Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

KHS Editorial Policy

Thanks to The JEA Model Editorial Policy for guiding us through this process.




“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….”

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America


“The vigilant protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American schools.”

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District


The KHS Media Editorial Policy pertains to all KHS media, including the newsmagazine, The Kirkwood Call; the yearbook, the Pioneer; the website,; the broadcast program, KHTV; (And excluding the literary magazine, Ekri)


KHS Media are the official student-produced media of news and information published/produced by KHS Media students. KHS Media have been established as designated public forums 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 production process.


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




As it is essential to preserve the freedom of the press in order to preserve a free society,


  1. The media will serve the best interest of the students and faculty of Kirkwood High School.
  2. Any decisions affecting the publications on all levels will be made by the student editors, the adviser is allowed to give legal advice and his/her opinion, but the final decision rests in the hands of the student editors;
  3. Only the student editors may prevent material they judge to be in violation of the media editorial policy from being printed;
  4. All media will vigorously resist all attempts at censorship, particularly pre-publication censorship and self-censorship;
  5. All media retains the right to publish any and all material obtained through an interview by a staff member of the publications staff, holding that the interviewee was made aware that the information could be published in any form at any time;
  6. All student media referenced in this editorial policy are designated public forums;
  7. 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 news gathering and research needs;
  8. KHS 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;
  9. KHS Media will not publish any material determined by student editors 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;
  10. 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.




  1. The student editors decides on all decisions that pertain directly to the KHS media that the student editors oversee.
  2. 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 student editors.
  3. The duly appointed editor or co-editors shall interpret and enforce this editorial policy.




  1. The adviser is a professional teaching staff member and is in charge of the class just as in a conventional classroom situation;
  2. Is a certified journalism teacher that serves as a professional role model, motivator, catalyst for ideas and professionalism, and an educational resource;
  3. Provides a journalistic, professional learning atmosphere for students by allowing them to make the decision of content for the media and ensuring the media will remain an open forum;
  4. Guides the media in accordance with approved editorial policy and aids the educational process related to producing material;
  5. May caution, act as legal consultant and educator terms of unprotected speech, but has no power over censorship or veto except for constitutionally valid reasons;
  6. Will keep abreast of the latest trends on journalism and share these with students;
  7. Will submit student media produced by the students to rating services and contests in order for the school publications staff to receive feedback;
  8. Will forward any received correspondence and/or information to the appropriate editors;
  9. Will provide information to the staff about journalism scholarships and other financial aid, and make available information and contacts concerning journalism as a career;
  10. Will work with the faculty and administration to help them understand the freedoms accorded to the students and the professional goals of the school publications;
  11. 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.




  1. The Kirkwood High School administration will provide the students of KHS with a qualified journalism instructor to serve as a professional role model, adequate classroom equipment, and space for a sound journalism program.
  2. KHS administration will offer equal opportunity to minority and/or marginalized students to participate in journalism programs.
  3. KHS administration is not required to view and approve publication content before publishing.






All content decisions will be made in occurrence to the following provisions, while keeping in mind that the overall purpose, role and goal of all KHS Media is to:

  1. Inform, interpret and entertain their readers through accurate and factual reports, where information has been thoroughly gathered and information has been completely verified;
  2. Serve as an educational laboratory experience for those on staff;
  3. Be accurate, fair and impartial in its coverage of issues that affect the school community;
  4. KHS Media will not avoid publishing a story solely on the basis of possible dissent or controversy;
  5. Cover the total school population as effectively and accurately as possible;
  6. The staff of KHS 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, credibility and advertising.




  1. The media will not print unnecessary profanity.
  2. The student editors will make the decision on whether content is considered profane or whether it is a cultural or non-vulgar slang term, after contacting the Student Press Law Center.
  3. The student editors reserve the right to edit quotes for unnecessary profanity, repetition of content, grammar mistakes and vulgarity; quotes that have been edited will be noted accordingly when published.
  4. Any edited quote will be read back to the source prior to publishing and sources will have a chance to make changes.
  5. Staff interviewers have the right to ask a source when necessary to repeat a quote without the use of profane language.




  1. All writing in the media, other than letters to the editor, will be written by students of the journalism program.
  2. Any writing submitted from an outside source for use will be accepted upon request of the student editors or when open opportunities arise, and will be viewed by editor-in-chief(s) and adviser for verification.
  3. Any material submitted from an outside source can be edited by the student editors and must comply to this policy.
  4. Writing must be the original work of the writer and not previously published on any publication, unless otherwise specified by the adviser and editor-in-chief(s).




  1. All printed editorial subject matter will be determined by the student editors.
  2. The media will not publish any material for which there is evidence that the author is using the paper for inappropriate personal gain.
  3. The media will endeavor to provide a chance for comment on all sides of a critical issue in the same edition.
  4. The student editors, 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 publication’s staff. Signed columns or reviews represent only the opinion of the author.




