Student Publications & Journalism Work Study The Voice Handbook
The Voice Stylebook
Morgue (2008-2011)
Morgue (2003-2008)
Indices: Author | Subject

   Congratulations on your selection to the University of Arkansas – Monticello’s student publications & journalism work study program!

   You have exhibited leadership skills like making deadlines, following stories to their conclusions, helping others to improve their work. We expect nothing less as you move forward.

   You follow in the line of many who laid the foundation for the success of The Voice starting in 2004. Former editors now layout and design print and Web materials for the Northwest Arkansas newspapers, copy-edit regional copy for Gannett, edit newspapers (e.g. South Arkansas Leader) and magazines (Horseman's Roundup), write columns (e.g. El Dorado News Times), cover beats (e.g. Texarkana Gazette and MonticelloLive), make graphic designs (e.g. Cleveland County Herald) — and even own their own businesses (e.g. Danielle Kloap Photography & Douglas B. Design). They started right here, in some of the same seats you currently occupy.

   Looking through the morgue, you can see the many incarnations of The Voice. A new incarnation begins in Fall 2012 as The Voice moves to WordPress. You will be the oil that keeps this motor running, i.e. you will edit the daily material coming to The Voice from UAM's Media Services and Sports Information Department, as well as submissions from students taking the lab, Newswriting and Communication Writing. You will occasionally receive help from News Editing students as we train the next generation.

   If you ever need help, don't hesitate to ask. Ethically, I cannot edit, publish or produce copy for The Voice; I can only advise. But I plan to be available whenever you need that advice.

Ronald W. Sitton, Adviser to The Voice, 2012
   The Voice, UAM’s online newspaper, will be published continually each semester through a WordPress blog. It should be a true reflection of the community it serves and its members strive to uphold the mission statement.

   Students in editorial positions lead the staff by example. Less experienced staff members look to student leaders to see how things work. It’s one reason editors are often chosen for coveted work-study positions, which provide the day-to-day administrative work for the student publication (i.e. fact-checking and editing campus copy, publishing edited Media Services and SID copy to blog, gathering spot news and publication communications, keeping the lab open, alerting community members appearing in the publication).

   Typically, editors achieved upperclassmen status in their academic studies and have shown promise in the Media Communication emphasis. Working as an editor for The Voice provides valuable experience, which some publishers value more than a college degree. Letters of recommendation will describe an editor’s professionalism (i.e. making deadlines, practicing common courtesies, taking/applying constructive criticism) and leadership skills in addition to those areas typically mentioned.

The Three E's

   While leading The Voice, it will be helpful to use the Three E’s made famous by Bobby Dodd while doing so: Enthusiasm, Encouragement and Execution.

   When you exhibit enthusiasm for your position, it’s contagious. You should have fun knowing you’re taking the daily pulse of the campus community. Excellence on your part inspires excellence in others.

   We must offer encouragement to other staff members. While everyone's work is flawed – otherwise you'd all be professionals – you will all make progress through practice, made a lot easier through encouragement. If you don’t have AP Style and passive voice down by now, please learn because newer students look to you to see if you know and if it's important. Every day provides an opportunity to positively influence someone. When one of us improves, the whole publication improves. If you really like something, tell them.

   Working hard provides the execution, i.e. we work hard to write succinctly. The publication’s credibility suffers with published errors. Publishing first should not mean publishing sloppy mistakes. Keep the copy clean of fatal errors, factual errors, AP style and grammar mistakes. Get a jump on it by running each piece through Grammarly Handbook and Grammarly Answers, then learning why it made the suggested changes so that you don't make the same mistake twice. Realize computer programs only highlight general spelling and grammar errors; you must know the language and AP Style enough to understand when to apply suggested changes.

Tracking Hours/Getting Paid

   The adviser issues your time card each month. Your time card must match the time sheet at month’s end. It’s your responsibility to make sure the time clock is correct or have the adviser correct it. Written accounts will not be approved unless noted by the adviser.

   While the dean previously signed time sheets at the end of the month, that’s the adviser’s role except in extreme circumstances, e.g. if the adviser is sick or out of town. Otherwise, you should bring your time card and time sheet to the adviser at least two days prior to the end of the month during regular office hours, i.e. 8-9 a.m. Monday thru Friday.

   Realize the people in Financial Aid who deal with your timecard must also handle the whole campus. They're not being rude by asking you to submit your timesheet on time. They must do their job, just like you do yours. When you miss a deadline, it puts them behind. So let's submit them on time.


   Everyone who enters must sign in with a time and then sign out with the time they leave. Otherwise they cannot be in the lab. If anyone complains, contact the adviser.

   Students working on The Voice receive top priority for computer use. Communication students receive the next priority. We do not keep the lab open for people to check their social media or surf the Web; they can do that at home on their own time.

   Students providing content for The Voice may need access to the lab to write stories, download photographs or do background research for articles they’re producing. Your lab hours indicate you will be there to help if necessary, but more to monitor the lab equipment.

   The lab currently features a refrigerator for staff to store soft drinks, food and anything else legally permissible on campus. People are welcome to drink anything with a lid. The drink must be kept on the floor. If a drink spills on a computer or any equipment, the offending party will be required to pay for the replacement.  If money is stolen from the can containing replacement funding, the refrigerator will be removed from the lab.

Disciplinary Measures

   While we never want The Voice to miss a publication deadline, sometimes life happens and the journalism practicum provides a “learning environment” where things that would get you fired in the industry will sometimes only receive a reprimand.

   However, it is not the intention of this program to produce weak leaders. Therefore except in egregious circumstances, the first missed deadline will result in a reprimand; the second missed deadline will result in a written warning. A third missed deadline results in a loss of leadership and/or work-study positions.

   Every blue moon or so, things progress beyond missed deadlines. Therefore it's necessary to list what is considered a "fireable" offense:

1.      Plagiarism

2.      Intentional destruction of The Voice or any Student Publication property

3.      Sexual harassment

4.      Theft

5.      Using drugs/alcohol on job, having them in lab

6.      Dereliction of duties, e.g. multiple missed deadlines, leaving unfinished work for others

7.      Insubordination, e.g. intentionally destroying staff morale or undermining the publication

   If fired, the student may appeal to the dean, knowing the evidence will be brought to any said meeting. Egregious incidents will be referred to Public Safety, the Dean of Students and the Provost. We all hope things never come to this point as no one enjoys it. Please focus on the job and these other things will just be something else at the bottom of a Web note.

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©UAM Student Publications 2005-2012
Revised 090412 —