The School Newspaper of McKinney North High School.

Polaris

About

Mission statement and General Policy

The publications at McKinney North High School are created to honestly and accurately record the events, occurrences and special topics from the current school year.  While each publication varies in style and goal, the binding mission is reporting with journalistic integrity for our student population, school faculty, community and readers beyond our local area, without bias to race, religion or social creed.

Detailed policy

Polaris

Polaris is an online publication supplemented by an 8 -16 page, tabloid news paper produced by the McKinney North High School journalism department. To encourage readership and to ensure the showcasing of student journalistic work, the printed paper is sent to press up to 10 times a year.  Polaris is distributed free of charge to all students, and subscriptions can be purchased for parents and community members at a rate of $25 per year. The newspaper is an open forum for student opinion, and student opinion may not reflect the attitude and opinions of the staff, administration or board of trustees.

NTV

NTV is a 10-minute news program produced by the McKinney North High School broadcast journalism department. It is broadcast throughout the classrooms at McKinney North. The broadcast staff is working with the Polaris staff in order to supplement the online edition of the paper.  To encourage viewership and to ensure the showcasing of student journalistic work, the program is broadcast on a weekly basis. The program is an open forum for student opinion and student opinion may not reflect the attitude and opinions of the staff, administration or board of trustees.

Letters and guest column policy

Polaris

Letters to the editor are welcome and will be published as space allows.  Letters must be signed.  Due to space limitations, not all letters can be published.

Guest columns and cartoons are welcome, but they will only be published as space allows. Columns and illustration must be approved by the editor-in-chief and adviser for the publication’s audience. Polaris will not print columns or illustrations considered tasteless by the editor-in-chief or adviser. Columns must be submitted 2 weeks before an issue is delivered to the student body for the print edition and at the student’s convenience for the online edition.

The paper reserves the right to edit letters and columns for grammar and clarity, and all letters and columns are subject to laws governing obscenity, libel, privacy, and disruption of the school process, as are all contents of the paper.  Trivia such as gossip columns, song dedications and student best/worsts will be avoided due to the narrow audience they serve and the probability of libelous material.

Editorial policy

Polaris

An editorial will appear regularly in each issue and will appear online regularly.

Opinions in letters are not necessarily those of the staff, nor should any opinion be taken as the policy of the newspaper staff or the policy of the administration, unless so attributed.

NTV

An editorial may appear in the broadcast program and on the online supplement on the Polaris site.

Opinions in editorials are not necessarily those of the staff, nor should any opinion be taken as the policy of the broadcast staff or the policy of the administration, unless so attributed.

Correction policy

Polaris

If the staff discovers, from any source, that a mistake bypassed the editors, a correction of major errors will be published in the section in which the mistake appeared.

NTV

If the staff discovers, from any source, that a mistake bypassed the editors, a correction of major errors will be broadcasted.

Accuracy

All the pieces represented in student publications are reviewed by the staff. All pieces are checked for accuracy, responsibility, obscenity and potential libel. The staff is responsible for all material appearing in the publications.  The staff assumes responsibility for facts as printed or broadcasted.

Quotes and facts will always be checked. Punishment for inaccuracy, shoddy reporting or willful misrepresenting of facts will be leveled at the staffers charged with the story in form of reduced grades, forced apologies or removal from the staff. The adviser will be charged with disciplining the student with input from the editorial board.

Administration and adviser role

The publications respect and understand that students are minors and  under the supervision of teachers and administrators, but also agree with the wisdom  of the Supreme Court of the United States who stated in the case of Tinker v. Des Moines ISD that students do not leave their First Amendment Rights at the schoolhouse door. The only way to teach students journalism is to let them practice their own good judgement.

The adviser’s job is to keep publications from violating the law and district policy, but not to keep them from making mistakes or from publishing stories that adults may not approve of.

Content and the coverage of controversy

Survey will often be used to help determine the awareness, interest level and the understanding of the student body. Efforts will be made to interview a broad selection of students in classes so that surveys are accurate.

