Ethical Guidelines and Staff Manual process. It also includes resources on forums for student expression.

• Mission sets the path for content, decisions

A mission statement is a concise, philosophical statement of purpose and goals for student media. It establishes the ethical and practical concepts by which the student media should be expected to operate and why students do what they do.

We strongly believe mission statements should be more than “to entertain and educate” as those points do not stress guiding the whys and whats of a mission.

• Editorial policy sets forum status, decision-making standard and more

Designed to provide legal framework for student media, editorial policies come in two forms, school-board level and media-level. In case of conflicts, a school-board policy usually will take precedence. Absent a policy, practice can help determine freedom of expression status. Typical content of an editorial policy can include:

  • Level of freedom of expression
  • Responsibility for student media content
  • Forum status
  • Prior review and restraint
  • References to guiding legal decisions and theories
  • Language about journalistic responsibility, civic engagement and future of democracy

• Choosing the right forum can be a make-or-break decision

Forums come in three types – closed, limited and public/open – and how they are interpreted can make the difference between being censored, reviewed and restrained or being a place of learning citizenship and free expression

• Ethical guidelines suggest best practices for your student media

Ethical guidelines in journalism help guide students to make good decisions and the think critically. Because there is no right or wrong, students become ethically fit by making decisions without review, by examining possible decisions and projecting effects of their decisions. Being ethically fit also means preparing ethical decision making that relies more on “green light” rather than ”red light” process and guidelines.

• Procedures outline mission, policy, ethics to build a forum to cement the package

A good staff manual provides pathways to help students to carry out their roles as journalists. Our model shares four suggested pathways for student media to study and adapt.

Mission statement, editorial policy, ethical guidelines and staff manual  complement each other in a way to show student participants and community members what they can expect.

Legal and ethical cores for staff manuals offer specific examples of points above

by Lori Keekley, MJE
Now advisers and advisers have legal and ethical background, remember, adapt these guidelines and samples to fit your locality and needs, and:

  • Give credit for ideas you adapt

  • Don’t just copy someone else’s policy, ethical guidelines or statements. Think about what the models say, what they mean to you and your communities

  • Clearly separate policy from ethical guidelines and procedures that carry out this process of building a foundation

  • Words can mean different ideas to different people. To King George III of England the colonials were terrorists; to Americans, the British army were oppressors and Washington was a hero. Clarify your mission, policy, ethical guidelines and procedures so they have common and precise meanings

  • Ask us questions about using the manual concept for all your media. Integrated, the mission, policy, ethical guidelines and procedures form the foundation of responsible journalism.

Sample mission statement:

_____________ (school name) student media provide complete and accurate coverage, journalistically responsible, ethically gathered, edited and reported. Student-determined expression promotes democratic citizenship through public engagement diverse in both ideas and representation.

Sample board policy statement (others are at link as well):

[NAME OF SCHOOL] student media are designated public forums in which students make all decisions of content without prior review by school officials.

Sample editorial policy:

 “[NAME OF STUDENT MEDIA] are designated public forums for student expression in which students make all final content decisions without prior review from school officials.”

Role of student media:

The NAME OF PUBLICATION/PRODUCTION has been established as a designated public forum for student editors to empower, educate and advocate for their readers as well as for the discussion of issues of concern to their audience. It will not be reviewed or restrained by school officials prior to publication or distribution. Advisers may – and should – coach and discuss content during the writing process.

Because school officials do not engage in prior review, and the content  of the NAME OF PUBLICATION/PRODUCTION is determined by and reflects only the views of the student staff and not school officials or the school itself, its student editorial board and responsible student staff members assume complete legal and financial liability for the content of the publication.

Electronic media (including online, broadcast and podcast media) produced by NAME OF PUBLICATION/PRODUCTION students are entitled to the same protections – and subjected to the same freedoms and responsibilities – as media produced for print publication. As such they will not be subject to prior review or restraint. Student journalists use print and electronic media to report news and information, to communicate with other students and individuals, to ask questions of and consult with experts and to gather material to meet their newsgathering and research needs.

