The Student News Site of Pattonville High School


The Student News Site of Pattonville High School


The Student News Site of Pattonville High School


PHS Publications Editorial Policy

Journalistic integrity is of the utmost importance and we will dedicate ourselves to the accurate and objective dissemination of information to all readers. We will provide news, insightful analysis, and entertainment and will uphold a professional code of journalism ethics by maintaining truth, accuracy, and objectivity. We will protect and exercise our First Amendment rights, not only for our own benefit, but for the benefit of all high school journalists past, present, and future.

Thanks to The JEA Model Editorial Policy for guiding us through this process.

“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….”

-The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

“The vigilant protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American schools.”

-Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District

The PHS Publications Editorial Policy pertains to all PHS publications, including the newsmagazine, Pirate Press; the yearbook, ECHO; and the website, The full editorial policy is available on

The rights of freedom of expression and equal protection of the law will be observed in regard to student publications and distribution of materials, either school-sponsored or non-school-sponsored.  The observance of these rights must be balanced against the duty of educating students in an orderly manner to protect the rights of all.  Therefore, students may be required to submit publications or other literature for approval prior to distribution.

The principal, or designee, may deny approval of the content or the distribution of any literature, which s/he reasonably determines:

  1. Would cause a substantial disruption or interference with school activities
  2. Is patently offensive to a substantial portion of the school community due to the depiction or description of sexual conduct, violence or morbidity, or the use of language in such literature which is inappropriate for the environment as judged by the standards of the school community, or is otherwise detrimental to the welfare of the members of that community
  3. Is, or tends to be, injurious of the reputation of any persons, and is false, misleading, or unreasonably critical
  4. Would substantially interfere with the rights of other persons


As it is essential to preserve the freedom of the press in order to preserve a free society,

  1. The media will serve the best interest of the students and faculty of Pattonville High School, keeping itself free from any commercial obligations distracting from this purpose; this is defined by the media itself;
  2. Any decisions affecting the publications on all levels will be made by the editorial board, the adviser is allowed to give legal advice and their opinion, but the final decision rests in the hands of the editorial board;
  3. All media will vigorously resist all attempts at censorship, particularly pre-publication censorship;
  4. All media retain the right to publish any and all material attained through an interview by a staff member of the publications staff, holding that the interviewee was made aware that the information could be published in any form at any time;
  5. Student journalists may use print and electronic media to report news and information, to communicate with other students and individuals, to ask questions of and consult with experts and to gather material to meet their newsgathering and research needs;
  6. PHS Publications and its staff are protected by and bound to the principles of the First Amendment and other protections and limitations afforded by the Constitution and the various laws and court decisions implementing those principles;
  7. PHS Publications will not publish any material determined by student editors or the student editorial board to be unprotected, that is, material that is libelous, obscene, materially disruptive of the school process, an unwarranted invasion of privacy, a violation of copyright or a promotion of products or services unlawful (illegal) as to minors as defined by state or federal law;
  8. Definitions and examples for the above instances of unprotected speech can be found in Law of the Student Press published by the Student Press Law Center.


  1. The editorial board will consist of all student staff editors.
  2. The editorial board decides on all decisions that pertain directly to PHS Publications and their interests.
  3. No member of the editorial board shall have more than one vote on the board.
  4. All members of the editorial board and the adviser will elect a replacement for board members who have been dismissed.
  5. All members of the editorial board are expected to know their duties and jobs in the room and must understand the consequences of not fulfilling said jobs.
  6. The student editor and staff who want appropriate outside legal advice regarding proposed content – should seek attorneys knowledgeable in media law such as those of the Student Press Law Center. Final content decisions and responsibility shall remain with the student editorial board.
  7. The duly appointed editor or co-editors shall interpret and enforce this editorial policy.


  1. The adviser is a professional teaching staff member and is in charge of the class just as in a conventional classroom situation.
  2. Is a certified journalism teacher that serves as a professional role model, motivator, catalyst for ideas and professionalism, and an educational resource.
  3. Provides a journalistic, professional learning atmosphere for students by allowing them to make the decision of content for the media and ensuring the media will remain an open forum.
  4. Guides the newspaper staff in accordance with approved editorial policy and aids the educational process related to producing the newspaper.
  5. May caution, act as legal consultant and educator terms of unprotected speech, but has no power over censorship or veto except for constitutionally valid reasons.
  6. Will keep abreast of the latest trends on journalism and share these with students.
  7. Will submit the school newspaper, yearbook, and online content produced by the students to rating services and contests in order for the school publications staff to receive feedback.
  8. Will forward any received correspondence and/or information to the appropriate editors.
  9. Will provide information to the staff about journalism scholarships and other financial aid, and make available information and contacts concerning journalism as a career.
  10. Will work with the faculty and administration to help them understand the freedoms accorded to the students and the professional goals of the school publications.
  11. The adviser will not act as a censor or determine the content of the paper.
  12. The adviser will offer advice and instruction, following the Code of Ethics for Advisers established by the Journalism Education Association as well as the Canons of Professional Journalism.
  13. School officials shall not fire or otherwise discipline advisers for content in student media that is determined and published by the student staff.


