Editorial Policy

Purpose

The Catalyst is the official newspaper of Fruita Monument High School, published by a staff of student journalists who strive to fairly and accurately report stories both in and out of the high school setting, as the topics relate to and interest the high school audience.

Content

The student staff members of The Catalyst will strive to maintain high journalistic standards in selecting and reporting the material to be included in each publication. A staff meeting will be held at the beginning of each publication cycle to determine the content of the issue. Content may change as further details evolve.  Attention will be given to stories of interest to the primary audience of students, with consideration given to the secondary audience of teachers, administrators, parents and community members.  Final decisions as to whether or not a particular article will run will be made by the Managing Editor with input from members of the Editorial Board. As per Colorado state press law, the student writer and the associated student editors are responsible for the content of all articles, not the advisor, the principal of Fruita Monument High School or Mesa County Valley School District #51.

Editorial Board

The Editorial Board of The Catalyst consists of the Managing Editor, News Editor, Features Editor, Commentary Editor, Special Sections Editor, Sports Editor, Arts & Entertainment (A&E) Editor, Photography Editor and Business Manager, or their designees or representatives. The faculty advisor sits on the Editorial Board as a contributing, but non-voting member. The Editorial Board will meet before each issue and regularly during the production process to discuss the production process and to deal with any problems relating to content, coverage, or work performance of individual staff members.

Coverage of Issues

As stated in District 51 School Board policy, school-sponsored publications are a public forum for students as well as an educational activity through which students can gain experience in reporting, writing, editing and understanding responsible journalism. Content of school publications may reflect all areas of student interest, which may include topics about which there may be dissent or controversy.

In practicing the freedoms outlined by the First Amendment of the American Constitution, the student staff members of The Catalyst also recognize the inherent responsibilities therein. The staff will refrain from publishing material that is considered libelous, obscene, an invasion of privacy, or anything else that promotes illegal activity or calls for the disruption of a school day.

Editorials

The Catalyst is an open forum for the free exchange of ideas on the opinion page. The editorial board will publish unsigned editorials that reflect the majority opinion of the editorial board. The paper will also publish signed opinions from staff columnists. Guest editorials are also welcomed from any reader who has an opinion to express.  Writers must contact the Managing Editor three weeks before publication with his/her editorial topic idea.  Guest editorials will be printed after review by the editorial board and the Managing Editor and as space permits. Letters to editor are welcome as long as the following guidelines are followed:

  1. Letters may not exceed 250 words in length.
  2. Letters will be checked for the accuracy of facts, and corrected in grammar and punctuation.
  3. Letters must be signed.
  4. Letters are to be dropped off at the publications room 201 or given to the advisor (Mr. Wuster) or an editor. Alternatively, you can also send them to fruitacatalyst@gmail.com. Letters must be submitted at least one week before publication for consideration.

In the event of multiple editorials expressing essentially the same opinion, the staff reserves the right to publish only a representative example. Editorials that are libelous, obscene, an invasion of privacy, or would disrupt the normal running of the school will not be printed. The Catalyst will not run editorials that are essentially name calling. We will work with students to produce responsible opinion in the paper. All opinion stories will be clearly labeled as such.

Advertising

The Catalyst reserves the right to reject any advertisement which, in the opinion of the Editorial Board, is false, misleading, harmful, or not in the best interest of Fruita Monument High students.  All advertisements must promote products which are legal and safe for the majority of high school students to use.

Byline

Every major story will contain a byline. Every photograph, with the exception of small identification photos, or photos in a collage, will contain a photo credit.

Death Notices

In the event of a student death, coverage will be limited to no more than 250 words and a photograph if it is available.

Simultaneous Reply

In the event of a story or editorial that is critical of an individual or group, the criticized party will be given the article at least one week before the publication goes to press so they may have a chance to rebut the criticism.

Plagiarism

The unauthorized use of another person’s writing, visual work,or other material is a serious ethical and legal issue. The Catalyst staff is dedicated to creating and printing only original material or work that is properly cited. Any evidence of plagiarism should be immediately reported to the adviser or managing editor. Evidence of plagiarism by staff member will seriously affect the student’s grade and could be grounds for dismissal from the course.

Correction of Errors

Substantive errors in facts within articles will be corrected in the following issue and on its website in an article labeled “Corrections.”

Role of the Advisor

The advisor serves as an adjunct to the Editorial Board and the news staff. The advisor provides instruction, facilitates decisions and works to create an environment conducive to the student’s goals for the publication.  The advisor helps the staff maintain high journalistic standards.

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