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Procedures outline mission, policy, ethics to build a forum that cements the package

Staff manual procedures

What is it/definition: A good staff manual provides pathways to help students to carry out their roles as journalists. Our model shares four suggested pathways for student media to study and adapt.

 

Mission statement, editorial policy, ethical guidelines and staff manual  complement each other in a way to show student participants and community members what they can expect.

 

Important items of note  Our models are just that. Study then modify them. Adapt them to reflect as well as illuminate best practices. Ideally, the staff manual and its sections will guide student media into being public forums for student expression without prior review where students make all content decisions.

 

Guideline:  The mission statement, editorial policy, ethical guidelines and staff manual should each be in separate sections of the manual to avoid confusion, especially between law and ethics.

 

Procedure: Students can study other schools’ and teachers’ manuals, stressing the need for clarity and local relevance. Having editorial guidelines and staff manual, though, does not mean they are right or effective.

 

During the past several years, we have seen:

  • Instances where having too much information in a policy can lead to unforeseen consequences, including censorship;
  • Instances where wrong wording created inaccurate interpretation and potential intervention from outside the staff;
  • Instances where items presented with policy can lead to procedures interpreted as policy.

 

Remember to keep mission brief and focused on principles and goals. Policy should be legally consistent. It can use must and will. Ethics is not absolute; it ought to use the should. Ethical guidelines are not absolutes, should not be used to spark school punishment if not  followed and can be changeable. Policy is like laws and should not be often changed. Its focus can be will and must. Staff manual procedures and processes are not policy and should not be confused with policy. Manual language urges the daily decision-making process, focusing on why and how.

 

Quick Tip:

 

QT indexThis represents our collection of Quick Tips, where ethics and procedures work together to create guidelines for handling issues that face students daily. Links exist to many valuable sites on a wide variety of  topics and journalistic  approaches.

 

SPRC blogs

How to use this guide for ethical use of staff manualA good staff manual creates an atmosphere consistent with board-and media-level policies’ sound legal principles and uses ethical guidelines to shape procedure. Such a roadmap can help students justify content to administrators or introduce new staffers to common newsroom policies.

 

Mission statements  outline values and role.

Policies – board-and media- levels– dictate what principles focus the student media.

Ethical guidelinesestablish guides to apply the principles.

Staff manual proceduresframe daily steps necessary to complete the beliefs, attitudes and standards of each of the previous points.

 

Policy sets standards and staff manuals ethically carry them out Having editorial guidelines and staff manual, though, does not mean they are right or effective.

In the last year, we have seen:

  • Instances where having too much information in a policy can lead to unforeseen consequences, including censorship;
  • Instances where wrong wording created inaccurate interpretation and potential intervention from outside the staff;
  • Instances where items presented with policy can lead to procedures interpreted as policy.

 

From mission to manual: Fitting the pieces into a strong Foundation  The four pieces of the journalistic puzzle – mission statement, editorial policy, ethical guidelines and staff manual – complement each other in a way to show student participants and community members what they can expect. Taken together, they lead journalists to carry out their key roles, information gathering, thorough interviewing, observing, researching and leadership.

Mission statements  outline values and role.

Policies – board-and media- levels– dictate what principles focus the student media.

Ethical guidelinesestablish guides to apply the principles.

Staff manual proceduresframe daily steps necessary to complete the beliefs, attitudes and standards of each of the previous points.

http://jeasprc.org/curriculum-to-help-students-formulate-policies-guidelines-and-procedures/

 

SPRC adds six new ethics-staff manual models  Models exist to help students and advisers determine what their legal and ethical handbook should look like. These models are not meant to just be copied but to be adapted to fit into your local needs.

 

Sitemap for developing policy and ethics in student mediaPick one model from policies and as many as you need from the ethics/staff manual sections and you are on your way to building your own Foundations package.  We designed the ethics and staff manual sections into four main segments, from establishing the principles and ethical guidelines to evaluating them.

 

Editor-staff relationshipsEditors should be aware of potential challenges that may arise as a result of both positive and negative relationships with peers. While it may be unrealistic for editors to define absolute policies, they should use the staff manual as an opportunity to address ethical considerations of relationships with suggested model behavior.  (Example of ethics-staff manual guideline)

 

Staff Conduct   Students participating in scholastic media should hold themselves to high standards to earn and preserve trust and respect from the audiences they serve. Lapses in judgment affect the staff as well as the credibility of the media they produce. Students should realize that discipline problems or poor choices extend beyond individual consequences.

 

PowerPoint on Policies and manualsThe goal of a mission statement is to set the overarching  purpose of student media briefly. Our model raises some new thinking for a Legal and Ethical Handbook.

 

Curriculum to help students formulate policies, guidelines and proceduresStudents will analyze current policies and write guidelines and procedures. Students will then analyze the others’ classwork and provide feedback. Students will be able to rewrite their contribution after the feedback is given. Students will also audit the publication’s diversity.

 

Podcast/RPM:

 

JEA law/ethics curriculum:

 

SPLC resources:

 

Other resources:

 

 

Related Content: Foundation/ Staff Guidelines | Mission | Policy | Ethical guidelines | Prior Review | Restraint | Censorship

 

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