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MOHI Media Editorial Policies
These policies apply to all print, online, or broadcast media published by the staff of MOHI Media.
Membership to MOHI Media staff is open to all students attending Monarch High School; however, students must either be enrolled in the Newspaper, Yearbook, or Broadcast Journalism elective courses, and the adviser must agree to the placement of students on the staff.
Students from outside the journalism classes may contribute content, but are not involved directly in production and do not participate in editorial decisions. All work submitted to MOHI Media becomes property of MOHI Media and can only be re-published with permission.
Two levels of editorial boards exist for MOHI Media, one for each specific medium and one overarching board for all of MOHI Media. Each board consists of all student editors in chief leadership positions and the adviser (a non-voting member). Editors of MOHI Media reserve the right to select all content and priority of stories.
For Broadcast, the Executive Producers and Producers have editorial control of their content. For Newspaper and Yearbook, the Editors-in-Chief and Managing Editors have editorial control of their respective publications. When the term “editorial board” is used in the remainder of this document, it refers to the relevant medium. For example, decisions to use anonymous sources in a video segment will be determined by the editorial board for Broadcast, while decision to use anonymous sources in print will be determined by the editorial board for Newspaper.
For matters related to social media and larger matters concerning the program as a whole, the chiefs of Broadcast, Newspaper, and Yearbook will make decisions jointly as an overarching editorial board. If consensus cannot be reached in matters related to social media, the default action will be to either not make an online post and/or to delete the subject matter at hand. The overarching board also oversees and manages the finances of the publication unless a business manager has been named.
For Newspaper, the Board will also select and vote on the content for every staff editorial. These topics will not be signed by the writer, but will reflect the views of the majority of the Newspaper Editorial Board. When possible, the Editorial Board will review staff editorials with the full staff prior to publication. Staff Editorials do not represent the views of BVSD or its employees.
The content of MOHI Media is selected during staff brainstorm sessions and will be covered in a fair, impartial, and accurate manner. The content will be chosen to reflect the activities and concerns of the Monarch community in the current time frame. MOHI Media is not able to cover every school or community event and story but will strive to cover a diverse and newsworthy assortment. The staff will strive to cover issues in a timely journalistic fashion, but will be restrained by the publication schedule. The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics (http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp ) serves as the basis for the publications’ ethical standards.
Reporters will always identify themselves as representatives of MOHI Media when conducting an interview, with the one exception of undercover reporting. The authorities may be contacted prior to an undercover story, and students will not be asked to break the law in pursuit of a story. Undercover reporting will take place only when direct acquisition of accurate information for a story is not possible and must be approved by the Editorial Board in consultation with the adviser.
MOHI Media will publicize events on social media as the Editorial Board finds relevant. MOHI Media will only report on events that the Editorial Board finds newsworthy and retains the right to be selective about what events they choose to publicize. MOHI Media will not publish stories that read as advertisements.
As responsible journalists, reporters will read back quotes for clarification and accuracy when needed. However, sources will not be allowed to read the final text of the story prior to publication. Sources may have follow-up interviews or supplement their initial statements
Under Colorado state statute, (Colorado Rev. Stat. 22-1-120, student exercise of free expression) and BVSD policy IGDB, MOHI Media operates under the Tinker standard and follows BVSD school board policies and submits pieces for prior review only as prescribed in these state and district policies. Otherwise, all content contained in a student publication, whether printed, broadcast, or online, will be determined by the MOHI Media Editorial Board with final approval resting solely in the hands of the student leadership as described above. Per state law and board policy, students shall not submit any publications material in any form to BVSD administration or BVSD school board members for prior approval.
School Board Responsibility
Expression made by students of MOHI Media is not an expression of Boulder Valley School District Board policy and the School District, and its employees are immune from any civil or criminal action based on any expression made or published by students of MOHI Media.