  1. The Pattonville High School administration will provide the students of PHS with a qualified journalism instructor to serve as a professional role model, adequate classroom equipment, and space for a sound journalism program.
  2. PHS administration will offer equal opportunity to minority and/or marginalized students to participate in journalism programs.
  3. PHS administration may require to view and approve publication content before publishing.



All content decisions will be made in occurrence to the following provisions, while keeping in mind that the overall purpose, role, and goal of all Pattonville Publications is to

  1. Inform, interpret, and entertain their viewers through accurate and factual reports, where information has been thoroughly gathered and information has been completely verified;
  2. Serve as an educational laboratory experience for those on staff;
  3. Be accurate, fair, and impartial in its coverage of issues that affect the school community;
  4. Pattonville Publications will not avoid publishing a story solely on the basis of possible dissent or controversy;
  5. Cover the total school population as effectively and accurately as possible;
  6. The staff of PHS Publications will strive to report all issues in a legal, objective, accurate and ethical manner, according to the Canons of Professional Journalism developed by the Society for Professional Journalists. The Canons of Professional Journalism include a code of ethics concerning accuracy, responsibility, integrity, conflict of interest, impartiality, fair play, freedom of the press, independence, sensationalism, personal privacy, obstruction of justice, creditability, and advertising.


  1. The media will not print unnecessary profanity.
  2. The editorial board will make the decision on whether the content is considered profane or whether it is a cultural or non-vulgar slang term.
  3. The editorial board reserves the right to edit quotes for unnecessary profanity or unnecessarily offensive words, quotes that have been edited will be noted accordingly when published.
  4. Any edited quote will be read back to the source prior to publishing and sources will have a chance to make changes.
  5. Staff interviewers have the right to ask a source when necessary to repeat a quote without the use of profane language.


  1. All writing in the media, other than letters to the editor in the newspaper, will be written by students of the journalism program and will not be accepted otherwise.
  2. PHS students outside of the media staffs will have the opportunity to submit writing to the media.
  3. Any writing submitted from an outside source for use will be accepted upon request of the editorial board or when open opportunities arise, and will be viewed by EICs and adviser for verification.
  4. Any material submitted from an outside source can be edited by the editorial board and must comply to this policy.
  5. Writing must be the original work of the writer and not previously published an any publication, unless otherwise specified by the adviser and EICs.


  1. All editorials printed will be bylined as: “PattonvilleTODAY Staff”.
  2. Editorial ideas may be submitted to the editorial board by all members of the appropriate staff.
  3. All printed editorial subject matter will be determined by the editorial board.
  4. The media will not publish any material for which there is evidence that the author is using the paper for inappropriate personal gain.
  5. The media will endeavor to provide a chance for comment on all sides of a critical issue in the same edition.
  6. The editorial board, which consists of the staff ’s student editors, will determine the content, including all unsigned editorials.
  7. The views stated in editorials represent that of a majority of the editorial board. Signed columns or reviews represent only the opinion of the author.


  1. All coverage of controversial issues will occur upon a timely subject.
  2. All sides of the issue will be presented and reviewed so as to refrain from any bias, with exception of opinions.
  3. In news, all sides of a school, community, city, state, national, or international political issue will be presented factually so as to inform rather than promote or endorse.
  4. The media will not publish material that is unnecessarily obscene, libelous, or unwarranted invasive of privacy.
  5. The media will not attack
  6. If question on the veracity of publication persists, the issue will be brought to the editorial board who must consider the following questions before publication of the piece:
    1. Why is it a concern?
    2. What is it’s journalistic purpose?
    3. Is the information accurate and complete?
    4. Are any important POV omitted?
    5. How would we feel if the story was about ourselves or someone we know?
    6. What are the consequences’ of the publication?
    7. Is there a logical explanation to anyone who challenges issue?
    8. Is it worth risking our credibility?
    9. What are the alternatives?


  1. All articles, graphics, photos, art, columns, pages, reviews, and other material creatively conceived, with exception to staff editorials, mug shots and cut-outs will be bylined with the producer’s name.
  2. All bylined writers will be held accountable for their work.
  3. When more than one person has contributed creatively to a piece of work, any person who has contributed to the work must be bylined as a producer.


