Faith Lutheran News Network Code of Ethics for Social Media
Adapted by the Society of Professional Journalists
The FLNN staff will practice the following ethical principles on all personal and professional social media platforms including but not limited to; Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. In addition, student journalists to the best of their ability will follow these guidelines when doing both written articles for the crusaderchronicle.com and the FLNN broadcasts. These principles are used as a guide and for the foundation of journalism practice. As it states in the SPJ, “ethical journalism strives to be accurate, fair and thorough.”
Seek and Report the Truth: Always take responsibility for your work. Gather facts and verify any information before releasing it. FLNN journalists should be accurate and fair, always striving to seek the truth for the public that they serve.
Minimize Harm: Respecting and protecting sources is important. Balance the public’s need for information with the potential harm it can cause the source. Understand that student media is dealing with juveniles, so consideration of law and ethics is critical. The Student Press Law Center http://www.splc.orgwill help student journalists with any questions they may have.
Act Independently: This means do not accept gifts, favors or show favoritism for any club, organization or team etc. Acting independently means that the public does not see you showing favoritism, promoting or unbalanced treatment of others. Such as, advertising for one organization but not for others. Journalists will act with integrity and impartiality.
Be Accountable and Transparent: Take responsibility for your work. Allow the public to respond to your reporting, and if a mistake has been made in coverage or content, take responsibility for the correction immediately.
This is a quote from the National Public Radio’s Social Media Ethics Policy:
“Conduct yourself online just as you would in any other public circumstances as an NPR journalist. Treat those you encounter online with fairness, honesty and respect, just as you would offline. Verify information before passing it along. Be honest about your intent when reporting. Avoid actions that might discredit your professional impartiality. And always remember, you represent NPR.”
Students and or the adviser will contact the Student Press Law Center if there are ever any ethical dilemmas or legal issues they need help with. SPLC can be contacted here Student Press Law Center Help.
THE EDITORIAL BOARD
- The editorial board will consist of all student staff editors.
- The editorial board decides on all decisions that pertain directly the Faith Lutheran media and their interests.
- No member of the editorial board shall have more than one vote on the board.
- All members of the editorial board and the adviser will elect a replacement for board members who have been dismissed.
- All members of the editorial board are expected to know their duties and jobs in the room and must understand the consequences of not fulfilling said jobs.
- The editorial board established a relationship of trust with the administration, and may meet at any time with the principal to discuss ways in which to address sensitive topics.
- The editorial board, and student staffers should seek attorneys knowledgeable in media law such as those of the Student Press Law Center. Final content decisions and responsibility shall remain with the student editorial board.
- The duly appointed editor or co-editors shall interpret and enforce this editorial policy.
- The adviser is a professional teaching staff member and is in charge of the class just as in a conventional classroom situation.
- Is a certified journalism teacher that serves as a professional role model, motivator, catalyst for ideas and professionalism, and an educational resource.
- Provides a journalistic, professional learning atmosphere for students by allowing them to make the decision of content for the media and ensuring the media will remain an open forum.
- Guides the staff in accordance with approved editorial policy and aids the educational process related to producing the news media content.
- May caution, act as legal consultant and educator terms of unprotected speech, but has no power over censorship or veto except for constitutionally valid reasons.
- Will keep up to date of the latest trends on journalism and share these with students.
- Will submit online content produced by the students to rating services and contests in order for the school publications staff to receive feedback.
- Will forward any received correspondence and/or information to the appropriate editors.
- Will provide information to the staff about journalism scholarships and other financial aid, and make available information and contacts concerning journalism as a career.
- Will work with the faculty and administration to help them understand the freedoms accorded to the students and the professional goals of the school publications.
- The adviser will offer advice and instruction, following the Code of Ethics for Advisers established by the Journalism Education Association.
CONTENT OF FLHS MEDIA INTRODUCTION
All content decisions will be made in occurrence to the following provisions, while keeping in mind that the overall purpose, role and goal of all FLHS Media is to
- Inform, interpret, and entertain their viewers through accurate and factual reports, where information has been thoroughly gathered and information has been completely verified.
- Serve as an educational laboratory experience for those on staff;
- Be accurate, fair, and impartial in its coverage of issues that affect the school community.
- FLHS Media will not avoid publishing a story solely on the basis of possible dissent or controversy.
- Cover the total school population as effectively and accurately as possible.
- The staff of FLHS Media will strive to report all issues in a legal, objective, accurate and ethical manner, and follow the Society for Professional Journalists code. The SPJ’s code of ethics concerning accuracy, responsibility, integrity, conflict of interest, impartiality, fair play, freedom of the press, independence, sensationalism, personal privacy, obstruction of justice, creditability and advertising.
- The media will not print or air unnecessary profanity.
- The editorial board will make the decision on whether content is considered profane or whether it is a cultural or non-vulgar slang term.
- The editorial board reserves the right to edit quotes for unnecessary profanity or unnecessarily offensive words, quotes that have been edited will be noted accordingly when published or used as a sound bite.