Yearbook Senior Portraits and Senior Tribute Ads
The Colorado Student Free Expression Law states, “Student editors of school sponsored student publications shall be responsible for determining the news, opinion, and advertising content of their publications…” MOHI Media defines senior portraits as news content for reporting the news of which students were in which grade during the school year. Furthermore, MOHI Media defines senior tribute ads, also known as baby ads, as advertising content. The yearbook staff reserves the right to decline senior photo submissions and senior tribute ad submissions in violation of the established guidelines and/or the MOHI Media Editorial Policy. The Yearbook Editorial Board has final approval on all photos selected to appear in the Yearbook, per state law and BVSD district policy.
Senior Portraits must adhere to the following requirements:
All portraits should be vertical rectangles, 2 inches by 3 inches, at 300dpi, saved in JPEG format. All portraits should be head and shoulder shots. Photos not submitted as headshots will be cropped. Portraits featuring any clothing, items, or subjects in violation of school policy or dress code will not be accepted. Portraits with props of any kind, including but not limited to hats, flowers, animals, weapons, etc., will not be accepted.
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., “MHS 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 MOHI Media staff members as sources for quotes, unless those people are essential to the story. For example, a reporter covering the Math Team may not quote their best friend, Hank the Math Team Member, because there are other math team members besides Hank. However, Hank may become Hank the Math Team 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. Reporters must notify their section editor and an Editor in Chief or Executive Producer of the circumstances, and anonymity must be approved by the relevant Editorial Board before publication.
MOHI Media will not give up the identity of any source offered the protection of anonymity unless issued a subpoena by a court of law and will consult the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) or other counsel if necessary to determine compliance.
Commentaries and columns will be signed by and reflect the view of the author alone. They are not the official position of MOHI Media, and are not expressions of Monarch High School or Boulder Valley School District.
Letters to the Editor
Any person interested in the Monarch community and has an opinion to be voiced is encouraged to submit letters to the editor. All letters must be signed and include contact information, but anonymity may be requested. Anonymity will only be granted if deemed necessary by the Editorial Board and each request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Letters to the editor may be submitted to the adviser’s mailbox in the office, delivered to room A208, mailed to Monarch High School, care of MOHI Media, or emailed electronically to the Newspaper Editor-in-Chief and/or adviser. All submissions and signatures will be verified by phone call or interview.
Letters should be fewer than 300 words in length. If excessive editing is needed, the letter will be returned to the author for corrections. The staff will not make grammatical corrections to the letters, but reserves the right to edit for libelous content or space limitations. It is preferred that letters are typed, but handwritten letters will be accepted, if legible.
MOHI Media encourages comments from readers. Please stay on topic and keep it polite. Arguments and debate are welcome; attacks are not. Comments published on MOHImix.com or social media platforms are the opinion of the author and do not represent the views of MOHI Media, BVSD, or its employees. Commenters are responsible for the content of their own posts.
Comments are moderated, meaning an editor reviews them for libel, obscenity, trolling, or other verbal behaviors that detract from the spirit of open discussion of issues. Insults, personal attacks, or attacks on groups based on culture, sexual orientation, religion, etc., will not be published.
Be yourself. Comments made from anonymous, “spam,” or “fake” accounts will be deleted. We encourage you to post using your name and will confirm identity prior to publishing comments. Respect the privacy of others.
Please keep comments under 300 words. Longer commentary may be submitted as a guest column or as a letter to the editor at the discretion of the Editorial Board.
Writers submitting from within the BVSD network must follow BVSD acceptable use for technology policies. The Editorial Board will have the discretion to notify BVSD administrators of violations of acceptable use policies.
All threats are taken seriously. If the Editorial 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.
Once submitted, comments become the property of MOHI Media.
Correction of Errors
In the event of an error, the Editorial Board will attempt to mitigate the damage. Every reasonable precaution is made to avoid errors, but some amount of error is inevitable. Each case will be reviewed on its own merit.
