The East Vision

Policies

The Vision seeks to…

INFORM, EDUCATE, ENTERTAIN…

  • The Vision will explain the meaning and the significance of news
  • The Vision will go beyond reporting on a fact most readers already know
  • The Vision will find the hidden personalities in our school
  • The Vision will address potential problems for our community
  • The Vision will provide leadership and influence students to consider ideas and actions
  • The Vision will be a source of entertainment for readers through ethical journalism
  • The Vision will provide a forum for the discussion of ideas

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • The East Vision is a monthly, non-profit production of the East Grand Rapids High School Journalistic Writing II class.
  • It is distributed free to students and faculty.
  • Subscriptions can be mailed for a cost of $35 a year.
  • The newspaper is run out of Room 212 and the staff may be reached at (616) 235-7555, ext. 5212 or 5240.
  • Contact:

Katie Michell, Adviser

The East Vision

East Grand Rapids High School

2211 Lake Drive SE

Grand Rapids, MI 49506

REPORTING POLICIES AND PRACTICES

  • Interviewing
    • Interviews will not be conducted via e-mail.
    • They should be scheduled by appointment – especially when interviewing administrators.
    • Interviews may be done over the phone, but it is always better to meet in person to conduct interviews when possible.
    • Reporters will verify all quotations with their sources during the interview(s). Vital or controversial quotations should be re-checked after the interview has taken place – record on a phone recording system.
    • We are what we write, so let’s get the story right the first time!
  • Reporting
    • Opinion pieces will be clearly distinguished from news reports, which must maintain objectivity.
    • Reporters will NEVER falsify information, invent quotes, or quote out of context – even in a ‘rough draft.’ Doing so is grounds for dismissal from staff.
    • Reporters will do whatever is necessary to get a story right, even if it means revising multiple times, interviewing someone they don’t know, or making phone calls after school hours.
    • Reporters will ‘put a local face’ on their stories – meaning focus will be on the people affected by the event, not the event itself.
    • Reporters will write leads with clear, strong writing that pull readers into the angle or theme of the story with integrity.
  • Fact Checking and Corrections
    • Reporters should go ‘straight to the source’ of the most reliable information. This may mean seeking out administrators, school board members,lawmakers, OR the official documents that contain the most accurate, credible and current information.
    • Reporters should check and verify facts – especially vital ones – TWO times with two independent sources when possible for sensitive information.
    • Reporters and editors must take responsibility for their mistakes and strive to get facts straight and correct all errors promptly.
    • The paper will correct false information in print as soon as possible after its publication. When necessary, the editors will print apologies or retractions.
    • Reporters should be accountable to the readers for their stories, and readers should be encouraged to voice their opinions through letters.
    • When a correction becomes necessary, the proper facts will be placed under the heading “correction” in the op/ed section of the newspaper. Such corrections will run on an as needed basis determined by the editorial board and the adviser.
  •  News Sources
    • Reporters will strive to examine all sides of an issue, no matter how difficult, even if the issue is controversial, even if they have to go off campus to fully cover a story.
    • Balance will also be demonstrated in the story by seeking out different points of view, and interviewing individuals from throughout the community.
    • At least three different sources will be interviewed for each story in order to fully cover an issue and avoid underreporting.
    • Reporters will not quote their close friends unless they are absolutely essential to a story.
    • Vision staff members will not be quoted at all, because to do so would be an unethical conflict of interest.
    • Strive to interview students who have not been quoted by checking the “hit list.”
    • Quotations should be attributed to specific sources. Information should always have a named source; if a source refuses to be identified, the reporter should abide by his or her wishes but seek a source who will be named. This is important for the paper to maintain credibility.
    • Reporters will identify all written sources used in their articles with an exact reference to the publication, its author, its publication date, and/or its web address.
    • Reporters will NEVER quote the Internet. The Internet is NOT a source. It is only for gathering background information.
    • Reporters will not, within all boundaries of the law, reveal a source who has asked to remain anonymous prior to conducting the interview.
    • Reporters will respect the right of their interview subject to give some information “off the record” as long as it is made clear before the information is given.
  • Non-Staff Contributors
    • Guest writers or columnists are welcome to contribute to the paper through a letter to the editor.
    • Any such persons must abide by the policies stated in this manual.
    • The editorial board and adviser reserve the right not to publish submitted contributions depending on content, space available and controversy.
    • All such decisions will be made by the editorial board and the adviser.
  • Editorials and Letters 
    • Unsigned “staff” editorials may be written by the editors (or assignee) and may reflect the majority opinion of the editorial board.
    • Editorials and bylines reflect the opinion of the individual writer only.
    • The Vision will attempt to publish all letters within the constraints of space. The editors reserve the right to edit letters for length and clarity, but without changing the letter’s original meaning or tone. Profanity will be deleted from all letters. All letters must be signed, and when published the writer’s name should appear, along with the year of graduation (if applicable).
    • Anonymous letters will only be run at the discretion of the editorial board.
    • Letters will be screened for libel, irresponsibility and obscenity.
    • Letters submitted become the property of the Vision.
  • Obituaries
    • When a student or a member of the school staff dies during the current coverage period, the staff of the school publication will treat the death in an appropriate, respectful manner.
    • The portrait of that person will appear as it would under normal circumstances, in the same location and at the same size. The name of the person and the dates of birth and death will appear under the photograph.
    • For those readers who were associated with the deceased, this treatment will provide a memory of the individual. For all others, it provides a record of events.
    • As far as news coverage pertaining to the death of a student, several factors will be taken into consideration by the staff.
    • First and foremost are the feelings of the surviving family members.
    • Other issues to be taken into consideration will be manner/cause of death and overall newsworthiness.
    • These situations will be dealt with on an individual basis and in terms of how the staff feels the issue does or does not support the goals of the newspaper.
  • Profanity and Obscenity
    • Profanity (and poor taste in general) is not illegal, but it does violate certain school rules and the school’s community standards.
    • Profanity and obscenity are unsound journalistic practices. While preserving our right to publish information that is significant to a story, it is not this staff’s policy to appeal to the lewd, morbid, or prurient curiosity of its readers.
    • The Vision does, however, reserve the right to publish the first letter of any profane word followed by asterisks or other symbols.
    • Additionally, the Vision reserves the right to allude to profanity without explicitly stating it when it has been determined by the editorial board and the adviser to be essential to the meaning of a story.

