The student news site of Oak Ridge High School

Oak Ridge Media

Policies

The Oak Ridge Media Editorial Policy pertains to oakridgemedia.org and the Pathfinder yearbook.

Mission Statement
The Oak Ridge Media Group publications will seek to produce content using innovating story-telling practices with emphasis on complete student body coverage, reliable sourcing and sound journalistic practices. (2013)

Forum Status
Through practice, the Oak Ridge Media Group has been established as a designated limited public forum for student editors to educate and inform their readers. Because school officials do not engage in prior review, the content is determined by the editorial board with coaching and content discussions with the adviser. Content does not reflect the views of school officials or the school itself.

Anonymous Data Collection
The Oak Ridge Media Group anonymously collects traffic data to help serve our audience with a better experience. This data is not used to identify specific individuals. The analytics software we use securely collects the following information

  • Visits, page views and time spent on each page
  • Traffic sources—search engines and search terms used to find us

The data collected is never sold or shared with third parties. However, raw statistics may be shared with advertisers for the purpose of tracking success of their advertisements. No data will be used to single out a single user. Data collection provides us an opportunity to hone in on the areas our readers enjoy and focus our energy on producing quality content. There is no way to opt out of this data collection. Data collection is a typical practice of personal and news websites for the same purpose.

Copyright
All content on oakridgemedia.org. or the Pathfinder yearbook is strictly protected by copyright laws. We’ll be glad to allow use of our content once permission is granted. Contact [email protected]g for usage inquiries. If you believe that our publications have infringed your copyright in any way, please notify us and provide the following information:

  • An identification of the material on oakridgemedia.org that you claim is infringing or is subject to infringing activity with enough detail so that we can locate the material on our site.
  • Your name, address, telephone number and email address.
  • A statement by you that you have a good-faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent or the law.
  • A statement by you declaring that the above information in your notice is accurate, made under penalty of perjury, and that you are authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright interest involved.
  • Your physical or electronic signature

Advertisements
The Oak Ridge Media Group will sell advertising to fund its publications. No media will accept ads for products that are illegal for minors to  purchase and/or use. Payment is due prior to publication. Advertisements will not run if payment obligations are not met. The media will not give refunds after a signed contract has been received unless a grievous error has been committed. Advertising that appears is not endorsed by staff, editorial board or the adviser.

Errors
Concerns about errors in any media should be submitted to the staff at [email protected]. Staff members strive to correct errors prior to publication; however, if the editorial board determines an error has been made, it will determine how and when to issue a correction. If a correction is issued, the change will be noted along with the date and time the change was made.

Letters to the Editors
Letters to the editor provide readers a chance to connect with the Oak Ridge Media Group and its published content. Letters to the editor will run in the opinion section of oakridgemedia.org and clearly labeled “letter to the editor.” The editorial board reserves the right to verify the authenticity of the writer and/or withhold a letter and request revision if it contains errors that could hamper its meaning. Letters to the editor should be emailed to [email protected].  Letters become the property of the Oak Ridge Media Group once received and will not be returned to the author. The following guidelines should be followed in your letter:

  • It should not exceed 300 words
  • It must be signed and include writer’s address, phone number and email address for verification (only email address will be displayed with letter)
  • It should not contain obscene language, encourage physical disruption of school activities, libelous statements or speech that otherwise invades the privacy of others.

Comments
The Oak Ridge Media Group values discourse with its readers and encourages readers to become a part of the conversation. All comments are approved by the editorial board prior to publication. Comments are reviewed as often as possible. However, the process may result in a delay of anywhere from a few hours to a day before the comment is approved. Comments containing obscene, suggestive, vulgar, profane, threatening or defamatory language will not be published. Comments that attack writers or readers based on race, gender, sexual orientation will be rejected. Threats will be taken seriously and reported to school administration or local law enforcement if necessary. All commenters writing from the school network are subject to OCPS Internet use policies. We encourage all commenters to use their full name when posting comments; however, the staff will not attempt to maintain the validity of posted names. Anonymous comments will not be run.

Opinions/Reviews
All editorials will be published with a byline: by the editorial board. The views stated in each editorial represent a majority of the editorial board. The editorial board determines content. Opinions stated to not necessarily reflect the views of the Oak Ridge Media Group as a whole, Oak Ridge High School or Orange County Public Schools. Blogs and reviews  written by individual staff members represent their personal views. The opinions expressed do not represent the Oak Ridge Media Group, as a publication, Oak Ridge High School or Orange County Public Schools.

Decision-Making

  • Any decisions affecting the media will be made by the editorial board. The adviser will provide legal advice and journalistic coaching, but final decisions rest in the hands of the editorial board. The editorial board may prevent material from being printed if it is determined the material is libelous obscene, unnecessarily disruptive to the school process, an unwarranted invasion of privacy, a violation of copyright law or a promotion of products or services that are illegal to minors as defined by Florida and Federal law.
  • The media reserves the right to publish material attained through an interview by a staff member as long as the interviewee was made aware that the information could be published in any form at any time. The staff rejects claims of “off the record” information after it has already been given to staff members. Such claims should be made prior to starting the interview.

