Owl Post

About

ABOUT US

The Owl Post online newspaper and Parliament yearbook, Olathe West High School’s student-produced publications since 2017, strive to capture the key events, important memories, and unique culture of each school year. The newspaper is available for free online and the yearbook sold to students and faculty each year. The newspaper staff is currently compromised of 10 students, and the yearbook is comprised of 28 students, each selected through an application process. Students are expected to have taken pre-requisite courses, show a history of high academic achievement and interest, and obtain favorable teacher recommendations. Both publications are advised by Julia Walker.

 

PUBLICATIONS POLICIES

The Olathe West Student Publications Policy pertains to the newspaper, yearbook, and associated social media accounts, which fall under the direction of a recognized Olathe West student publications staff. Olathe West student publications are the official student-produced media of news and information published/produced by Olathe students and have been established by both policy and practice as designated public forums for student editors to inform and educate their readers as well as for the discussion of issues of concern to their audience. Publications will not be reviewed or restrained by school officials prior to publication or distribution. Advisers may – and should – coach and discuss content during the production process.

Because school officials do not engage in prior review and the content of these student publications is determined by and reflects only the views of the student staff and not school officials or the school itself, its student editors and responsible student staff members assume complete legal and financial liability for the content of the publication.

The full policy will be published on the newspaper websites and will be referenced in the school yearbook’s colophon.

 

I. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

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

  1. The student publications will serve the best interest of the students and faculty of the Olathe School District, keeping itself free from any commercial obligations distracting from this purpose; this is defined by the student publications itself;
  2. Any decisions affecting the publications on any and all levels will be made by the student editors, the adviser is allowed to give legal advice and his/her opinion, but the final decision rests in the hands of the student editors;
  3. All student publications will vigorously resist all attempts at censorship and prior review, particularly pre-publication censorship;
  4. All student publications retain the right to publish any and all material obtained through an interview by a publications staff member, holding that the interviewee was made aware that they were talking with the student press and that the information could be published in any form at any time;
  5. All student publications referenced in this editorial policy are designated public forums;
  6. Olathe West’s student publications and its staff members 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. Olathe West’s student publications will not publish any material determined by student editors 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.
  9. Publications staff members will save all audio files and transcriptions as prescribed by publication procedures because these materials are the foundation of any defense against libel or slander.

II. THE STUDENT EDITORS

  1. The student editors make all decisions that pertain directly to Olathe West student publications.
  2. 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 editors.
  3. The appointed editor or co-editors shall interpret and enforce this editorial policy.

III. THE ADVISER(S)

  1. The adviser (s) 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 student publications and ensuring the student publications will remain a public forum;
  4. Guides the media in accordance with approved editorial policy and aids the educational process related to producing the material;
  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; The adviser will not act as a censor or determine the content of the student publications. 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. School officials shall not fire or otherwise discipline advisers for content in the student publications that is determined and published by the student staff.
  6. Will keep abreast of the latest trends on journalism and share these with students;
  7. Will forward any received correspondence and/or information to the appropriate editors;
  8. Will provide information to the staff about journalism scholarships and other financial aid and make available information and contacts concerning journalism as a career;
  9. Will work with the faculty and administration to help them understand the freedoms accorded to the students and the goals of the school publications.

IV. PROPERTY OF WORK

  1. With the exception of staff editorials, all articles, graphics, videos, photos, art, stories, columns, reviews, and other material creatively conceived 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.
  4. All photography taken under assignment is considered “work-for-hire” copyright material and is considered the property of the newspaper or yearbook prior to the release of the yearbook or newspaper story/feature
    1. Prior to release, photography must not be shared with the public without the express permission of an editor.
    2. Photography may be sold as a fundraiser for the publications.
    3. Photography may be used for promotional purposes, social media posts, or provided to the district for website usage.
    4. After the release of yearbook or newspaper story, the photographer shares ownership of the photography.

V. INTERVIEWS

  1. Interviews should be recorded and conducted in-person. If that is not possible, over-the-phone interviews are acceptable. Email or text message interviews do not follow journalistic standards and are to be avoided.
  2. Publications staff members will make every effort to conduct interviews before school, after school, during Power 50, or during Seminar. However, due to the fact that we are working on tight deadlines, it is possible we may need to pull students out of class for a brief interview. Staff members must obtain teacher permission first to do this and are expected to cause the least amount of disturbance to class time as possible.
  3. All information and quotes obtained from on-record interviews are subject to publication.
  4. Reporters may choose to read back quotes to interviewees in order to maintain accuracy. However, an interviewee may not request to review or approve a story before it has been published.