DESIGN POLICIES AND PRACTICES

  • Graphics and Illustrations
    • All graphics and illustrations run in the paper will be designed by staff members.
    • No images will be copied and pasted from the Internet – not even in teasers.
    • No images will be traced from the Internet.
    • Information graphics will be used when necessary to enhance the overall readability of information in a story.
    • All graphics and illustrations will be tasteful and will not misrepresent information.
    • No artwork or illustration will purposely demean, degrade or offend a specific individual.
  • Headlines
    • Headlines should be fully warranted by the contents of the articles they accompany.
    • All headlines must have a subject, a verb and an object.
    • “East,” “EGR,” or “East Grand Rapids” should never be included in a headline.
  • Photos
    • Photographs should portray an accurate picture of an event and should not highlight a minor incident out of context.
    • Candid, real-life, action photos are preferred over simulated or “posed” scenes.
    • If a photograph is posed, it will be labeled in the paper as a “photo illustration.”
    • Photographs will not be altered electronically or through traditional means so as to misrepresent the actual event, persons, or setting unless accompanied by an explanation (e.g. “photo illustration”).
    • Photographs will not be copied and pasted from the Internet, as it is copyright infringement and could result in a lawsuit.
    • Images taken from the Internet will not be printed in the paper under any circumstances.
  • Advertising
    • The Vision will not publish advertising for tobacco, alcohol or illegal substances.
    • Local restaurant and music venues that serve alcohol will be asked to remove any offending notices from their ads.
    • Any original artwork created for paid advertising is the property of the Vision.
  • Copyright
    • All written pieces, photos, and art become legal property of The Vision at the time they are submitted unless otherwise stipulated.
    • Stories and photos may be printed only with the express permission of the adviser.
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Policies