The Student News Site of Frederick High School

Frederick Lantern

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The Student News Site of Frederick High School

Frederick Lantern

The Student News Site of Frederick High School

Frederick Lantern

Frederick Lantern Editorial Policy

Revised May 6, 2024

 

GENERAL PHILOSOPHY

Student editors are responsible for determining the content of The Frederick Lantern (TFL). In compliance with the Colorado Student Free Expression Law (22-1-120), TFL staff have the right to exercise freedom of speech and of the press, and while the school administration may provide constructive criticism of the content published, no content in TFL shall be subject to censorship by administration unless it is:

  • obscene in nature
  • discriminatory against any protected group or class
  • libelous, defamatory, or untrue
  • a violation of copyright
  • a violation of privacy laws (including FERPA)
  • encourages or threatens violence
  • promotes illegal activity (including gang activity and underage drug use)
  • would lead to substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school.

It is the responsibility of the faculty adviser to supervise the production of TFL, enforce the reasonable limitations to freedom of expression listed above, ensure adherence to this editorial policy, communicate content concerns with the administration, and teach TFL staff about free and responsible expression and professional standards for English and journalism. The adviser also determines what students may join TFL staff, sets the policies for staff dismissal, and dismisses students violating these policies.

As students drive the content decisions, no expression made by students in the exercise of freedom of speech or freedom of the press in TFL can be deemed to be an expression of school policy, and no St. Vrain employee, parent or legal guardian, or the district at large can be held liable in any civil or criminal action for any expression published by students (22-1-120.7).

Frederick Journalism holds the copyright for all original content published in TFL, whether created by the Lantern staff or submitted for inclusion by a reader.  No part of TFL may be reproduced by any electronic or physical means without the prior permission of the program adviser.

 

WRITTEN CONTENT

All story content must be original and generated by TFL staff. Any non-staff pieces by Frederick students or staff require the original author’s permission to publish in writing. If writing is sent directly to TFL with the intent of publication, that act of submission constitutes permission.

While TFL staff will not alter any interview quotes with respect to context, the staff reserves the right to edit any and all text to adhere to proper grammatical conventions and style. All text will adhere to the reasonable restrictions on free speech outlined in the “General Philosophy” section.

As per the recommendations by the Poynter Institute, TFL staff and other contributors may not use generative AI to research, write, or “punch up” any story content unless the story is about AI tools and is providing a clear example of the technology. However, use of generative AI is acceptable in these cases:

  • to generate ideas for article topics
  • to generate a vague outline for an article
  • to generate ideas for interview questions
  • to generate ideas for headlines and decks
  • to edit articles for grammar and usage (though AI may not be used for fact checking)
  • to generate a posting schedule for articles
  • to generate a draft for a social media message promoting an article
  • to analyze our story analytics for trends and gaps in coverage

TFL aims to represent the entire student population by including a diversity of perspectives across its news output. That being said, it is impossible to cover every event that happens in any given week. If an activity sponsor wants coverage of an event, it is up to that sponsor to make TFL staff aware of the event.  Even so, we may choose not to cover an event based on a lack of resources (e.g., three events happening on the same night) or due to a belief that the story will not engage or would upset our readers (e.g., a sports event where our team lost in a shutout).

Staff writers will strive to be accurate, true, and impartial. This extends to political coverage. As political changes and events interest and inspire the young adults of Frederick, TFL would be remiss if we did not cover local and national political matters, especially during election years. While editorials and opinion letters may contain strong and biased political opinions, TFL will remain politically neutral in its news reporting and in presenting the opinions of others. To increase accountability, bylines must accompany all published content; opinions and editorials will be clearly labeled as such.

That being said, TFL does have a journalistic agenda. As Frederick High’s news website, TFL adheres to the school’s mission of promoting student well-being and encouraging healthy physical, social, academic, and emotional behaviors. TFL may print stories that question how well the school fosters these behaviors, but TFL will never endorse anything destructive to student well-being. TFL is also committed to promoting good journalism. TFL will only present perspectives or opinions grounded in verifiable, reality-based truth, not falsehoods or misleading information. For example, we will never run an op-ed promoting the Flat Earth movement. The earth is spherical, the science has been settled since Ancient Greece, and if someone disagrees, they are incorrect. TFL refuses to provide a platform for nonsense.

