We follow the NSPA’s Code of Ethics for High School Journalists, which includes seven key points:
1) Be responsible.
2) Be fair.
3) Be honest.
4) Be accurate.
5) Be independent.
6) Minimize harm.
7) Be accountable.
The above list and more information can be found here.
Student journalists on Verde will publish only legally protected speech, following the legal definitions of libel, obscenity and invasion of privacy. Consistent with California Education Code section 48907, the staff also will refrain from publishing material (including submissions from the community) which so incite students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts on school premises or the violation of lawful school regulations, or the substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school. When faced with potential legal questions, staff will contact the Student Press Law Center for advice concerning media law.
Responsibility for content
As per California Ed Code 48907, the student staff of the magazine is entirely responsible for its content; therefore, the content may not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Palo Alto High School or Palo Alto Unified School District faculty, administrators, or the Board of Education. Because school officials are not responsible for the content of the publication, Verde will not be reviewed, restrained or withheld by school officials prior to distribution. Because the staff will control the content of the publication, it will therefore also take financial and legal responsibility for what is published in its print and online form. Consistent with Ed Code 48907, the Verde editors-in-chief are not obliged to print or post an individual staff member’s or community member’s submissions. The editors-in-chief — working in consultation with the whole staff and the adviser — will determine the content of the all unsigned editorials and the letter from the editors. Signed columns or reviews represent only the opinions of individual authors.
Story bylines include the names of all staff writes who contributed to the story. Individual side bars written by writers different than those of the main story include bylines. The order of writers’ names on the bylines have no significance: it is done randomly in print and alphabetically by last name on the website. Editors are not credited on specific bylines for their work. Signed columns or reviews represent only the opinions of individual authors.
Verde encourages productive discussions on the topic of our articles produced in our comment section, and on our social media profiles and posts. All comments are pre-moderated, and we reserve the right to delay, prevent posting, or delete any comments from the website (verdemagazine.com) and social media accounts, for any reason without justification. Comments found to be impersonating, doxxing, or invading the privacy of private individuals; posting libelous or obscene content; spamming posts, links to alternate websites, or self-promotional information, in particular those which ask for money; using bots to post content; and comments which include hate speech—defined as an attack on someone for the reason of their characteristics of a protected group, such as race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sex, gender expression, disability and disease, or immigration status—are subject to be withheld from posting or deletion.
- Controversial Topics: Controversial subjects will be covered when the nature of the content is timely and relevant to our student and community audience. To ensure unbiased reporting, articles will be evidence-based and reflect diverse source opinions. Student journalists reporting on sensitive topics such as sexual violence will receive prior training on how to do so compassionately and accurately using the Poynter Institute’s self-directed “Reporting Sexual Violence” course and other relevant materials.
- Anonymous sources: Anonymous sourcing will be used when the testimony in question is essential to the development of stories concerning controversial or taboo topics. Anonymous sources will only be included if, as outlined by the Poynter Institute, the story is of “overwhelming public concern,” the testimony is “verifiable” and necessary, it is imperative that the source’s identity remain private and reporters can justify both the testimony’s use and the method in which it was received.
- Profanity: Student journalists will refrain from publishing profanity and vulgarity in Verde articles unless deemed by the editorial board as adding news value. Verde reserves the right to edit quotes for unnecessary profanity or vulgar language, and Verde journalists may ask sources to repeat a quote without the use of profane language.
- Accountability: All sources will receive a feedback request form at the end of the semester in which they were contacted, and staff will address responses pertaining to general journalistic conduct (see “Requests to Change or Remove Content” for more specific feedback). During this time, the editorial board will conduct our Diversity Audit, compiling data regarding the age, racial background, gender and if applicable, grade level, of each source to evaluate whether Verde has accurately represented the range of perspectives in our community.
Copyright permission for student work to be published in the magazine and online is inherent in the relationship between Verde and its staff members. Likewise, permission is assumed for those non-staff members who submit material for publication.
A. Sources: Verde prides itself on following the above code of ethics to deliver fair and accurate reporting. Therefore, sources may ask to have their quotes read back to them before publication. Verde reserves the right to publish all on-the-record quotes so long as they are accurate. Once a story is published, our general policy is to not change or remove any content — including, but not limited to, quotes, names and information — due to requests from outside sources. However, we may evaluate requests on a case-by-case basis and attempt to correct any errors found to be false, libelous or dangerous. If a story is altered, readers will be explicitly notified of the edits made. Sources may request information to be taken “off the record” if the request is made prior to the interview, and such content will not be used in writing. However, sensitive or controversial interview content may be removed after the fact if the source has expressed a compelling and reasonable justification.
- Students and Administration: No school official, administration member or student apart from the editorial board and the adviser may review content prior to publication. However, the adviser may, on a case-by-case basis, alert school officials of the general nature of the content if it is clearly expected to impact the daily function of school.
Advertising and financial support
The staff pays all printing and production costs through advertising sales, subscriptions and other fundraisers. Verde will consider publishing all advertisements with signed contracts providing they do not advocate illegal activity for minors and are not deemed by the Editorial Board as racist, sexist, in poor taste and/or otherwise inappropriate for the magazine’s audience. Verde reserves the right to refuse any advertising the editors-in-chief deem inappropriate for the magazine’s readership. Acceptance of an ad for publication does not constitute an endorsement by the staff, adviser, administration, nor the Palo Alto Unified School District. The Verde business managers may be reached at (650) 329-3837 or [email protected]
Updated February 6, 2019