VI. STUDENT NAMES

  1. Within the newspaper website and coverage pages of the yearbook, students will be referred to by the name provided to the writer during an interview, which may include nicknames.
  2. The newspaper and yearbook staff will make every effort to spell-check names, which may result in the name being run as the school-record name in an effort to avoid errors.
  3. Student names in the portrait section of the yearbook will run as it appears on the student’s official school record. No nicknames (i.e. Andy vs. Andrew) will be used in this section. If a student goes by an alternate name, changes will be made only with parental consent and a signed form.

VII. YEARBOOK INDIVIDUAL PORTRAIT POLICY

  1. Lifetouch and Prestige are our official photographers for student portraits and club/activity photos, and students must have their portraits taken by them to be in the portrait section of the yearbook.
  2. The yearbook staff will compile a list of “Not Pictured” students if their portrait is unavailable and the student is in attendance before the date of page submissions.
  3. Students who attended Olathe West at any point prior to the portrait section’s submission will be featured in the section, even if they have since transferred to another school. Additionally, due to plant deadlines, any student who transfers to Olathe West after the section submission or after portraits have been taken will unfortunately not be featured in the section.
  4. The student editors reserve the right to review or omit questionable or inappropriate portraits. This includes, but is not limited to, all students photographed must be adhering to dress code policies (no inappropriate words or graphics on clothing), have clothing present in the photo (off-the-shoulder tops must be seen in photo), must not be making any hand gestures, or wearing any hats.
  5. Portraits will consist of one individual only. No other persons or props are permitted.
  6. Student requests to remove the official school portrait from the yearbook must be made in writing by the parent/guardian and are subject to approval by the editorial board.
  7. Names in the portrait section will run as it appears on the student’s official school record.  No nicknames (i.e. Andy vs. Andrew) will be used in this section. If a student goes by an alternate name, changes will be made only with parental consent and a signed form.
  8. Because of plant deadlines, working with a third-party photographer, and the possibility of students missing portrait day, the yearbook staff is not responsible for unavailable portraits of students. While the Parliament Yearbook staff will try to catch all potential errors, we will not be held responsible for any errors or missing pictures provided to us by Lifetouch or Prestige.

VIII. YEARBOOK GROUP PORTRAIT POLICY

  1. Any groups with school sponsors are eligible to take a group photo for the yearbook.
  2. The yearbook will cover school-sponsored, board-approved and established clubs/sports. All other sports or clubs will be reviewed by the student editors.
  3. The student editors reserve the right to review or omit questionable or inappropriate group photos.
  4. Portraits will consist of group members and sponsors only. Props are not permitted without prior approval.
  5. Due to plant deadlines and page submission requirements, group photos must be submitted to the yearbook staff by a provided deadline. If a group fails to meet the deadline, they may risk not being featured in the yearbook.
  6. Due to the volume of group photos, fluctuating group memberships, and absences during group photo day, the yearbook staff cannot guarantee that a club/group member will be featured in the photo. Club/group members may not be listed as “Not Pictured.”

IX. PHOTO AND MEDIA RESTRICTED STUDENTS

  1. The newspaper and yearbook staffs will make all attempts to avoid including any students who have marked themselves as photo and media-restricted through school records.
  2. The publication staffs may ask for, and upon student and parent consent, obtain an exemption from this choice recorded at registration.
  3. Any student who willingly participates in an interview has waived their media restriction choice.
  4. Any student who attends a public event (such as a sporting event, after-school event, etc.) has waived their photo restriction choice.

