The Voice

The Voice

The Voice

Editorial policy

Huntley High School Media Editorial Policy

“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 HHS Media Editorial Policy pertains to The Voice student newsmagazine and the website 

The Voice/ are an official student-produced medium of news and information published and produced by Huntley High School News Media Production students. The Voice has been established as a designated public forum for student writers and editors to inform and educate their readers and to discuss issues of concern to their audience. It will not be reviewed or restrained by school officials prior to publication or distribution.  

Because school officials do not engage in prior review, and the content of The Voice is determined by and reflects only the views of the student staff and not school officials or the school itself; its student editorial board and staff members assume complete legal and financial liability for the content of the publication.


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 Huntley High School, keeping itself free from any commercial obligations distracting from this purpose;
  2. Any decisions affecting the publications on all levels will be made by the editorial boards; the adviser is allowed to give legal advice and his/her opinion, but the final decision rests in the hands of the editorial board;
  3. Only the editorial board may prevent material it judges to be in violation of the media editorial policy from being printed;
  4. All media will vigorously resist all attempts at censorship, particularly pre-publication censorship;
  5. 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;
  6. All student media referenced in this editorial policy are designated public forums;
  7. 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;
  8. HHS Media and its staffs 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 (inc. the IL Speech Rights of Student Journalists Act, 2016) and court decisions  implementing those principles;
  9. HHS Media 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;
  10. 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 will make all decisions that pertain directly to HHS media 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 select replacement board members when members have resigned or been dismissed.
  5. All members of the editorial board are expected to know their duties and jobs and must understand the consequences of not fulfilling said jobs. 
  6. The student editors 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 decisions regarding content for the media and ensuring the media will remain an open forum.
  4. Guides the newsmagazine and online staffs in accordance with approved editorial policy and aids the educational process related to producing the newsmagazine.
  5. May caution, act as legal consultant, and educate editors regarding unprotected speech, but has no power to censor 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 newsmagazine 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 newsmagazine or website. 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. 
  12. School officials shall not fire or otherwise discipline advisers for content in student media that is determined and published by the student staffs.


  1. The Huntley High School administration will provide the students of HHS with a qualified journalism instructor to serve as a professional role model, adequate classroom equipment, and space for a sound journalism program.
  2. HHS administration will offer equal opportunity to minority and/or marginalized students to participate in journalism programs.
  3. HHS administration is not required to view and approve publication content before publishing.



All content decisions will be made in accordance with the following provisions, keeping in mind that the overall purpose, role and goal of all HHS Media 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. HHS Media 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 HHS Media 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, credibility, and advertising.


  1. The media will not print unnecessary profanity.
  2. The editorial board will make the decision on whether content is considered profane or whether it is a cultural or non-vulgar slang term. 
  3. The editorial board reserves the right to edit quotations for unnecessary profanity or unnecessarily offensive words. Quotations that have been edited will be noted accordingly when published.
  4. Any edited quotation 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 quotation without the use of profane language.  


  1. Most of the published writing in the media, other than letters to the editor in the newsmagazine, will be written by students of the journalism program.
  2. HHS 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 with this policy.
  5. Writing must be the original work of the writer and not previously published in any publication, unless otherwise specified by the adviser and EICs.


  1. Editorials published in The Voice will reflect a consensus of the members of the editorial board. The subjects of the editorials will be determined by a discussion of the editorial board. Editorial ideas may be submitted to the editorial board by all members of the appropriate staff. 
  2. The media will endeavor to provide a chance for comment on all sides of a critical issue in the same edition.
  3. The editorial board, which consists of the staff’s student editors, will determine the content, including all unsigned editorials. 
  4. Signed columns or reviews represent only the opinion of the author. 
  5. The media will not publish any material for which there is evidence that the author is using the newsmagazine for inappropriate personal gain.


  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 obscene, libelous, or an unwarranted invasion of privacy.
  5. The media will not attack. 
  6. If question on the appropriateness of publication comes up, the issue will be brought to the editorial board who must consider the following questions before publication of the piece:
  • Why is it a concern?
  • What is its journalistic purpose?
  • Is the information accurate and complete?
  • Are any important points of view omitted?
  • How would we feel if the story was about ourselves or someone we know?
  • What are the consequences of publication?
  • Is there a logical explanation to anyone who challenges the article?
  • Is it worth risking our credibility?
  • 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 Huntley 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 a 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 who 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 a 300-word obituary including one mug shot if possible in the Voice and
  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.
  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.


