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Guidelines for breaking news

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Foundations_mainEthical guidelines
Journalists may need to act quickly and in less than ideal conditions to cover a breaking news story for their publications. In these times especially, it is important for students to report based on a variety of credible sources with a focus on accuracy rather than rush to release information.sprclogo

Staff manual process
Editors should determine a clear plan for how to handle breaking news with specific considerations about internal staff communication, timing and verification with a checklist or step-by-step outline provided in the staff manual. Training should include discussion and practice of this process based on the staff manual to be sure everyone is prepared prior to a breaking news situation.

Suggestions
• Consider establishing a chain of command or phone tree for when news breaks.
• Establish a process of verification for breaking news and discuss under what circumstances student media might hold or push a story without a complete set of facts or context.
• Ensure sources used are credible and the best for the story.
• Consider whether student media might need a designated meeting place or off-site “command central” if the school is closed down or inaccessible.
• Think about releasing information in increments as it is verified.

Resources
Audio: Breaking News, JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee, Press Rights Minute

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