Photo and Graphic Use
Staff members will produce all photos and graphics unless the staff has received consent from outside sources or the Editorial Board has approved an image under the “fair use” provision of copyright law. Photos and graphics contributed by outside sources will be identified as “Photo Courtesy of ______________” or “Graphic Courtesy of _________________.”
At times, photographs will be manipulated to add artistic value to enhance a story. However, no photo will be manipulated to change the original message of the photograph. Whenever a photograph has been altered, the photo will be labeled as “Photo Illustration.”
Coverage Of Deaths
Except in the case of suicide, any current student, staff member, faculty member, or building administrator who dies during the year may be recognized in the school newspaper or in a broadcast. Deaths of Monarch alumni will not be recognized unless the person was a public figure in the Monarch community or when the death is deemed relevant news by the overarching editorial board. The school newspaper will publish factual information (date of birth, date of death, survivors, organizations, hobbies and interests) in a 300-word obituary and include one mug shot if possible. Suicides will not be covered unless extreme circumstances arise as determined by the overarching editorial board.
Newspaper and Broadcast will first obtain permission from the deceased’s family before publishing any information regarding the cause of death. Both media and broadcast will treat all deaths in a tasteful and respectful manner. Neither a print issue nor a broadcast should not be dedicated to or in memory of the deceased.
MOHI Media will only post on social media about deaths when the death relates to a public figure in the school community or when a death is deemed relevant news by the overarching editorial board. All posts will be made in a factual manner with respects to be taken to the surviving family members. All information posted must be verified by first-hand sources.
The yearbook will not publish memorial pages dedicated to any deaths unless extreme circumstances arise as determined by the editorial board.
MOHI Media operates under the Associated Press style rules, and a staff-generated design style guide.
Role of the Advisor
A “publications advisor” shall be assigned to supervise the production of school-sponsored publications and to teach and encourage free and responsible expression and professional standards of English and journalism.
In his or her supervision of the production of school-sponsored student publications, the publications advisor is responsible for reviewing all materials prior to publication. It is the responsibility of the publications advisor to determine that all expressions for publication are in accordance with this policy and state law. In the event that any materials shall be brought into question, the materials shall be promptly presented to the principal of the school involved for his or her resolution.
MOHI Media is a self-produced organization in all aspects, including funding. The program may receive some funds from the district, but it covers all excess costs through grants, donations, subscriptions and through advertising by local businesses and families. The funds earned from the ad sales belong to the program and will be used accordingly to advance the learning, abilities, and opportunities of the staff and to enhance the quality of print, broadcast, and online publications.
MOHI Media reserves the right to refuse advertising not found to be within the publication’s standards, particularly in reference to good taste and to products and/or services that are illegal for the majority of high school readers.
A signed advertising contract and payment are required prior to publication
If errors are made in the advertisement because of student staff member fault, MOHI Media 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, MOHI Media is not obligated to give a refund or re-run the advertisement.
MOHI Media is not obligated to give a refund after a signed contract has been received (unless a student error is made).
Advertisers who appear in print, in broadcast, or on social media are not necessarily endorsed by MOHI Media’s staff members, editorial board, advisers, Monarch School, or anyone affiliated with BVSD.
Advertisements published by MOHI Media have no bearing or influence on the content produced by MOHI Media.
The print newspaper will be distributed to classes during the time in which the staff meets with the least amount of disturbance to the school atmosphere possible. Parents, students, and community members may purchase subscriptions for home delivery.
Broadcasts will be uploaded to YouTube or a similar video sharing platform for dissemination to the public. School administrators will encourage teachers to air the broadcast for their classes at a time deemed appropriate by school officials. Final broadcasts may be uploaded to social media platforms, as well, which are outside the boundaries of control by school officials as established in our censorship policies.
Portions of MOHI Media Editorial Policy were developed and altered from the Grand Junction High School Orange & Black Editorial Policy, the Eagles Quill at Eagles Crest High School , and Wayland Student Press (http://waylandstudentpress.com/policies/).