  1. The media will specialize in and emphasize on informing their readers of school news and unique students of the Pattonville High School community.
  2. The media will cover community, state, national, and international news if it is directly relevant to the school community, and includes local angle.
  3. The media will strive to provide coverage to all school organizations and functions.
  4. When faced with the undesirable news such as student or staff or faculty crimes, the publications will endeavor to publish the facts correctly, explain the issue, and put a stop to any speculative stories that inevitably develop.
  5. Major district issues and news will be priority over school news (these major issues will be decided by the editorial board).


  1. Any current student, staff member, faculty member or building administrator that dies during the year will be recognized in the school media.
  2. The media will publish factual information (date of birth, date of death, survivors, organizations, hobbies, interests) in an obituary including one mug shot if possible in the Pirate Press or on PattonvilleTODAY.
  3. The school media will work to obtain permission from the deceased’s family before publishing any information regarding the cause of death, if permission is not granted, the editorial board reserves the final say in publication of cause of death. Suicide will not be listed as a cause of death unless requested by parents or guardians.
  4. The school media will treat all deaths in a tasteful, respectful way.
  5. An issue, or portion of an issue, should not be dedicated to or in memory of the deceased.
  6. Any current student, staff member, faculty member, or building administrator that dies during the year will be recognized in the school yearbook.
  7. The school yearbook will publish factual information (date of birth, date of death, survivors, organizations, hobbies and interests) and one 1” x 2” mug shot if possible in a 1/8 page space.


  1. All cutlines will record the who and other necessary information in the photo.
  2. All photographs must be captioned and bylined, with the exception of mugs and cutouts.
  3. Bylines are required on all online photos and galleries.
  4. Any photographs that contain any inappropriate attire or actions must be reshot.
  5. Artwork represents the interpretations of the artist, not necessarily of the staff or PHS.
  6. The publications will not publish any photos, illustrations etc. that ridicule, demean, or misleadingly represent any individual or group.
  7. Electronic manipulations changing the essential truth of the photo or illustration will be clearly labeled if used.


  1. Concerns about errors in the school media may be submitted though the adviser in B110.
  2. The editorial board retains the right to determine whether, in fact, an error has been made.
  3. Known and or found errors that are brought to the attention of the school media will be addressed regardless if realized by author, audience, or staff member.
  4. Staff members will strive to correct errors prior to publication; however, if the editorial board determines a significant error is printed, the editorial board will determine the manner and timeliness of a correction.
  5. Major corrections are determined by the editors and adviser.
  6. If changes are made to a web story once a story has been posted, the change will be noted along with the date and time the change was made.


  1. While the editorial board will handle takedown requests on a case-by-case basis, the student media practices a put-up policy which involves a series of proactive steps to prevent the need for future removal of information.
  2. Put Up policy steps:
    1. Independently confirm information to be used for accuracy, context, perspective, truth and coherence.
    2. Determine whether sources used are credible and representative of diverse and knowledgeable viewpoints.
    3. Clearly attribute all information as needed for clarity and authority.
    4. Avoid anonymous sources except in situations where they are the best source and identities need protection.
    5. Determine whether sources used have conflicts of interest.
    6. Ensure your information has gone through a vetting process with editors.
    7. If using teens or young people as sources, do so with an understanding of minimizing harm as well as publishing truthful and contextual information.
    8. If using social media sources, be sure information is attributed, accurate, in context and used legally and ethically.
    9. Train and background reporters in legal and ethical issues.
    10. If using crowd-generated content, clearly indicate the source and ensure its credibility.
    11. Be skeptical of any information that cannot be verified.


  1. The publications will not accept advertising for products that are illegal for minors to purchase and/or use.
  2. Students not of legal age whose photographs appear in an advertisement of the publications are required to sign a model release form, as well as their legal guardian.
  3. The publications will not run advertising without a proper signature on the advertising contract which explains terms of payment, content, size, publishing dates, includes attached layout which explains the terms of payment, content, size.
  4. The publications will not accept personal or classified advertising.
  5. All ads need to be approved by editorial board, any ad not deemed appropriate by board will not run.
  6. The publications will cease to publish advertising of any advertiser that does not meet payment obligations specified in school contact.
  7. All advertisers will receive a complementary subscription of the Pirate Press in which their ad has run, or ECHO if advertisers purchase the price designated by the contract and opted to receive a yearbook.
  8. If a published advertisement is incorrect in substantive content, a reduced price or corrected run will be negotiated.
  9. If $200 is spent on print advertising, a complimentary online ad is given to the advertiser.
  10. Web ads appear in a specified section of the website and randomly rotate through the area each time the page is refreshed.
  11. Advertisers who specifically purchase web ads, as opposed to being given the complimentary one, will have their ad appear more frequently in the designated area.
  12. Advertising that appears in the media is not necessarily endorsed by the media or its staff members, editorial board or adviser.
  13. All ads are billed on Oct. 1 unless alternative arrangements are made with the adviser.
  14. Bills which are not settled by Nov 1. will incur an additional fee of 30% of original balance. An additional fee or 30% the original balance will be added the first of each month until the bill is paid.