 

IMAGES AND MULTIMEDIA

All artwork created and photographs taken by the Lantern staff are for the exclusive use of the TFL, though TFL editors or advisers may consent for the photos to be used by others with permission. Images may not contain obscenity, nudity, sexually suggestive behavior, copyrighted material, gang signs, criminal activity (including drug use), acts of violence, or discriminatory signs or symbols. All questionable content will be referred to the FHS administration before inclusion. Additionally, TFL staff may edit and retouch photos that do not meet standards of quality for inclusion in our publication (size, shape, focus, brightness, colorization, etc.) so long as that editing does not alter the context of the image.

The only images that may be used in TFL are:

  • photos taken by TFL staff
  • illustrations and infographics created by TFL staff
  • official logos, including those of Frederick High School and SVVSD
  • officially released photos that are part of a press release (including movie posters)
  • images that are in the public domain or Creative Commons
  • images used with specific written permission from the original photographer or artist

The inclusion of any other image in TFL is forbidden. If TFL receives a takedown notice for an unlicensed image violation, the original author of the article will be responsible for taking down the image and paying any incurring fines.

All images must contain a “Photo by” or “Art by” credit. If the image is not original to TFL, its source must follow the credit after a backslash (e.g., Photo by Brandon Coon/Flickr). For human-interest pieces, a “Courtesy of” credit is acceptable.

AI tools may be used to assist TFL staff in taking photos, but AI-generated photos may never be published. AI tools may be used to create the base elements of an infographic or illustration, but these base elements must be arranged and edited by a reporter if the image is to be published in TFL. Like with written content, AI tools may be used to generate ideas for what photos, illustrations, and infographics a reporter could include in a story.

If a parent or guardian has completed a request with the administration for his or her child to not be photographed prior to publication, their child will not appear in any photos nor will be interviewed for TFL. All survey results and analytic data collected by TFL will remain anonymous.

 

ADVERTISING

TFL editors and any ad management company employed by TFL may choose to sell advertisement space on the site to local businesses. TFL’s adviser will develop the legal paperwork and price structure for any and all ads, and TFL editors or their staff will find businesses interested in buying ad space, ensure all paperwork is complete, create or obtain the ad, and place the ad in rotation. TFL will not run advertising without a proper signature on the advertising contract by the client (the contract must contain terms of payment, content, size, and publishing dates). If the client violates the contract or misses a payment, their ad will be pulled. If an ad runs with errors, the adviser may offer the client a partial refund of no more than 40% or extend the range of publishing dates.

All advertisements, whether created by TFL staff or provided by the paying sponsor, must adhere to the guidelines for written content and images. Anyone under the age of 18 appearing in an advertisement must have a model consent form on file even if the business provided the advertisement. Advertisements must be clearly crafted in the form of traditional adverts—TFL does not publish “sponsored content” articles or include any commercial speech in its news features.

TFL will not accept advertising for products that are illegal for minors to purchase or for products that go against the promotion of student well-being. Ultimately, TFL’s adviser and school administration must approve all advertisers and may reject any businesses that violate these principles. TFL will not run personal or classified advertising.

Acceptance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement by TFL, Frederick High School, the St. Vrain Valley School District, or any individual staff member of the Lantern, FHS, or SVVSD.

 

OBITUARIES & DEATH   

Should a Frederick student, staff member, or alumnus die anytime during the school year, TFL will defer to the wishes of the decedent’s family on how to cover the loss to our school community. Should the family of the deceased desire an obituary, one will be provided within a reasonable amount of time after the tragedy. The obituary will be restricted to the circumstances regarding the death, the contributions the person made to the school community, and quotes from survivors about how they will miss that person (note that this is limited to simple testimonials—TFL will not print poems written for the deceased or anything else that would constitute an elaborate memorial). The obituary must be approved by both the decedent’s family and the school administration before it runs, and specific details (like cause of death) may be withheld if requested by either party.

A specific student’s death may not be used in any non-obituary news coverage: for example, a student who dies in a drunk driving accident cannot be mentioned by name in a TFL article decrying teen drunk driving. However, news articles can refer to these events in vague terms that respect student privacy (e.g., “We have lost students to drunk driving accidents recently”). The exception to this is if the death occurred on school grounds, as a death on campus demands investigation into the safety of the students and ways the school will prevent future tragedy.

 

ERRORS

TFL staff is intent on checking, editing, and proofreading for all mistakes and tries to guard against carelessness, bias, and distortion by emphasis or omission. However, mistakes may appear in our content due to human error. The staff apologizes for any such occurrences, and if factual errors occur, TFL will run article corrections or retractions (and note the date and manner of the correction).

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Frederick Lantern Editorial Policy