X. STUDENT OR FACULTY DEATH

  1. Newspaper Obituary Policy: Should a student or faculty member die at any time during the coverage period, the staff will treat the death in a tasteful manner. A short obituary with the individual’s name, school activities, date of birth, date of death and any other information may be published. This treatment will provide an adequate testimonial to the individual for those closely associated, while not overemphasizing the death for other readers. All is upon the approval of the family. The editorial board may decide to cover the deaths of alumni or former staff/faculty members when appropriate.
  2. Yearbook Obituary Policy: The loss of a student or staff member is always difficult. Should one occur within the production period, regardless of the cause of death, a small (approx. 2 by 3 inches) “In Memory” block with name, birthdate, and date of passing will be placed in the index or reference section of the yearbook, if space allows. This treatment will provide an adequate testimonial to the individual for those closely associated while not overemphasizing the death for other readers. All is upon the approval of the family.
  3. Yearbook Student/Faculty Death Policies Continued:
    1. If a yearbook has not already been purchased, one may be gifted to parents of the deceased (if quantities allow).
    2. The portrait of that individual will appear in the yearbook as it would under normal circumstances.
    3. Pending the timing of the production of the yearbook, the editorial board reserves the right to adjust coverage of the student or faculty member in order to remain sensitive to the family, friends, and community of the deceased.
  4. Newspaper and Yearbook Student/Faculty Death Policies Continued:
    1. A portion of a publication, spread, section, etc. should not be dedicated to or in memory of the deceased, but student publications may run stories about scholarships, events, etc. in that person’s name.

XI. NEWSPAPER COMMENTING

Comments must be approved by an Online Editor in Chief. Comments must be verified with a valid email address. Comments containing inappropriate content or language will not be approved. Comments advertising a product, service, etc. will also not be approved. Comments containing personal information, phone numbers, email addresses, etc., will not be approved.

XII. NEWSPAPER STORY TAKE-DOWN REQUESTS

We will use the same take-down policy as the WashingtonPost.com, which reads as this:

Because of the ease with which our published content can be searched and retrieved online, even years after publication, we are increasingly being asked to take down (or “unpublish”) articles from our website.

As a matter of editorial policy, we do not grant take-down requests, which should be vetted at the highest level. If the subject claims that the story was inaccurate, we should be prepared to investigate and, if necessary, publish a correction. And there may be situations in which fairness demands an update or follow-up coverage — for example, if we reported that a person was charged with a crime but did not report that the charges were later dismissed for lack of evidence. In short, our response will be to consider whether further editorial action is warranted, but not to remove the article as though it had never been published. When we publish publicly available personal data, we only will review takedown requests if the person involved is under threat of physical harm because of the existence of the material.

XIII. NEWSPAPER LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Letters to the editor may be submitted to Mrs. Walker’s mailbox or emailed to [email protected] or [email protected] All letters to the editor will be verified by a student editor to determine the authenticity of the writer.

Guidelines for Letters to the Editor:

  • Letters to editor should not exceed 300 words, must be signed and must include writer’s email or phone number for verification.
  • No material will be printed where content is obscene, invasive of another’s’ privacy, encouraging physical disruption of school activities and/or implies libel.
  • Personal attacks are not allowed.

The Owl Oost student editors reserve 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. All letters to the editor become the property of the newspaper staff upon receipt and will not be returned to the author.

IXX. YEARBOOK SENIOR QUOTES

Due to the non-journalistic and controversial manner of “senior quotes” and the potential for legal issues, the yearbook will refrain from collecting or publishing “senior quotes”

XX. YEARBOOK SALES

  1. Yearbooks will be sold at the standard price for the year until the official sales deadline. Any additional books ordered by the staff may be sold after the deadline (until they are sold out) at an increased price.
  2. All yearbook sales are final and no refunds will be issued, either before or after distribution of the book.
  3. If a student purchases a yearbook and then transfers to another Olathe high school, they may request their funds to be transferred and applied to the purchase of that school’s book.
  4. Exchanges can be made for books with minor flaws if no writing has been done in the book. If a book has been written in, then no exchange can be made unless the adviser determines the flaw to be major.
  5. It will be the responsibility of the buyer to provide proof of purchase if no record can be provided by the staff. A copy of the cashed check or receipt will constitute proof of purchase.
  6. Books not claimed at the end of the first quarter of classes in the fall automatically become the property of the yearbook staff and can be sold at the current price.

DISCLAIMER

The newspaper and yearbook are created by the students enrolled in Olathe West’s High School’s respective production courses. While the student journalists strive for excellence and perfection, the production of the publications is a highly educational process, and thus errors may occur. The staffs will take every measure possible to correct their mistakes or remedy problems in the most ethical, journalistic, and realistic ways.

The Student News Site of Olathe West High School
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