Freedom Area High School's Student Newspaper

FHS Press

Policies

MISSION
The mission of the FHS Press is to give a voice to Freedom Area High School students and to serve the public with relevant, accurate, and engaging news, conveyed professionally in a variety of mediums.

OPEN FORUM STATUS
The FHS Press identifies itself as an open student forum, a publication where students can make their voices heard. This exempts the FHS Press from the prior review (for materials distributed off school property) and/or censorship by the administration.

  • Students inherently have these “freedom of expression” rights as long as they do not “materially and substantially” disrupt the operation of the school or violate the rights of others.
  • All requests from the administration for content to be removed must be submitted formally in writing from the current Principal (in the form of a letter or e-mail from school-issued e-mail address) to the current Editor(s)-in-Chief, as well as the staff advisers. The final decision for removal will be made solely by the Editor(s)-in-Chief, however, they must consult the staff advisers.
  • If a formal request is made, the current Editor(s)-in-Chief will have a face-to-face conversation with the current principal to discuss why it “materially and substantially” disrupts the operation of the school.
  • Slander, libel, and obscenity are not protected speech under any circumstance in the United States.

RIGHTS OF THE STUDENT BODY
As the official publication of the Freedom Area High School student body, the FHS Press assures all students the following rights:

  • All students have the right to respond to content published in the FHS Press and on fhs-press.com. All comments must adhere to policy for letters to the editor.
  • All students have the right to submit articles, commentary, photos/videos, artwork to the FHS Press. Content submitted will be evaluated by FHS Press editors, and published if it meets the FHS Press’s expectations for quality and timeliness. All submissions may be emailed to fhspress@freedomarea.org.
  • All students have the right to propose story ideas to the FHS Press. All proposals should be emailed to the Editor-in-Chief at editor@freedomarea.org.

PRIVACY UPON SUBMISSION

  • When you submit letters, articles, commentary, photos/videos, artwork to the FHS Press, it becomes our property.
  • Hate speech, defined as speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of race,religion, gender, or sexual orientation, is not protected speech. At the Executive Board’s sole discretion, comments containing hate speech may be passed along to school administrators if deemed cruel and malevolent. We believe in healthy, strong criticism of ideas and beliefs, not cruelty.

SOURCES

  • A source is any person or organization that gives information to a reporter.
  • In articles, information and quotes must always be attributed to a source, unless it is common knowledge. (Ex., “WHS cafeteria lunches cost $3.00.” is not information that needs to be attributed. However, the statement “Cafeteria lunches in most American schools cost about $3.00” must be attributed to be considered valid. )
  • Reporters may not use close friends or fellow FHS Press staff members as sources for quotes, unless those people are essential to the story. For example, a reporter covering the Math League may not quote their best friend, Hank the Math League Member, because there are other math team members besides Hank. However, Hank may become Hank the Math League Captain. In that case, he now has a unique viewpoint and authority which may be important to the article, and he can be quoted despite his friendship with the reporter.
  • Sources may not be quoted as “anonymous” unless they would be somehow put at legitimate risk (e.g., threats of violence, persecution by the police or school administration, bullying) by the publication of their real name.
  • The FHS Press will not give up the identity of any source offered the protection of anonymity unless issued a subpoena by a court of law.

OPINION ARTICLES/EDITORIALS
Opinion articles written by staff members represent their personal views. The opinions expressed do not represent the FHS Press as a publication, Freedom Area High School, Freedom Area School District, or the Township of New Sewickley.

USE OF LANGUAGE
When writing straight news pieces, the FHS Press will refrain from using swears, slang terms, and/or slurs. There is no reason for these words to be included in an unbiased, objective news story. When including quotations, however, it is often essential to the story to use the quote verbatim. In opinion pieces and other first person accounts, it may be necessary to the reporters’ voice and message to use slang or other words that would be inappropriate for a straight news piece. In some cases, the first letter of the word will be printed followed by asterisks or dashes. Final decisions regarding the use of language will be made by the Executive Board. These same standards apply to multimedia stories.

ERRORS
Spelling and grammar errors in published content will be corrected in a timely manner. Errors in information will be corrected as soon as possible. For online articles, an update notice will be published below the paragraph containing the error or at the end of the story.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR(S)

  • Letters must be sent to the editor in chief via email: editor@freedomarea.org.
  • All letters are approved by the Editor-in-Chief.
  • Letters should be between 200 and 250 words. If you feel strongly about an issue, the FHS Press recommends submitting a full article on the subject.
  • All letters must be signed. The FHS Press will not publish anonymous letters.
  • Letters containing obscene, suggestive, vulgar, profane (including letters followed by dashes or symbols), threatening, disrespectful, or defamatory language will not be published.
  • Attacks on groups or individuals based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or creed will be rejected.
  • All threats are taken seriously. If the Executive Board and advisers are worried for someone’s safety, the comment and related identifying information will be passed along to relevant authorities and/or the school administration.
  • The FHS Press is open to strong opinions and criticism of its work, but the FHS Press does not publish comments discussing its policies and practices. Please stay on topic.
  • Likewise, we welcome strong opinions and criticism of our reporters’ work. However, personal attacks on reporters will not be published. If you feel strongly that something was reported poorly, or strongly disagree with an opinion, we encourage you to submit a full article on the subject.
  • The views expressed in comments are solely the authors’ and do not reflect the views of the FHS Press, Freedom Area High School, the Freedom Area School District, or the Township of New Sewickley.
  • Once submitted, comments become the property of the FHS Press.