Ultimately, staff editors will make the decisions as to what is newsworthy and should go in the newspaper or broadcast program in the eyes of their audience and under journalistic standards.  The adviser will assist in, not decide what should be in the publications.  Items that lack merit, proper research  or journalistic integrity will be held back from publication.  Student publications should not be considered public relations devices for the district, nor should they be considered a mouthpiece for the administration or its official policy.

The coverage of controversial topics will be run through a five part test before being sent to press: 1. Offer a definitive portrayal of the situation with convincing evidence that the topic is indeed a problem that needs to be addressed in your community. 2. Align the student newspaper with authorities who would confirm the problem and help disseminate information to remedy the problem. 3. Define all arguments presented by your adversaries against student newspaper or broadcast coverage of this topic.  4. Develop a convincing rationale as to why the student newspaper or broadcast program may be more effective than other media in influencing student readers positively to use good judgment and to act more responsibly regarding this issue. 5. List the consequences, good and bad, consider the opposition’s point and then have the courage to do what is right.

Coverage

The staff will make every effort to include every club, organization and sports team at MNHS, but they must make an effort to work within the deadlines of their production schedule.

Each sports team must send the staff a complete schedule (listing game opponents, sites, times, etc.) as soon as it is available, and as complete a schedule as possible should be sent to the staff by the start of the season.  This is to ensure photo  coverage of the sport’s events.

Clubs and organizations should provide the staff with a minimum of ten days notice of their events or provide the newspaper with photos of their events.  (This, however, does not guarantee that we will cover these events or publish the pictures.)

The staff reserves the right to determine the coverage and design of every layout in every publication.

Obscenity

Students will not publish, broadcast or distribute material defined as obscene based on the following: Whether the average person would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest in sex (community standard), whether the work portrays, in a patently offensive manner, whether the work, as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

Obituary policy

Polaris

In the event of death of a Mckinney North student, Polaris will not necessarily run a story. This will be determined by the events surrounding the death and whether or not it is newsworthy. Polaris will investigate all possible angles.

NTV

In the event of death of a Mckinney North student, NTV will not necessarily run a story. This will be determined by the events surrounding the deaths and whether or not it is newsworthy. NTV will investigate all possible angles.

Advertising statement

No ads will be placed in any publication until payment is made.

Advertising space will be made available to local businesses, students and school organizations. The staff reserves the right to refuse advertising based on content appropriateness for McKinney North students.

The publication staffs reserve the right not to accept advertisements from businesses that sell  products that may be seen inappropriate for students that are 13-17 years of age.  Some examples include, but are not limited to alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, planned parenthood, birth control, abortion clinics, etc.

All advertising accepted by the staffs must meet the same guidelines as editorial content.  Acceptance of advertising does not constitute endorsement by the school, the staff as a whole or its  individual members.

Polaris

Polaris delivery schedule will be announced during the first four weeks of school.  The average copy circulation is approximately 1,800 copies which are distributed to students, businesses and individuals. The online publication will be continuously updated therefore it will have no set deadlines.

Persons who appear in advertisements must sign a model release form acknowledging that they will accept no monetary remuneration from the client, and their appearance is one of support for the publication rather than the business or professional.

All ad copy, artwork, or photos must be submitted by the date specified on the advertisement contract.  Artwork should be black or dark color ink.  Advertisers must provide any copyrighted or trademarked logos or materials.  The business may choose to design its own ad, or it may request that an advertisement team member design the ad.

Sales

Newspaper subscriptions and advertisement sales are final.  Once a subscription or ad has been bought, no refund will be given.

Ads with mistakes will only receive refunds if the mistake was the publication’s mistake and was not in the original ad request.

Distribution

Polaris

The newspaper will be given out free of charge to the student body and faculty and can also be viewed online with alternative or similar content. Parents and others can purchase a subscription to the print edition.

Name and classification

The publications will use only the official names and classifications (Freshman, Sophomore, etc.) provided to us by the office at the end of August. Students who use nicknames may expect to be listed under their official name, but may be listed under their ‘nickname’ if it was used during an interview.

The School Newspaper of McKinney North High School.
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