NAME OF PUBLICATION/PRODUCTION and its staff 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.

NAME OF PUBLICATIONPRODUCTION will not publish any material determined by student editors or the student editorial board 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.

The staff of the NAME OF PUBLICATION/PRODUCTION will strive to report all content 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 concerning accuracy, responsibility, integrity, conflict of interest, impartiality, fair play, freedom of the press, independence, sensationalism, personal privacy, obstruction of justice, credibility and advertising.

The editorial board, which consists of the staff’s student editors, OR HOWEVER THE DECISION IS MADE will determine the content, including all unsigned editorials. The views stated in editorials represent that of a majority of the editorial board. Signed columns or reviews represent only the opinion of the author. NAME OF PUBLICATIONPRODUCTION may accept letters to the editor, guest columns and news releases from students, faculty, administrators, community residents and the general public.

Content decisions:

Final content decisions and journalistic responsibility shall remain with the student editorial board. NAME OF PUBLICATION/PRODUCTION will not avoid publishing a story solely on the basis of possible dissent or controversy.

Role of the adviser:

The adviser will not act as a censor or determine the content of the paper. 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 student media that is determined and published by the student staff. 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.

Ethical guidelines

Letters to the editor (if accepted by staff):

We ask that letters to the editor, guest columns or other submissions be 300 words or less and contain the author’s name, address and signature. All submissions will be verified.

The NAME OF PUBLICATION/PRODUCTION editorial board reserves the right to withhold a letter or column or other submission and 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, allowing sufficient time for verification of authorship prior to publication.

Corrections:

Staff members will strive to correct errors prior to publication; however, if the editorial board determines a significant error is printed, the editorial board will determine the manner and timeliness of a correction.

Advertising:

The NAME OF PUBLICATION/PRODUCTION editorial board reserves the right to accept or reject any ad in accordance with its advertising policy. Electronic manipulations changing the essential truth of the photo or illustration will be clearly labeled if used. The duly appointed editor or co-editors shall interpret and enforce this editorial policy.

Ownership of student work:

Absent a written agreement indicating otherwise, student journalists own the copyright to the works they create. Each media outlet should ensure it has clear policies in place for staff members and the publication that spell out ownership and the right of the publication to use student work.

Controversial coverage:

Final content decisions and responsibility shall remain with the student editorial board. NAME OF PUBLICATION/PRODUCTION will not avoid publishing a story solely on the basis of possible dissent or controversy.

Prior Review:

Sources do not have the right to review materials prior to publication. Allowing sources to preview content at any stage of production raises serious ethical and journalistic practice questions. Reporters, following media guidelines or editor directions, may read back quotes that are either difficult to understand, unclear or may need further explanation.

Take down demands:

SCHOOL NAME student media is a digital news source, but it is still part of the historical record. STUDENT NEWS MEDIA NAME’S primary purpose is to publish the truth, as best we can determine it, and be an accurate record of events and issues from students’ perspectives. Writers and editors use the 11 “Put Up” steps before publication to ensure the validity, newsworthiness and ethics of each article. For these reasons, the editorial board will not take down or edit past articles except in extraordinary circumstances.

If someone requests a takedown, the board may consider the following resource for questions and actions.

Regardless of the outcome, the Editor-in-Chief will respond in writing to the request explaining the board’s action(s) and rationale for the final decision.

Unnamed sources:

Journalism is based on truth and accuracy. Using unnamed sources risks both of those standards. For that reason, students should seek sources willing to speak on the record. Unnamed sources should be used sparingly and only after students evaluate how the need for the information balances with the problems such sources create.

Occasionally, a source’s physical or mental health may be jeopardized by information on the record. In this instance, journalists should take every precaution to minimize harm to the source.

Obituaries:

In the event of the death of a student or staff member, a standard, obituary-type recognition will commemorate the deceased in the newspaper and online news site. A maximum one-fourth page feature, or similar length for each obituary, should be written by a student media staff member and placed on the website within 24 hours and in the newspaper at the bottom of page one.