  1. All coverage of controversial issues will occur upon a timely subject.
  2. All sides of the issue will be presented and reviewed so as to refrain from any bias, with the exception of opinions pieces.
  3. In news, all sides of a school, community, city, state, national, or international political issue will be presented factually so as to inform rather than promote or endorse.
  4. The media will not publish material that is unnecessarily obscene, libelous or an unwarranted invasion of privacy.
  5. The media will not attack people and/or organizations;
  6. If question on the veracity of publication persists, the issue will be brought to the student editors who must consider the following questions before publication of the piece:
    1. Why is it a concern?
    2. What is its journalistic purpose?
    3. Is the information accurate and complete?
    4. Are any important POVs omitted?
    5. How would we feel if the story was about ourselves or someone we know?
    6. What are the consequences’ of the publication?
    7. Is there a logical explanation to anyone who challenges the issue?
    8. Is it worth risking our credibility?
    9. What are the alternatives?




  1. All articles, graphics, photos, art, columns, pages, reviews and other material creatively conceived, with exception to staff editorials, mug shots and cutouts will be bylined with the producer’s name.
  2. All bylined writers will be held accountable for their work.
  3. When more than one person has contributed creatively to a piece of work, any person who has contributed to the work must be bylined as a producer.




  1. The media will specialize in and emphasize on informing their readers of school news and unique students in the Kirkwood High School community.
  2. The media will cover community, state, national and international news if it is directly relevant to the school community, and includes local angle.
  3. The media will strive to provide coverage to all school organizations and functions.
  4. When faced with undesirable news such as student or staff or faculty crimes, the publications will endeavor to publish the facts correctly, explain the issue and put a stop to any speculative stories that inevitably develop.
  5. Major district issues and news will be priority over school news (these major issues will be decided by the student editors).




  1. Any current student, staff member, faculty member or building administrator who dies during the year will be recognized in the school media unless the family declines.
  2. The media will publish factual information (date of birth, date of death, survivors) in an article including one mug shot if possible on
  3. The school media will work to obtain permission from the deceased’s family before publishing any information regarding the cause of death; if permission is not granted, the student editors reserves the final say in publication of cause of death. 
  4. The school media will treat all deaths in a tasteful, respectful way.
  5. An issue, or portion of an issue, should not be dedicated to or in memory of the deceased.
  6. Any current student, staff member, faculty member or building administrator who dies during the year will be recognized in the school yearbook if still within press time.
  7. The school yearbook will publish factual information (date of birth, date of death, survivors, organizations, hobbies and interests) on one page after the respective grade of school pictures in the reference section.




  1. All captions will record the who and other necessary information in the photo.
  2. All photographs must be captioned and bylined, with the exception of mug shots and cutouts.
  3. Bylines are required on all online photos and galleries.
  4. Artwork represents the interpretations of the artist, not necessarily of the staff or KHS.
  5. The publications will not publish any photos, illustrations etc. that ridicule, demean or misleadingly represent any individual or group unless it is an editorial visual. 
  6. Electronic manipulations changing the essential truth of the photo or illustration will be clearly labeled if used.




  1. The student editors retains the right to determine whether, subjectively, an error has been made.
  2. Known and or found errors that are brought to the attention of the school media will be addressed regardless if realized by author, audience or staff member.
  3. Staff members will strive to correct errors prior to publication; however, if the student editors determines a significant error is printed, the student editors will determine the manner and timeliness of  a correction.
  4. Major corrections are determined by the editors and adviser.




  1. The publications will not accept advertising for products that are illegal for minors to purchase and/or use.
  2. Students not of legal age whose photographs appear in an advertisement of the publications are required to sign a model release form, as well as their legal guardian.
  3. The publications will not run advertisements without a proper signature on the advertising contract which explains terms of payment, content, size, publishing dates and includes attached layout.
  4. The publications will accept personal or classified advertising.
  5. All advertisements need to be approved by the student editors, any advertisement not deemed appropriate by student editors will not run.
  6. The publications will cease to publish advertising of any advertiser that does not meet payment obligations specified in school contact.
  7. All advertisers will receive a complimentary issue of the Call in which their advertisement has run, or Pioneer if advertisers purchase the price designated by the contract and opted to receive a yearbook.
  8. If a published advertisement is incorrect in substantive content, a reduced price or corrected run will be negotiated.
  9. Web advertisements appear in a specified section of the website.
  10. Advertising that appears in the media is not necessarily endorsed by the media or its staff members, editorial board or adviser.
  11. Bills which are not paid by May 1 will incur an additional fee of 30% of the original balance. An additional fee, or 30% the original balance, will be added the first of each month until the bill is paid.