ONLINE COMMENTS

  • The FHS Press values the opinion of its readers and encourages them to discuss its content.
  • Comments containing obscene, suggestive, vulgar, profane (including letters followed by dashes or symbols), threatening, disrespectful, or defamatory language will not be published.
  • Attacks on groups or individuals based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or creed will be rejected.
  • All threats are taken seriously. If the Executive Board and adviser are worried for someone’s safety, the comment and related identifying information will be passed along to relevant authorities and/or the school administration.
  • All commentators writing from the school network are subject to the school’s Acceptable Use Policies. At the discretion of the Executive Board, comments and related identifying information will be passed onto the school administration.
  • All comments are approved by the FHS Press Executive Board. Comments are reviewed as often as possible. This process results in a delay of anywhere from a few hours to a day before a comment is posted.
  • Do not misrepresent yourself by using someone else’s name.
  • The FHS Press encourages its readers to use their real names, but will not publish comments written by people who share their name until it has been verified that the comment was in fact written by that person.
  • The FHS Press is open to strong opinions and criticism of its work, but the FHS Press does not publish comments discussing its policies and practices. Please stay on topic.
  • Likewise, we welcome strong opinions and criticism of our reporters work. However, personal attacks on reporters’ will not be published. If you feel strongly that something was reported poorly, or strongly disagree with an opinion, we encourage you to submit a full article or commentary on the subject.
  • Comments should be under 200 words. If you feel strongly about an issue, the FHS Press recommends submitting a letter to the editor or full article on the subject.
  • The views expressed in comments are solely the authors’ and do not reflect the views of the FHS Press, Freedom Area High School, the Freedom Area School District, or the Township of New Sewickley.
  • Once submitted, comments become the property of the FHS Press.

ADVERTISEMENTS
The FHS Press Executive Board retains full and final discretion over the publishing of all advertisements. They retain the right to reject any and/or all advertising for any reason. To submit ad requests to the FHS Press, please email ads@freedomarea.org. The FHS Press will not publish:

  • Advertisements that are racist, sexist, intentionally false/deceptive, obscene, libelous, or attack groups or individuals based on race, gender, religion, and/or sexual orientation.
  • Advertisements that are deemed otherwise in poor taste for the FHS Press audience as judged by the FHS Press Executive Board.
  • Advertisements that promote products/activities that are illegal for minors (alcoholic beverages, sexually explicit material, cigarettes, and other products illegal for persons under the age of 18). If a business distributes these products/activities, The FHS Press will publish an advertisement for that business as long as the advertisement itself is for a product/activity that is legal for minors.
  • Advertisements that link to websites with content illegal for viewing by minors.

The FHS Press will publish:

  • Advertisements for special interest groups so long as they do not attack groups or individuals based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or creed as determined by the FHS Press Executive Board.
  • Full payment is required before the advertisement is published. The FHS Press will not publish the advertising of any advertiser that does not meet this payment obligation.
  • If errors are made in the advertisement because of student fault, the FHS Press will fix the advertisement and run it for the purchased amount of time at no additional cost or provide a refund at the patron’s request.
  • If errors are made in the advertisement because of patron fault, the FHS Press is not obligated to give a refund or re-run the advertisement.
  • The FHS Press is not obligated to give a refund after a signed contract has been received (unless a student error is made).
  • The FHS Press will do its best to publish advertisements at the time requested by its patrons but will not guarantee specific publishing dates.
  • The advertising period will begin when the advertisement is published.
  • Rates are subject to change.
  • The FHS Press cannot guarantee readership, additional business, or online traffic to our site or to yours.
  • Advertisers who appear on the FHS Press are not necessarily endorsed by the FHS Press staff members, editorial board, advisers, anyone at Freedom Area High School, or anyone affiliated with the Freedom Area School District.
  • Advertisements published in the FHS Press or on fhs-press.com have no bearing or influence on the content produced by the FHS Press.

OBJECTIVITY
It is the goal of the FHS Press to maintain total objectivity in our news reporting. In order to maintain readers’ trust, we believe that it is essential to remain completely objective. We do not seek to sway our readers; readers should, instead, be able to make informed decisions based on accurate and comprehensive reporting. If applicable, reporters should strive to be as detached as possible from either side of a story and not allow their own bias to become entangled. Similarly, student journalists with external involvement in a story should excuse themselves from such a story. Reporters will not accept gifts or favors that could compromise their journalistic integrity.

 


Portions of these policies have been used under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license, courtesy of Wayland Student Press.

Freedom Area High School's Student Newspaper
Policies