  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 HHS.
  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 at his email [email protected].
  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. 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 is 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, and size. 
  4. All ads need to be approved by the editorial boards.  Any ad not deemed appropriate by the board will not run.
  5. Advertisers that are (1) non-profit organizations or (2) school groups will be offered a 10% discount on advertising.  
  6. The publications will cease to publish advertising of any advertiser who does not meet payment obligations specified in school contact.
  7. All advertisers will receive a complimentary subscription to the Voice in which their ad has run.
  8. If a published advertisement is incorrect in substantive content, a reduced price, corrected run, or other concession will be negotiated.
  9. Web ads appear in a specified section of the website and may randomly rotate through the area each time the page is refreshed. 
  10. Advertising that appears in the media is not necessarily endorsed by the media or its staff members, editorial board or adviser.
  11. All advertisers will pay (1) the entire bill up front by an early deadline, which will give them a 10% discount, or (2) the entire bill by the publication of the first issue of The Voice.  
  12. Students who sell their advertising quota for the newsmagazine will receive a 10% commission on the total amount brought in for the HHS media. 
  13. The student who sells the most advertising for HHS Media will be named “Businessperson of the Year” at the end of the school year, and will receive a $100 prize on top of his/her commission.


  1. The newsmagazine will begin at no less than 24 pages 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 newsmagazine will be distributed free of charge to students according to a distribution schedule approved by the adviser and editors. The newsmagazine will be distributed every 3-5 weeks, unless specified otherwise by the adviser and editorial board.
  4. Current copies of the school newsmagazine will also be displayed in the library, main office, guidance office and in room C2116.
  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 newsmagazine will be distributed before first hour on the day of publication.
  8. Total press run each issue will be specified by adviser or editorial board.


  1. Letters to the editor will be printed in the opinion section of the newsmagazine or on the website.
  2. Guidelines to write letters to the editor will be printed in every issue in the opinion section of the newsmagazine and/or available online at
  3. Letters to the editor may be submitted to Mr. Brown’s mailbox, room C2116 or submitted through the letters to the editor link on
  4. Letters to the editor should not exceed 300 words, must be signed and must include the writer’s email and phone number for verification.
  5. Letters to the editor will be verified by a member of the editorial board to determine the authenticity of the writer.
  6. No letter to the editor will be printed where the content is obscene, invasive of others’ privacy, encouraging physical disruption of school activities, and/or implies libel. 
  7. The HHS Media editorial board reserves the right to withhold a letter or column or other submission and/or return it for revision if it contains unprotected speech or grammatical errors that could hamper its meaning. Deadlines for letters and columns will be determined by each year’s student staff, allowing sufficient time for verification of authorship prior to publication.
  8. The Voice will only publish one letter, per author, per issue.
  9. All letters to the editor become the property of the school newsmagazine upon receipt and will not be returned to the author.
  10. Online comments will not be anonymous.
  11. Online comments will be screened to be sure they comply with the guidelines above before posting.
  12. Online comments that are found in violation of the editorial policy not be posted. 
  13. 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 the expressed opinions of authors; the editorial board and newsmagazine staff do 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 the 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 the HHS media.
  6. All reviews must first be reviewed by the opinions 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 HHS media, to promote published content and to engage the HHS 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. The official social media accounts should avoid promotion of events and remain objective, reporting what is fact. Reporters using personal social media to cover events should do the same.
  5. Information gained through social media channels should be verified through multiple channels before passing it along to others.
  6. Audience engagement through social media should be done in a professional manner.
  7. Staff members using applications to post updates to social media accounts should have separate applications for their personal account and for the school media accounts. This will limit the chance of a post being sent from the wrong account.
  8. 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 quotations read back at the time of interview or at reporter’s initiative.
  2. Sources will not be able to arbitrarily demand to read the reporter’s 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 the 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 media will not be reviewed by anyone outside of the editorial board aside from the adviser prior to its release to the public, 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.


In journalism, the use of anonymous sources is the subject of considerable debate. Generally, anonymity of sources has three potential areas of abuse:

  1. The anonymous source may, in fact, be a composite person – the comments representing points of view of many others- and the reporter does not so inform the reader.
  2. Use of an anonymous source may be a way for a reporter to sneak her own views into a story by attributing them to “a person in a position to know,” “a person familiar with the issue,” etc.
  3. Anonymous sources may be used to level unwarranted charges without the accuser being held accountable.

In articulating a policy regarding anonymous sources, a distinction must be made between two different situations in which anonymity could be granted. First, anonymity could be granted that allows a person to talk about other persons or situations. Second, anonymity could be granted to protect a source who is providing intimate, personal or private information about himself or herself. 