  1. Daily updates will be made to the website throughout the week during the school year. While less frequent, updates will be made to the site during breaks.
  2. The school newsmagazine (excluding Senior Mag) will be distributed free of charge to all students according to a distribution schedule approved by the adviser and editors. Magazines will be distributed every 3-5 weeks, unless specified otherwise by the adviser and student editors.
  3. Current copies of the school newsmagazine will also be displayed in the library, main office, guidance office and racks around school.
  4. Advertising revenues and fundraising are to be used to pay for the school media printing costs, supplies and other media expenses.
  5. All budget surpluses are to be used for future production of the school media.
  6. The Kirkwood Call will be distributed in the mornings and during homeroom.
  7. Total press run each issue is approximately 1,500 unless specified otherwise by adviser or student editors.
  8. Exchange publications are received and displayed in South Journalism (SJ).
  9. Exchange publications are mailed to other media rooms across the US.




  1. Senior portraits must be taken by company specified by yearbook staff.
  2. All senior portraits must arrive to the yearbook staff by the posted date given to the yearbook staff by the senior portrait photographer.
  3. Any senior who fails to get their yearbook portrait taken by the senior photographer contracted by the yearbook staff, will not be pictured in the yearbook senior section.
  4. Portraits provided by the school photographer will be used for students in grades 9-12 and for the faculty members. Because of plant deadlines and the possibility of students missing portrait day, the yearbook staff is not responsible for unavailable portraits of students.
  5. The section/grade placement of student portraits will be determined by the student’s first semester status.
  6. Grade designations will only be changed with written permission from the student, student’s parent, and a member of the administration.
  7. Photo omissions will only occur for students or faculty with written permission by the student and a member of the administration.
  8. The student editors reserve the right to review or omit questionable or inappropriate portraits.
  9. Names in mugs section will appear as supplied by the student during portrait day unless otherwise requested.
  10. Portraits will consist of one individual only. No other persons or props are permitted.




  1. Any groups with school sponsors are eligible to take a group photo for the yearbook.
  2. Yearbook will cover school sponsored, board approved, and established clubs/sports. All other sports or clubs will be reviewed by the student editors.
  3. The student editors reserve the right to review or omit questionable or inappropriate portraits.
  4. Portraits will consist of group members and sponsors only. Props are not permitted without prior approval.




  1. Letters to the editor will be printed in the newsmagazine or on the website.
  2. Guidelines to write letters to the editor will be printed every issue in the newspaper and available online at
  3. Letters to the editor may be submitted to the Publications mailbox in the Welcome Center, to SJ, or emailed to [email protected] or [email protected].
  4. Letters to the editor should not exceed 300 words, must be signed and must include the writer’s email or phone number for verification.
  5. Letters to the editor will be verified by a member of the student editors to determine the authenticity of the writer.
  6. No material will be printed where content is obscene, invasive of another’s’ privacy, encouraging physical disruption of school activities and/or implies libel.
  7. The KHS Media student editors 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.
  8. All letters to the editor become the property of the school newsmagazine upon receipt and will not be returned to the author.
  9. Online comments will require a name and email address submitted that are verifiable.
  10. Alerts will be sent to staff editors each time a comment is posted to the site.
  11. Online comments that are found in violation of the editorial policy will be removed as quickly as possible.
  12. Personal attacks are not allowed.




  1. The reviewer must have experience in the area in which they are reviewing.
  2. All reviews will be bylined and all reviews will be expressed opinions of the author, the student editors and newsmagazine staff do not express opinions on the subject matter.
  3. All reviews will be to evaluate and inform, not to promote.
  4. Evaluative criteria used will be determined by student editors depending on whether the event or item being reviewed is professional or amateur in nature.
  5. All reviews must first be reviewed by the opinions editor prior to publishing.
  6. All reviews need to be reviewed and printed in a current and timely manner.




  1. Social media will be used to promote KHS media, to promote published content and to engage the KHS community.
  2. The student editors reserve the right to remove comments that violate this policy, including but not limited to those with profanity, bullying or demeaning language or factually incorrect claims that are potentially harmful. The student editors also reserve the right to remove comments from and block spam accounts.
  3. Information posted on social media platforms should be held to the same standard as all other reporting in terms of information gathering and fact checking.
  4. The official social media accounts should avoid promotion of events and remain objective, reporting what is fact.
  5. Information gained through social media channels should be verified through multiple channels before passing it along to others.
  6. Audience engagement through social media should be done in a professional manner.
  7. Transparency is important. Mistakes made on social media posts should be corrected as soon as possible.




  1. The goal of the media marketing is to promote and expand the media viewing audience.
  2. The publicity team will work with all aspects of the media.
  3. The publicity team will work to attend most major events held by the district or school with the intent of promotion.
  4. All events or important dates known by adviser, staff members or student editors will be passed along to the staff.
  5. Ad trade-outs are regulated by the Business Editor, ad trade-outs are given on a 1 for 1 basis.
  6. The Social Media Editor will work with the web team to promote the publication through outside sources such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.




