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Letters to the editor and online comments

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Ethical guidelines
Student media should accept letters to the editor or online comments from outside the staff to solidify their status as a designated public forum where students make all final decisions of content. This allows their audience to use their voices as well.

Staff manual process
Print/onlinesprclogo
• A student editor must know the name of the author, and verify the response, even if the letter is published “name withheld by request.” False names or nicknames should not be published.
• Each letter should be no longer than 250 words.
• The source of emailed letters should be verified prior to publication.
• Student staffs should strive to publish all letters received as part of the forum process.
• Student staffs should develop a policy concerning staff member comments or letters to the editor. Such staffers have other avenues to express their opinions in their media, and this is not a common practice for commercial media.
• Staff staffs should reserve the right to ask the writer to edit for grammar, length and clarity instead of editing letters for them.

Online only
• Online comments require a name and email address for verification prior to publication.
• Online comments will be moderated by student editors prior to publication.

 

Resources
Online Comments: Allow Anyone to Post or Monitor and Approve First. An Ethics Lesson, JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee
Online Ethics Guidelines for Student Media, JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee
A Newsroom Guide for Handling Online Comments, JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee

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