  1. The paper will begin at no less than 16 pages in magazine format unless it is a special edition. The number of pages can however be altered if need be under the decision of the adviser and/or editorial board.
  2. Daily updates will be made to the website throughout the week during the school year. While less frequent, updates will be made to the site during breaks.
  3. The school newspaper will be distributed free of charge to all students according to a distribution schedule approved by the adviser and editors. Newspapers will be distributed every twice in each semester, unless specified otherwise by the adviser and editorial board.
  4. Current copies of the school newspaper will also be displayed on the Pirate Press newsstands in the main lobby, cafeteria, library, and outside B110.
  5. Advertising revenues and fundraising are to be used to pay for the school media printing costs, supplies, and other media expenses.
  6. All budget surpluses are to be used for future production of the school media.
  7. The paper will be distributed during first hour on the day of distribution.
  8. Total press run each issue is approximately 750 unless specified otherwise by adviser or editorial board.
  9. The school yearbook will come out during registration for the following school year, unless specified otherwise by the adviser and editorial board.
  10. The school yearbook will be sold for $50 from registration until November 1. Price will then increase to $65 after that date. Extra copies of the book will be sold for $75 at registration on a first-come, first-served basis.
  11. Total press run each issue of the yearbook is approximately 1,400.


  1. Senior portraits must be taken by company specified by yearbook staff.
  2. All senior portraits must arrive to the yearbook staff by the posted date given to the yearbook staff by the senior portrait photographer.
  3. Any senior who fails to get their yearbook portrait taken by the senior photographer contracted by the yearbook staff, will not be pictured in the yearbook senior section.
  4. Portraits provided by the school photographer will be used for students in grades 9-12 and for the faculty members. Because of plant deadlines and the possibility of students missing portrait day, the yearbook staff is not responsible for unavailable portraits of students.
  5. The section/grade placement of student portraits will be determined by the student’s first semester status.
  6. Grade designations will only be changed with written permission by student, student’s parent, and a member of the administration.
  7. Photo omissions will only occur for students or faculty with written permission by the student and a member of the administration.
  8. Editorial board reserves the right to review or omit questionable or inappropriate portraits.
  9. Names in mugs section will appear as supplied by the student during portrait day unless otherwise requested.
  10. Portraits will consist of one individual only. No other persons or props are permitted.


  1. Any groups with school sponsors are eligible to take a group photo for the yearbook.
  2. Yearbook will cover school sponsored, board approved, and established clubs/sports. All other sports or clubs will be reviewed by the editorial board.
  3. Editorial board reserves the right to review or omit questionable or inappropriate portraits.
  4. Portraits will consist of group members and sponsors only. Props are not permitted without prior approval.
  5. Face painting in group portraits is not permitted.


  1. Letters to the editor will be printed in the opinion section on
  2. Letters to the editor may be submitted through the Contact Us form on
  3. Letters to editor should not exceed 300 words.
  4. Letters to the editor will be verified by a member of the editorial board to determine the authenticity of the writer.
  5. No material will be printed where content is obscene, invasive of others’ privacy, encouraging physical disruption of school activities, and/or implies libel.
  6. The PHS Publications editorial board reserves the right to withhold a letter or column or other submission if it contains unprotected speech or grammatical errors that could hamper its meaning.
  7. Online comments will require a name and email address submitted that are verifiable.
  8. Online comments will be reviewed by the PattonvilleTODAY editors before posting.
  9. Alerts will be sent to staff editors each time a comment is posted to the site.
  10. Online comments that are found in violation of the editorial policy will not be approved.
  11. Personal attacks are not allowed.


  1. The reviewer must have experience in the area in which they are reviewing.
  2. All reviews will be bylined and all reviews will be expressed opinions of authors, the editorial board and newspaper staff does not express opinions on the subject matter.
  3. All reviews will be to evaluate and inform, not to promote.
  4. Evaluative criteria used will be determined by editorial board depending on whether the event or item being reviewed is professional or amateur in nature.
  5. Review ideas may be submitted to the editorial board by all members of PHS Publications.
  6. All reviews must first be reviewed by the copy editor prior to publishing.
  7. All reviews need to be reviewed and printed in a current and timely manner.