- Any edited quote will be read back to the source prior to publishing or airing and sources will have a chance to make changes.
- Staff interviewers have the right to ask a source when necessary to repeat a quote without the use of profane language.
REGARDING STAFF WRITING
- All writing in the media, other than letters to the editor on the crusaderchronicle.com, will be written by students of the journalism program and will not be accepted otherwise. The editorial staff will review freelance writing by students who have the desire to write for the paper ONLY.
- FLHS students outside of the media staffs will have the opportunity to submit writing to the media.
- Any writing submitted from an outside source for use will be accepted upon request of the editorial board or when open opportunities arise, and will be viewed by EICs and adviser for verification.
- Any material submitted from an outside source can be edited by the editorial board and must comply with this policy.
- Writing must be the original work of the writer and not previously published an any publication, unless otherwise specified by the adviser and EICs.
- Any FLHS current student, staff member, faculty member or building administrator that dies during the year will be recognized in the school media.
- The media will publish factual information (date of birth, date of death, survivors, organizations, hobbies, interests) in a 300-word obituary including one mug shot if possible.
- The school media will work to obtain permission from the deceased’s family before publishing any information regarding the cause of death, if permission is not granted, the editorial board reserves the final say in publication of cause of death.
- Suicide will not be listed as a cause of death.
- The school media will treat all deaths in a tasteful, respectful way.
REGARDING B-Roll, ILLUSTRATIONS, PHOTOGRAPHS, GRAPHICS, ETC.
- Any photographs or video that contain any inappropriate attire or actions must be reshot.
- The publications will not publish or air any videos, photos, illustrations etc. that ridicule, demean, or misleadingly represent any individual or group.
- Electronic manipulations changing the essential truth is not allowed.
- Known and or found errors that are brought to the attention of the school media will be addressed regardless if realized by author, audience, or staff member.
- If changes are made to a web story once a story has been posted, the change will be noted along with the date and time the change was made.
- Per administration, we do not advertise at this time.
- Letters to editor and comments on the crusaderchronicle.com will be reviewed by the editor-in-chief and then published.
- No material will be posted where content is obscene, invasive of others’ privacy, encouraging physical disruption of school activities, and/or implies libel.
- Online comments will require a name and email address submitted that are verifiable.
- Online comments that are found in violation of the editorial policy will be removed as quickly as possible.
- Personal attacks are not allowed.
- Social media such as FLNewsNetwork, FLMinis on Instagram, @crusaderchron on Twitter and FLNN on Snapchat will be used to promote FLHS media, to report and promote published content and to engage the Faith Lutheran community.
- The social media manager reserves the right to remove comments that violate any provisions outlined by this policy.
- Information posted on social media platforms should be held to the same standard as all other reporting in terms of information gathering and fact checking.
- The official social media accounts should avoid promotion of events and remain objective, reporting what is fact. Reporters using personal social media to cover events should do the same.
- Information gained through social media channels should be verified through multiple channels before passing it along to others.
- Audience engagement through social media should be done in a professional manner.
- Staff members using applications to post updates to social media accounts should have separate applications for their personal account and for the school media accounts. This will limit the chance of a post being sent from the wrong account.
- Transparency is important. Mistakes made on social media posts should be corrected as soon as possible and any deleted posts should be acknowledged in subsequent postings.
STAFF POLICY FOR SELECTION AND DISMISSAL
- Faculty adviser, with input previous year’s editorial board, chooses Editor in chief(s) and other editor level positions.
REGARDING STAFF DISMISSAL
- All individuals involved with FLHS media are considered a team, each member is expected to complete all assigned stories, pages, photos, etc. on or before the assigned deadline. Staff members, including editors, may be dismissed from their positions and/or the publications staff itself if any of following violations occur:
- Continuously missed deadlines (dismissal procedures will take place by choice of adviser and EICs)
- Quote falsification
- Vandalism or theft of publication equipment
- The academic nature of the school newspaper class allows removal of editors or staff members when school and or established media policy is violated.
A dismissed staff member receiving academic credit may be given a grade of F and will not be allowed to register for any other journalism courses (will not preempt school policy)
Dismissal procedures are reviewed and approved by the editorial board.
The dismissed staff member may appeal their dismissal in writing to the editorial board within three school days following dismissal.
All dismissal appeals will be directed to the building principal and the editorial board.
- The FLHS media should be a member of state, national, and/or international organizations.
- The FLHS media will work to be in contact with professional media such as the Las Vegas Review Journal and KLAS- 8 News Now, KTNV Channel 13 as well as other individuals and companies in the communications field ranging from public relations and advertising to promotions and copy writing.
This combined media editorial policy to be used as a starting point for scholastic journalism staffs. The policy combines newspaper, yearbook, web and broadcast mediums into one policy. The combined media policy was created by Aaron Manfull, JEA Digital Media Chair, with guidance from John Bowen, JEA Scholastic Press Rights Chair. The JEA Model Editorial Policy was also used, as were numerous other editorial policies to create this one which should serve as a starting point for staffs looking to combine their policies.