For the yearbook, if the fatality happens prior to final deadline, the staff might include feature content as the editors deem appropriate. For those unofficially affiliated with the district, the editor(s)-in-chief should determine appropriate coverage, but should not include an official obituary.

For more information

Resources on other items you might want to include:

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What are ethics?

Posted by on Aug 18, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Law and Ethics | 0 comments

Laws indicate what journalists must do, while ethics indicate what they should do.

Rooted in ethics, responsible and free journalism adheres to applicable laws and operates using professional standards to enhance student media’s reach and impact. Journalism, truly the cornerstone of democracy, starts at the scholastic media level, where students learn the legal and ethical implications of free media that make the United States unique among nations.

 

Guideline for staff manual

Student media should avoid mixing ethics guidelines with staff manual processes. While processes or procedures can include the verbs “will” and “must,” guidelines should be framed with “should” and “could.”

 

Why does our staff need ethics guidelines?

Journalism ethics at center stage, Principal’s Guide to Scholastic Journalism:

Student journalists make ethical decisions daily, whether in advertising, design, information gathering or reporting. Ethical decision-making is essential and ongoing. Keep in mind that ethics are only guidelines. They do not represent standards for punishment or discipline.

Media view very few topics as “taboo.” High school student media should be prepared for worst-case scenarios. Imagine the potential for growth and responsibility when students have journalistic conversations with informed, sincere and open-minded adults before the “taboo” happens.

Differences between law and ethics, Principal’s Guide to Scholastic Journalism:

A working knowledge of ethics can be helpful in reporting sensitive or controversial issues. A staff working its way through a list of questions to make ethical decisions solves problems before they occur. In the process, students generate valuable comments, discussions and considerations.

 

Student best practice

Develop an editorial policy outlining the legal and ethical responsibilities for student journalists. These resources provide context and/or offer potential models for policy development:

Foundations of Journalism: policies, ethics and staff manuals

SPRC model for ethical guidelines, process

JEA Adviser Code of Ethics

NSPA Model Code of Ethics

SPLC Model Guidelines for High School Student Media
SPJ Code of Ethics

Online ethical guidelines for student media

Yearbook ethics guidelines

Visual ethics

 

More SPRC materials:

Quick Tips: What should go into an editorial policy? What should not?

Editorial policies are the foundations for your journalism program. Often short, these statements address forum status, who makes final decisions of content and prior review.

Student media policy may be the most important decision you make

Students should understand while they can and should adopt best legal practices and ethical guidelines for their publication, the school district’s or school board’s media policy (if one exists) could impact the legal and ethical decisions of student editors.

Press Rights Minute: Ethics in Editing News Photos

Using Photoshop or other software to edit a news photo is unethical because it alters the truth.

 

Article: Obstacles and criticism can inspire, by Lindsay Coppens

Good, hard-hitting journalism can make people uncomfortable. It illuminates hardship, gives voice to the voiceless, questions the status quo, and encourages people to find solutions to problems. It can be challenging to secure important interviews for stories that pursue challenging topics. Those who agree to an interview may not want to answer all your questions. Editorials that question and challenge policy, procedures, and those in power may be accused of having a political agenda. However, if you adhere to strong journalistic procedure and ethics, these obstacles and criticisms can, in fact, help your journalism become even stronger.

 

Article: In plain view from public places

Photojournalists and free speech: What can and cannot be photographed continues to fall under question, bringing attention to photojournalists and igniting important First Amendment conversations. As part of other Free Speech Week lessons and activities, teachers may use this opportunity to incorporate key readings and discussion geared toward visual storytellers.

 

Article: A class activity to learn both law and ethics, by Candace Bowen

Not knowing the difference between law and ethics makes it difficult to teach these two concepts effectively. They are separate fields, though they do overlap in theory and practice, and plenty of journalistic situations require us to assess both legal and ethical components.