  1. Sources will be able to have quotes read back at the time of the interview or at the reporter’s initiative.
  2. Sources will not be able to arbitrarily demand to read the reporter’s completed story and then perform editing tasks on that story.
  3. The media reporters will endeavor to include the name and identity of all sources if reporter believes that doing so will not result in endangerment, harassment or any other form of undue physical, mental, emotional anguish for the source.
  4. The media reporters will not, within all boundaries of law, reveal a source who asks to remain nameless.
  5. All media interviewers will respect the interviewees’ rights to have information remain “off the record” if the fact is known before giving the information to the interviewer.
  6. The media will not be reviewed by anyone outside of the student editors aside from the adviser prior to its release to the public. The adviser is allowed to review the publication, but not required to, for the sole purpose of acting as legal consultant and educator in terms of unprotected speech; the adviser reading content is not considered prior review unless he/she makes changes or directs changes.




  1. All students and staff of Kirkwood High School are eligible for publication in the KHS student media.
  2. Any student or staff member wishing to ‘opt out’ of being published in the student media needs to fill out the appropriate ‘opt out’ form with the guidance office and alert the student media adviser of plans to ‘opt out.’
  3. All efforts will be made to keep students and staff who have ‘opted out’ of coverage from publication in the KHS Media.
  4. All students and staff of Kirkwood High School may opt to be referenced by a preferred name or nickname in KHS Media, provided said nickname aligns with conduct as delineated in KHS’s editorial policy. The student or staff member must provide express consent and be of sound mind for said accommodation to be made.
  5. All students and staff of Kirkwood High School may opt to be referenced by preferred pronouns in KHS Media, provided said pronouns align with conduct as delineated in KHS’s editorial policy. The student or staff member must provide express consent and be of sound mind for said accommodation to be made.






  1. Editor-in-chief(s) and other editor level positions are chosen by faculty adviser, with input from the previous year’s student editors.
  2. New and returning staffers are judged by application, previous work, potential and perquisite class work.
  3. Applicants are not turned down because of age, race, sex, religion, mental or physical handicap that do not impair editorial responsibilities.
  4. Staff applications are due in January of each year prior to registration.
  5. The staff and editors are selected each March. The adviser reserves the right to make changes to the list as he/she deems necessary.
  6. Editor titles and positions are not named until after all media have finalized publication for the previous year.




  1. All individuals involved with KHS media are considered a team, each member is expected to complete all assigned stories, pages, photos, etc. on or before the assigned deadline. Staff members, including editors, may be dismissed from their positions and/or the publications’ staff itself if any of the following violations occur:
    1. Continuously missed deadlines (dismissal procedures will take place by choice of adviser and editor(s)-in-chief)
    2. Plagiarism
    3. Quote falsification
    4. Vandalism or theft of publication equipment
    5. Continuous negative or pessimistic attitude toward staff member or adviser
    6. Submitting an advanced page design, story, photo or other publishable item to anyone outside the media staff without approval by the student editors
    7. Two suspensions in one academic year
    8. Failing to fulfill job as outlined in the job description
  1. Major infractions will result in immediate dismissal from staff duties and dismissal from class and staff at the end of semester (major infractions include but are not limited to the following: plagiarism, vandalism, theft).
  2. Minor infractions will be given a written warning for the first one. The second one is immediate dismissal from staff duties and dismissal from class and staff at the end of semester.
  3. Warnings will be written and signed by the adviser and editor-in-chief(s), as well as staff member in question.
  4. An editor will face the possibility of being stripped of her or his title if suspended.
  5. First misdemeanor or arrest will result in the loss of editor’s title, and second will result in dismissal from staff.
  6. Each member of the student editors and adviser will attend a meeting with potentially dismissed student to discuss the issue, adviser will make the final decision.
  7. The academic nature of the school newsmagazine class allows removal of editors or staff members when school and or established media policy is violated.
  8. The above list infractions could all result in dismissal however, staff dismissals are not limited to the listed infractions.
  9. A dismissed staff member receiving academic credit may be given a grade of F and will not be allowed to register for any other journalism courses (will not preempt school policy).
  10. Dismissal procedures are reviewed and approved by the student editors.
  11. The dismissed staff member may appeal their dismissal in writing to the student editors within three school days following dismissal.
  12. All dismissal appeals will be directed to the building principal and the student editors.




  1. Questions or complaints concerning material published in the media should be made to the editor-in-chief(s) who will present the concern at the next scheduled student editors meeting.
  2. Resolutions will be made within the limits of deadlines.




  1. The KHS media should be a member of state, national and/or international organizations.
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Kirkwood High School student newspaper
KHS Editorial Policy