Language

  • The Oak Ridge Media Group will refrain from printing unnecessary profanity. The editorial board will make all final decisions on whether content is considered profane. The editorial board occasionally edits quotes for unnecessary profanity. If a quote has been edited, it will be noted with brackets with a substituted word. There may be times w

Controversial issues

  • The Oak Ridge Media Group seeks to cover any cover any controversial issues in a timely manner. The editorial board will refrain from covering any controversial issues just for the sake of controversy.
  • Staff members will seek to inform in all instances, taking care to present all sides of an issue.
  • All pieces will be carefully fact-checked and will be published after careful consideration of the piece’s journalistic purpose.

Objectivity

  • The Oak Ridge Media Group strives to maintain objectivity in all reporting. Reporters are coached to remain as detached as possible from either side of the story. The coaching process seeks to eliminate instances of bias. Reporters involved in any way with the story are expected to excuse themselves from that story. Journalists are expected to refrain from accepting any sort of gifts or favors that could compromise their integrity to the journalistic process.

Sources

  • Sources are any person or organization that provides information to the reporter. It is expected that all information be attributed to a source, unless it is a common knowledge fact. The media strives not to use anonymous sources. However, there may instances where revealing a source’s identify could put them at risk for violence, persecution, bullying or legal trouble. In these instances, the adviser will be provided the source’s true identify and will verify the information provided on behalf of readers. The identity of anonymous will not be revealed unless issued a subpoena by a court of law.

Prior Review

  • At the time of an interview, sources may be able to have quotes read back to them. However, sources will not be able to arbitrarily demand to read a reporter’s completed story and then edit that story. Reporters respect a source’s right to have information remain “off the record” if that fact is known prior to the revelation of information.

Deaths

  • Any current student, staff, faculty or administrator who passes away during the school year will be recognized in the media. All deaths will be dealt with tastefully and respectfully.
  • On oakridgemedia.org, reporters will publish factual information (date of birth, date of death, survivors, organizations, hobbies, interests) in a 300-word obituary and a mug shot, if possible.
  • In the Pathfinder yearbook, reporters will publish factual information (date of birth, date of death, survivors, organizations, hobbies and interests) and a mug shot, if possible, in a 1/8 page space.
  • The media will attempt to gain permission from deceased person’s family prior to publishing any information about cause of death. If permission is not granted, the editorial board reserves the final say in publishing cause of death. Suicide will never be listed as a cause of death.

Social Media Use
The Oak Ridge Media Group will use various social media outlets to further promote the media and connect with readers. The media accounts will never promote events. Reporting on social media platforms will remain objective and factual. Content will not be linked back to individual reporters via social media unless permission is obtained from reporter. Mistakes will be corrected as quickly as possible.

Staff Selection

  • Editors and positions are chosen by the adviser with input from previous year’s editorial board. Editor positions are not chosen until summer. Staff members are selected after an application process in January, prior to registration. The adviser reserves the right to make changes to the staff list after registration as he/she seems fit. Staff members will never be turned away due to sex, race, religion, age, mental or physical handicap.

Staff Dismissal

  • All Oak Ridge Media Group members are expected to complete all assigned stories, pages, photos, videos, multimedia elements, etc. on or before the assigned deadline. The following violations may result in staff dismissal
    • Continuously missing deadlines
    • Plagiarism (immediate dismissal)
    • Quote falsification (immediate dismissal)
    • Vandalism, theft or misuse of media equipment (immediate dismissal)
    • Negative attitude toward staff or adviser
    • Submitting designs, photos, stories or other items to those outside the media staff without prior approval from editorial board.
    • Two suspensions, misdemeanor or arrest in one academic year
    • Failing to fulfill job as outlined in job description
    • Violation of media policy or Code of Conduct
    • Adviser and editorial board will produce written warning, signed by adviser, editor in chief and staff member in question.
    • An editor will be stripped of their title if their behavior results in an in or out-of-school suspension or if misdemeanor offense or arrest occurs.
    • Editorial board members will meet with potentially dismissed students to discuss issue. Final decision rests with adviser.
    • Dismissed staff members will receive a grade of ‘F’ and will not be allowed to register for any other journalism courses.
    • Dismissed members may appeal their dismissal in writing to the editorial board within three school days following dismissal. All appeals will be directed to the administration and the editorial board.

Professional Affiliation
The Oak Ridge Media Group is not affiliated with any professional news organizations. The media are a member of the following scholastic press organizations: The Florida Scholastic Press Association, The Southern Interscholastic Press Association, the National Scholastic Press Association, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists.

Inquiries
Questions, complaints or suggestions regarding material published in the media should be made in writing to the editor-in-chief, who will present the concern at the next scheduled editorial board meeting. Such correspondence should be emailed to [email protected]dgemedia.org.

The student news site of Oak Ridge High School
Policies