Adviser Update Summer 2016 - Page 28

list and define unacceptable content for posts. Resources: • Online ethical guidelines • Create a process for takedown demands. While the legal principles are relatively clear, ethical principles might not be. In ethical decisionmaking, there is typically no right or wrong but is a right versus right decision. Such decisions might depend on the mission and goals of your student media. The default position is not to take down anything newsworthy or accurate at the time of original publication unless there are clear, definably correct legal reasons: libel, unwarranted invasion of privacy, obscenity. Everything else stays. The reason: If someone on the staff thought it good enough to post once, it should stay. Maybe establishing guidelines would help students avoid later issues. If material is legally unsupportable or demonstrably inaccurate, the staff would likely, for justifiable journalistic reasons, want to change it. Original posts and articles also have historical/reality value. In Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel’s Elements of Journalism, the first obligation is to publish, no matter the platform, the truth as best we know it. Secondguessing that later, for whatever reason, can set a nasty precedent of what the historical record is. Honoring such requests might also start students on a slippery slope of second-guessing and ultimately self-censorship. If there is a one-time reason, like something later proven to be untrue, then the student staff could make an exception. These exceptions would, by definition, be rare. Lastly, just because students agree to take down an item, does not cleanse the Web of the information, image or information. • Some compromises are okay, according to The Online Privacy Blog. Resources: • Takedown demands? Here is a roadmap of choices, rationale • Determine who owns media content. One approach suggests individual students own the content; publication has rights to use but cannot enforce against others who use the works without permission. The other suggests student media own the rights; students have right to use, but publications can prevent others from using it. To maintain the public form status of student media, the school should not own the rights. Resources: • Who owns student-produced content? Other issues to consider might include: • Establish guidelines for following and friending people, noting the student’s status as a reporter. Friending can be misinterpreted, especially in an election year. Maintaining independence is an important ethical decision. • Create endorsement guidelines. Especially since this is an election year, student media should know they have the right to endorse issues and candidates. Before they do so, they should establish ethical guidelines and procedures for the endorsement process so the community understands their rationale. • Develop guidelines on linking. Linking helps show the context and depth of a source’s position on issues and background about the group. To be transparent, the staff manual should indicate the reasons why you link and that linking does not equal endorsement. • Establish guidelines for publishing names and faces. Remember, there is no legal prohibition against using complete identification or photos online or in print. Names and faces are directory information, and thus publishable under FERPA standards. Setting that foundation, trying to think through as many issues as possible that MIGHT occur and having resources handy when the inevitable unexpected arises are the best steps a staff can take right now.