Policies and Procedures The Voice Handbook
The Voice Stylebook
Morgue (2008-2011)
Morgue (2003-2008)
Indices: Author | Subject

   Student Publications will operate under policies distributed by the UAM Administration, UAM School of Arts & Humanities and the UAM Student Publications Committee. There should be at least one member of the student publications' staff on the Student Publications Committee with the editor-in-chief and/or managing editor preferably serving.

   All students involved with publication will be expected to follow all University rules and regulations as established in the Student Handbook. In addition, all rules contained in this manual should also be followed. Any articles written for The Voice become the property of The Voice, i.e. you cannot write an article for The Voice and simultaneously submit it to another publication without permission.


   A news story is any current story of immediate interest to the university community. In assigning, preparing and publishing the news, every attempt should be made to ensure objectivity, fairness, and accuracy.

   Individual cases can not be dealt with in a general statement of this type. The editors and adviser must deal with circumstances of a particular nature on a day-to-day basis – this is indeed part of the students’ training – but thought should be given to continuity as well as to other journalistic considerations. 

   Student editors should give special forethought, especially in the assignment phases, both from the reporting and editing standpoint, that sometimes reporters and editors as students may be too involved in a particular subject, political situation or otherwise to perform an assignment journalistically. Assigning reporters and editors directly involved in a story should be avoided.


   Human interest stories, those which go behind the news, will be assigned to upper-level reporters and students taking the feature writing classes. In addition, those writers should develop and report on human interest stories. The topic of such stories is left to the student editors, but consideration should be given to the probable university interest in the subject of individuals. 


   Sports material should be decided upon by the student editors.  However, there should be a real attempt to balance the coverage of all UAM sporting activities. When covering sporting events, students should use the guide found in the back of this book.


   All newspapers receive a great number of complaints because of the nature of their work.  They often deal with controversial topics and figures and doing so in a limited amount of time and tremendous amount of pressure.  Mistakes are bound to occur even though all staff members should make every attempt to avoid them.

   Corrections will be announced in the following issue of the publication, typically in the same section where the error occurred. An additional correction should be appended to the original online article so that it's obvious when individuals search the archives. Corrections should include ALL fatal errors plus any inadvertent errors that could cause misunderstandings.

   Complaints should be taken first to the editor responsible for that particular subject area.  If this editor is unavailable or unable to settle the claim, the complaint should be taken to the managing editor or editor-in-chief.  The adviser also may make an attempt to satisfy the complaining party, but it is recognized that experience in answering and/or satisfying complaints is an important part of the student's educational experience.

   Only if the staff is unable to resolve the dispute through normal procedure should the complaint be taken to the Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities or the Student Publications Board. 


   As defined by Melvin Mencher’s News Reporting and Writing, 9th edition, libel is public defamation of character.  It is writing that exposes a person to hatred, shame, disgrace, contempt, or ridicule; it injures a person’s reputation or causes the person to be shunned or avoided; and/or it injures the person in his/her occupation.

   Technically, every republication of libel is new and subject to litigation.
   A publication is responsible for everything it prints.  Therefore, attributing a libelous statement to a third party does not relieve a publication of responsibility. 
   It is imperative, therefore, that all copy be edited for libel.  This includes all sections of a paper.
   Anyone not familiar with libel should consult a member of the journalism faculty or an editor familiar with the term.  In general, courts look closely at two things:  Did the damaging statements relate to matters of legitimate public concern?  Did the reporter show reckless disregard for the truth?  Reporters who follow the tenets of the profession and who show a healthy skepticism of hearsay will rarely get into trouble.  The reporter’s adage, “If your mother says she loves you, check it out!” has served well. 
   All journalists need a working knowledge of the law as it relates to the mass media, not only to help them know what they can not do, but more importantly, to give them confidence about what they can do.


   Modern newspapers emphasize the importance of good photography and illustrations. The Student Publications' staff should always attempt to uphold the standards of good newspaper photography.  If using artwork such as cartoons, etc. to describe a story, the work should be of high quality. All photographs and illustrations should give attention to journalism standards regarding tone and content.

   Photographers should not stage or direct the content of news photographs.  We must never alter the elements of a news setting.  This does not preclude a reasonable degree of posing of non-news situations.  Photos posed to illustrate an idea should be labeled “photo illustration” when it could create in the reader’s mind the impression it depicts an actual event or situation.  It is not necessary to label fashion photos as photo illustrations; however, a photo of a child model used to illustrate a story on child abuse would demand such a label.

    Photographers should consult the editor-in-chief or adviser if he/she might need a photo release consent form. In general, one should be cautious about photographs not taken in a public place or at a public event. Photographs of minors or photographs of persons who are mentally incompetent may need consent forms.  For example, if a reporter writes a story on a class of developmentally disabled children and the photographer takes a close-up of a child whom he identifies as a member of  the group, a consent form, signed by the child’s parents or guardian, would be required.  A photograph of students picnicking at Monticello City Park would probably not be a problem, as it is a public place.  A photograph, taken from a roof, of a sunbather who believed she was within the privacy of her yard might well be actionable.  Photos taken on private property or at private meetings may require a consent form.


    While a large amount of the news is of concern to all members of the university, some news concerns only certain segments of the community.  In such cases, when space is limited, priority will be given to that which directly concerns students, then to faculty, administration and staff.


   At the current time, Student Publications does not accept advertisements for publication. Therefore, no monetary contributions or special arrangements for advertising should be made by any staff member without prior approval from the editor-in-chief/managing editor, adviser, or Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities.


   Because Student Publications are financed through state funding via the School of Arts & Humanities, student publications should not take sides in partisan political matters outside the purview of matters of interest to its public. However, it is properly noted that opinions expressed within student publications are not necessarily shared by the University proper.

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Revised 081912 — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/sm/pp.htm