With regard to anonymous sources who speak out about other persons or situations, the following guidelines should be kept in mind:

  1. A reporter’s responsibility to the news audience almost always outweighs responsibility to a news source in this situation. That audience is shortchanged, if it is not given a full, fair, accurate or comprehensive report when accusations are made and the news source is not identified. 
  2. If the news audience is to make a judgment about the validity of a point of view, it needs to know who the source is, so the source’s credibility and interests can be taken into account.
  3. The press always campaigns for openness. Because of this, reliance on anonymous sources who make accusations of wrongdoing is hypocrisy for the press.
  4. If accusations against another person are published anonymously, the person accused of wrongdoing is subject to harm in two ways: (a) charges are leveled against him/her; (b) the granting of anonymity implies that the accused individual is such an evil person that he/she would take punitive action against the critic if only the critic were identified. 
  5. Because of these concerns, The Voice will not grant anonymity to sources who speak out about other persons or situations. Should such information be given, the only way it could be used is if another source would verify the accusation/information on the record.

With regard to anonymous sources who provide intimate, personal or private information about himself or herself, following guidelines should be kept in mind:

  1. One of the functions of a high school newsmagazine is to educate and inform others about the lives and struggles of people within the school and the community. For example, stories on the experiences of students who are pregnant, anorexic, or depressed can show readers that people like these exist in their own community. These stories can encourage a more supportive environment for students or others in distress. 
  2. When personal information is revealed by a source in stories such as these, anonymity may understandably be desired, given the nature of the high school community. In addition, students who reveal personal information may be minors, whose anonymity should be preserved because of their age. 
  3. In situations such as this, a source can be granted anonymity if the following conditions are met: 
  • The reporter and the editors of the newsmagazine must know who the source is.
  • The information is not obtainable without the grant of anonymity. A reasonable person would agree that anonymity is appropriate/warranted in these conditions. 
  • The anonymity must serve its desired purpose. Mere telling of the story will not identify the person to a significant number of people in the news audience.
  • The anonymous subject does not criticize other named or identifiable persons or if such criticism is made, perhaps even indirectly, those criticized will be given the opportunity to respond to the general criticism levied at them.
  • If the tone/nature of the anonymous subject’s comments is such that the individual may be a threat to himself/herself or to others, the reporter would have to seek appropriate help or assistance or have assurance that the subject is doing so.
  • If the anonymous “subject” is a composite person, representing the points of view generally held by people the reporter has talked to, the reader is so informed of this.
  • If some sort of legal action or litigation results from publication of the story, the reporter has the permission of the source to disclose the person’s identity to avoid prosecution or civil damages.


  1. All students and staff of Huntley High School are eligible for coverage in the HHS student media.
  2. Any student or staff member wishing to ‘opt out’ of being covered 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 the HHS Media.



  1. Editor in chief(s) and other editor level positions are chosen by faculty adviser, with the input of the previous year’s editorial board.
  2. New and returning staff are judged by teacher recommendations, previous work, potential and prerequisite class work.
  3. Applicants are not turned down because of age, race, sex, religion, mental or physical handicap that do not impair editorial responsibilities.


All individuals involved with HHS media are considered a team, each member is expected to complete all assigned stories, pages, photos, etc. on or before the assigned deadline. Staff members, including editors, may be dismissed from their positions and/or the publications staff itself if any of following violations occur:

  • Continuously missed deadlines (dismissal procedures will take place by choice of adviser and EICs)
  • Plagiarism
  • Quote falsification
  • Vandalism or theft of publication equipment
  • Continuous negative or pessimistic attitude toward staff member or adviser
  • Submitting an advanced page design, story, photo or other publishable item to anyone outside the media staff without approval by the editorial board
  • Two suspensions in one academic year
  • Failing to fulfill job as outlined in job description
  1. 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). 
  2. 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.
  3. Warnings will be written and signed by the adviser and editor-in-chiefs, as well as staff member in question. 
  4. An editor will be stripped of his her title if suspended.
  5. First misdemeanor or arrest will result in the loss of editor’s title, and second will result in dismissal from staff.
  6. 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.
  7. The academic nature of the school newsmagazine class allows removal of editors or staff members when school and or established media policy is violated.
  8. The above list infractions could all result in dismissal however, staff dismissals are not limited to the listed infractions. 
  9. 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).
  10. Dismissal procedures are reviewed and approved by the editorial board
  11. The dismissed staff member may appeal their dismissal in writing to the editorial board within three school days following dismissal
  12. 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 in writing to the editor in chief(s) who will present the concern at the next scheduled editorial board meeting.
  2. Complaints and suggestions may be emailed to [email protected], [email protected], or dropped off in room c2116.
  3. Resolutions will be made within limits of deadlines.


  1. The HHS media should be a member of state, national, and/or international organizations.
  2. The HHS media will work to be in contact with professional media as well as other individuals and companies in the communications field ranging from public relations and advertising to promotions and copy writing.