  1. Social media will be used to promote PHS Publications, to promote published content, and to engage the Pattonville community.
  2. The editorial board reserves the right to remove comments that violate any provisions hitherto outlined by this policy.
  3. Information posted on social media platforms should be held to the same standard as all other reporting in terms of information gathering and fact checking.
  4. Information gained through social media channels should be verified through multiple channels before passing it along to others.
  5. Audience engagement through social media should be done in a professional manner.
  6. Transparency is important. Mistakes made on social media posts should be corrected as soon as possible and any deleted posts should be acknowledged in subsequent postings.


  1. Sources will be able to have quotes read back at the time of interview or at reporter’s initiative.
  2. Sources will not be able to arbitrarily demand to read the reporters completed story and then perform editing tasks on that story.
  3. The media reporters will endeavor to include the name and identity of all sources if reporter believes that doing so will not result in endangerment, harassment or any other form of undue physical, mental, emotional anguish for the source.
  4. The media reporters will not, within all boundaries of law, reveal a source who asks to remain nameless.
  5. All media interviewers will respect the interviewees rights to have information remain “off the record” if the fact is known before giving the information to the interviewer.
  6. The adviser is allowed to review the publication, but not required to, for the sole purpose of acting as legal consultant and educator in terms of unprotected speech; the adviser reading content is not considered prior review unless he/she makes changes or directs changes.
  7. Students may be required to submit publications or other literature for approval prior to distribution. The principal, or designee, may deny approval of the content or the distribution of any literature according to the board policy previously stated.


  1. All students and staff of Pattonville High School are eligible for publication in the PHS student media.
  2. Any student or staff member wishing to ‘opt out’ of being published in the student media needs to fill out the appropriate ‘opt out’ form with the guidance office and alert the student media adviser of plans to ‘opt out.’
  3. All efforts will be made to keep students and staff who have ‘opted out’ of coverage from publication in PHS Publications.



  1. Editor in chief(s) and other editor-level positions are chosen by the faculty adviser, with input previous year’s editorial board.
  2. New and returning staff are judged by application, previous work, potential and perquisite class work.
  3. Applicants are not turned down because of age, race, sex, religion, mental or physical handicap that do not impair editorial responsibilities.
  4. Editor titles and positions are not named until after all media have finalized publication for the previous year.


  1. All individuals involved with PHS Publications are considered a team, each member is expected to complete all assigned stories, pages, photos, etc. on or before the assigned deadline.
  2. Staff members, including editors, may be dismissed from their positions and/or the publications staff itself if any of following violations occur:
    1. continuously missed deadlines (dismissal procedures will take place by adviser)
    2. Plagiarism
    3. Quote falsification
    4. Vandalism or theft of publication equipment
    5. Continuous negative or pessimistic attitude toward staff member or adviser
    6. Submitting an advanced page design, story, photo or other publishable item to anyone outside the media staff without approval by the editorial board
    7. Two suspensions in one academic year
    8. Failing to fulfill job as outlined in job description
  3. Major infractions will result in immediate dismissal from staff duties and dismissal from class and staff at the end of semester(major infractions include but are not limited to following: plagiarism, vandalism, theft).
  4. Minor infractions will be given a written warning for the first one. The second one is immediate dismissal from staff duties and dismissal from class and staff at end of semester.
  5. Warnings will be written and signed by the adviser and editor-in-chiefs, as well as staff member in question.
  6. An editor will be stripped of his her title if suspended.
  7. First misdemeanor or arrest will result in the loss of editor’s title, and second will result in dismissal from staff.
  8. Each member of the editorial board and adviser will attend a meeting with potentially dismissed student to discuss the issue, adviser will make final decision.
  9. The academic nature of the school newspaper class allows removal of editors or staff members when school and or established media policy is violated.
  10. The above list infractions could all result in dismissal however, staff dismissals are not limited to the listed infractions.
  11. A dismissed staff member receiving academic credit may be given a grade of F and will not be allowed to register for any other journalism courses (will not preempt school policy).
  12. Dismissal procedures are reviewed and approved by the editorial board
  13. The dismissed staff member may appeal their dismissal in writing to the editorial board within three school days following dismissal
  14. All dismissal appeals will be directed to the building principal and the editorial board.


  1. Questions or complaints concerning material published in the media should be made using the Contact Us form on
  2. Resolutions will be made within limits of deadlines.
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PHS Publications Editorial Policy