 

Article: Satire: easy to confuse when used out of context, by Tom Gayda

Is satire worth it? Maybe sometimes, but remember: most newspapers don’t include satire, so it is easy for a reader to get confused when what is a typical straightforward paper decides to enter the world of comedy. Perhaps a special publication for satire would be a better way to go.

 

Article: Lessons in transparency, by George, by Stan Zoller

Student journalists need to not only understand, but practice transparency. It’s not unusual for student journalists to want to take an ‘easy way out’ on a story and maybe use sources or materials that give them path of least resistance. Interviewing friends or colleagues in a club, sport or organization are not unheard of. Policy and procedure manuals should include a statement regarding transparency and any conflict of interest.

Resources: Fake or Fact? Seminar available via archived video

The 13th annual Poynter-Kent State University Media Ethics Workshop focused on fake news. Show your students panel discussions by accessing the archives. A lesson plan for scholastic students, created by Candace Bowen, also is available.

 

Want to know even more? See these links:

JEA statements on prior review (and definition of), photo manipulation, student free expression and more

Principal’s Guide to Scholastic Journalism

Newseum case studies

Ethics resources from The Poynter Institute

The Elements of Journalism, American Press Institute

 

JEA curriculum links:

Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Always Mean You Should

Another Way to Examine Ethics: Red Light, Green Light

Making TUFF Decisions

When Journalists Must Navigate Ethical Situations

Exploring the Issues with Anonymous Sources

With Freedom of the Press Comes Great Responsibility

Protest Songs and the First Amendment

The Importance of Dissenting Voices

When Journalists Err Ethically

Ethical Guidelines and Procedure Statements: Creating the Foundation

 

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The role of the adviser is multifold,
but ethically, practically not a doer QT20

Posted by on Sep 3, 2017 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Legal issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

The role of the adviser in student-run media incorporates teacher, coach, counselor, listener and devil’s advocate but not doer. We like the JEA Adviser Code of Ethics as guides for advisers.

That role means letting students make all decisions including content, context and grammar.

One way advisers can help this process is by having a staff manual inclusive of the student media mission statement, policies, guidelines and procedures. The mission statement outlines the overall aim of the student media. Policies are either the board-level or media-level and state the functionality of the student press. Guidelines are the ethical components the student media will work with. The procedures and resources for students to learn how to do something

 

Guidelines

As per the board-level or media-level policy, students should be empowered to make all content decisions for student media.

Key points/action

If the term “student media” is to have meaning, then the role of the adviser should be just what it says: advise.

The role of the adviser in student-run media incorporates teacher, coach, counselor, listener and devil’s advocate but not doer.

That role means letting students make all decisions including content, context and grammar.

Stance

Students learn best when they are empowered to make their own decisions with support from the adviser on the sideline. A clear understanding of the adviser’s role helps students take ownership of their work and the program overall.

Reasoning/suggestions:
To help teachers and advisers understand this role more completely, we recommend the JEA Adviser Code of Ethics as a starting point. We also recommend inclusion of a statement on the role of the adviser by noting the adviser code and a statement that students make all decisions of content. Advisers should advise and ask questions to help the students examine the issue from multiple perspectives and concerns.

One way advisers can help this process is by having a staff manual inclusive of the student media mission statement, policies, guidelines and procedures. The mission statement outlines the overall aim of the student media. Policies are either the board-level or media-level and state the functionality of the student press. Guidelines are the ethical components the student media will work with. The procedures and resources for students to learn how to do something.

If students know (or can look at what to do) what By already establishing these prior to a problem happening, it’s easier to see what to do when something does happen. (And, it will.) These policies, guidelines and procedures should function as a reference and be complete (preferably) prior to the problem happening. This helps the students (and adviser) work through issues if they do happen.
ResourcesAdviser responsibility

Related: These points and other decisions about mission statement, forum status and editorial policy should be part of a Foundations Package  that protects journalistically responsible student expression.

Teaching grit for citizenship — why we must empower, not shield students (related SPRC blog).

 

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