Ovid-Elsie Student Media is the independent student journalism staff of Ovid-Elsie High School in Michigan. Each journalist contributes stories appearing regularly online, as well as packages that appear in the high school and middle school yearbooks.

Ovid-Elsie Student Media Editorial Policy

The Ovid-Elsie Student Media Editorial Policy pertains to all print, broadcast and online student publications, including the online news website, OEOnline.org; the yearbook, the Legend; and audio or video productions produced for WOES-FM and local cable channel 13.

This policy has been adapted from the Journalism Education Association’s Model High School Student Media Editorial Policy.

As preservers of democracy, our schools shall protect, encourage and enhance free speech and the exchange of ideas as a means of protecting our American way of life.

Ovid-Elsie Student Media is the official student-produced medium of news and information published/produced by Ovid-Elsie Student Media students. Ovid-Elsie Student Media has been established as a designated public forum for student editors to inform and educate their readers as well as for the discussion of issues of concern to their audience. It will not be reviewed or restrained by school officials prior to publication or distribution. Advisers may – and should coach and discuss content – during the writing process.

Because school officials do not engage in prior review, and the content of Ovid-Elsie Student Media is determined by and reflects only the views of the student staff and not school officials or the school itself, its student editorial board and responsible student staff members assume complete legal and financial liability for the content of the publication.

Electronic media (including online, broadcast and podcast media) produced by Ovid-Elsie Student Media students are entitled to the same protections – and subjected to the same freedoms and responsibilities – as media produced for print publication. As such they will not be subject to prior review or restraint.

Student journalists may use print and electronic media to report news and information, to communicate with other students and individuals, to ask questions of and consult with experts and to gather material to meet their newsgathering and research needs.

Ovid-Elsie Student Media and its staff are protected by and bound to the principles of the First Amendment and other protections and limitations afforded by the Constitution and the various laws and court decisions implementing those principles.

Ovid-Elsie Student Media will not publish any material determined by student editors or the student editorial board to be unprotected, that is, material that is libelous, obscene, materially disruptive of the school process, an unwarranted invasion of privacy, a violation of copyright or a promotion of products or services unlawful (illegal) as to minors as defined by state or federal law.

Definitions and examples for the above instances of unprotected speech can be found in Law of the Student Press published by the Student Press Law Center.

The editorial board, which consists of the staff’s student editors will determine the content, including all unsigned editorials. The views stated in editorials represent that of a majority of the editorial board. Signed columns or reviews represent only the opinion of the author.

Ovid-Elsie Student Media may accept letters to the editor, guest columns and news releases from students, faculty, administrators, community residents and the general public. We ask that letters to the editor, guest columns or other submissions be 300 words or less and contain the author’s name, address and signature. All submissions will be verified.

The Ovid-Elsie Student Media editorial board reserves the right to withhold a letter or column or other submission and/or return it for revision if it contains unprotected speech or grammatical errors that could hamper its meaning. Deadlines for letters and columns will be determined by each year’s student staff, allowing sufficient time for verification of authorship prior to publication.

Staff members will strive to correct errors prior to publication; however, if the editorial board determines a significant error is printed, the editorial board will determine the manner and timeliness of a correction.

The staff of Ovid-Elsie Student Media will strive to report all issues in a legal, objective, accurate and ethical manner, according to the Canons of Professional Journalism developed by the Society for Professional Journalists. The Canons of Professional Journalism include a 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 adviser will not act as a censor or determine the content of the paper. The adviser will offer advice and instruction, following the Code of Ethics for Advisers established by the Journalism Education Association as well as the Canons of Professional Journalism. School officials shall not fire or otherwise discipline advisers for content in student media that is determined and published by the student staff.

The student editor and staff who want appropriate outside legal advice regarding proposed content – 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.

Ovid-Elsie Student Media will not avoid publishing a story solely on the basis of possible dissent or controversy.

The Ovid-Elsie Student Media editorial board reserves the right to accept or reject any ad in accordance with its advertising policy.

Electronic manipulations changing the essential truth of the photo or illustration will be clearly labeled if used.

The duly appointed editor or co-editors shall interpret and enforce this editorial policy.