Frederick Scout

Editorial Policy

GENERAL PHILOSOPHY

The Scout covers topics that are important to Frederick students as determined by the Scout staff. While the staff allows and encourages constructive criticism of the content published, final authority for the content of the Scout rests solely in the hands of the newspaper adviser and staff.

Student editors are responsible for determining the content of the Scout. In compliance with the Colorado Student Free Expression Law (22-1-120), the Scout staff has the right to exercise freedom of speech and of the press, and no content in the Scout shall be subject to censorship by administration unless it is obscene, discriminatory, libelous, untrue, a violation of copyright, a violation of privacy laws (including FERPA), threatens violence, promotes illegal activity (including gang activity and underage drug use), or would lead to substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school.

It is the responsibility of the newspaper adviser to supervise the production of each Scout issue, enforce the reasonable limitations to freedom of expression listed above, communicate concerns with the administration, and to teach and encourage free and responsible expression and professional standards for English and journalism. The adviser also determines what students may join the Scout staff, sets the policies for staff dismissal (as outlined in the course syllabus), and dismisses students violating this policy.

As students drive content decision, no expression made by students in the exercise of freedom of speech or freedom of the press in the Scout 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 content published in the Scout, whether created by the Scout staff or submitted for inclusion.  No part of any Scout issue may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or physical means without prior permission of the Scout adviser.

 

WRITTEN CONTENT

While the Scout may publish letters to the editor or guest articles, at least 60% of the written content of each issue must be original and generated by the Scout staff. Any non-staff pieces require the original author’s permission in writing. If content is sent directly to the Scout with intent for publication, that act of submission constitutes permission.

While the Scout staff will treat any student or staff writing or quotes with respect as far as original content, the staff reserve the right to edit any and all text to adhere to proper grammatical conventions and style. All text will adhere to the reasonable restrictions to free speech outlined in the “General Philosophy” section.

The Scout aims to include members of all grade levels in every issue and represent the entire student population by including a diversity of perspectives. 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 the newspaper 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 in 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, we 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, the Scout will remain politically neutral in their news reporting and in presenting the opinions of others. To increase staff accountability, bylines must accompany content; opinions and editorials will be clearly labeled as such.

That being said, the Scout does have a journalistic agenda. As Frederick High’s newspaper, we adhere to the school’s mission of promoting student well-being and encouraging healthy physical, social, academic, and emotional behaviors. We may print stories that question how well the school fosters these behaviors, but we will never endorse anything destructive to student well-being. We are also committed to promoting good journalism. We will only present perspectives or opinions grounded by verifiable reality-based truth, not on 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 Roman times, and if someone disagrees, they are incorrect. We refuse to provide a platform for nonsense.

 

IMAGES

All artwork acquired and photographs taken by the newspaper staff are for the exclusive use of the Frederick Scout, though the newspaper editors or adviser 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, the newspaper staff may edit and retouch photos that do not meet standards of quality for inclusion in our publication (focus, brightness, colorization, etc).

The only images that may be used in the Scout are those taken by the newspaper staff, those that are public domain, or those used with specific written permission from the original photographer.

 

OBITUARIES & DEATH   

Should a Frederick student, staff member, or alumnus die anytime during the school year, the Scout will defer to the wishes of the 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—the Scout will not print poems written for the deceased or anything else that would constitute an elaborate memorial). The obituary must be approved by the family and the 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 Scout 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.

 

STUDENT DATA AND PRIVACY

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 the Scout. All survey results or data collected by the Scout will remain anonymous.

 

ADVERTISING

The Scout editors and adviser may choose to sell advertisement space to local businesses. The adviser will develop the legal paperwork and price structure for any and all ads, and the editors or their staff will find businesses interested in buying ad space, ensuring all paperwork is complete, creating or obtaining the ad, and placing the ad in the Scout. The Scout 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 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 the Scout 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 crafter in the form of traditional adverts—the Scout does not publish “sponsored content” articles or include any commercial speech in its news features.

The Scout 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, the Scout adviser and school administration must approve all advertisers and may reject any businesses that violate these principles. The Scout will not accept personal or classified advertising.

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

 

ERRORS

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

The Student News Site of Frederick High School
Editorial Policy