The goal of The Wooster Voice is to provide news, opinion, entertainment and sports writing with accuracy and integrity to the Wooster community; however, mistakes do occur in the production of a newspaper. The following are our ethical guidelines and policies. Primarily, we will always strive to work within the bounds of journalistic integrity.
In general, our standards for ethical journalism are based on those laid out in the Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics. This code shall be referenced throughout our policies, and can be found here.
Story Removal/Retraction Policy
Voice articles will not be retracted or removed from the website except under the following circumstances:
- A factual error that requires major revision was made
- A source was misled about the fact that they were being interviewed for an article
- A source was misquoted or misrepresented in a way that changed the meaning of their intended thoughts
- An individual was cast in a false light in a way that was damaging to them personally
- If the journalist did not follow the basic ethical standards laid out in the Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics.
Voice articles will not be removed due to an individual’s dissatisfaction concerning their portrayal in a story or the angle a story takes. Only substantive or procedural complaints about the facts or quotes within a story will be considered for story removal.
Individuals who believe they were misquoted or misrepresented should email the editors-in-chief. The editors will do their best to investigate the situation and make corrections or remove stories if they deem it appropriate.
In the event that a story is removed, the staff of the Voice will make every effort to be transparent and explain what changes they are making and for what reasons those changes are being made.
Corrections will be issued for errors such as misspelled names or incorrect identification in a photo. If made aware of a correction, we will aim to publish notification of the error the following week, in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code (2739.14, Publishing corrected statements).
Staff members should always indicate clearly when they are conducting an interview so that the individual being interviewed understands that what they say is on the record. Interviewees should understand the story they are commenting on. Staff members should honor “off the record” requests that occur during an interview, although requests that occur after an interview are not considered binding. They should also make every effort to take accurate notes or record conversations so that the quotes that appear in stories are as precise as possible. Interviewees should not be recorded without their consent. Although under the Ohio Revised Code (2933.52, Interception of wire, oral or electronic communications), only one party is required to give consent for recording to be considered legal, it is our policy as a publication to gain consent from all individuals being recorded. Further, consenting to an interview does not imply that the individual is also consenting to be recorded. Staff members should be explicit when they plan to record.
Individuals who agree to be interviewed should understand that their quotes may be used in a Voice article. If the staff member who conducts the interview has followed the guidelines above, then interviewees should not expect to be able to retract their comments (before or after press time) unless they give a compelling reason. By agreeing to an interview, the interviewee is agreeing to have their name and quotes used in a Voice article. Anonymity will only be granted to interviewees under extremely limited circumstances, such as the possibility of endangerment toward the individual. The editors-in-chief, in consultation with our adviser, will decide upon requests for anonymity.
Although we strive to provide a platform for all students to express their opinions in the Viewpoints section, the Voice will not publish viewpoints that personally attack an individual. We will not publish discriminatory or false information in a viewpoint, and in all viewpoints that make factual claims, we will attempt to conduct fact-checking. If we find that the facts of a viewpoint are inaccurate, we reserve the right not to publish it. We also reserve the right to edit viewpoints for clarity and grammar, although we will strive to preserve the piece’s intent. Other than the staff editorial, which is published every third week, the opinions expressed in viewpoints are not those of the staff as a whole. Responses to viewpoints are welcome and encouraged, but again, we will not publish personal character attacks.
Staff Hiring and Firing
Editors-in-chief and managing editors of the Voice are selected by the Publications Committee. All other editorial board and staff writer positions are left to the discretion of the editors-in-chief. The editors are in charge of hiring their staff and may release staff members who cannot complete the duties required of an editorial board member. Section editors and staff writers are expected to comport themselves with integrity when they are working on a story for the Voice, including all accepted standard of journalistic practice as laid out here and in the Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics.
Contributing Writer Policy
Contributing writers are not considered staff members of the Voice, but their writing is always welcome and appreciated. Contributing writers are expected to comport themselves with integrity when they are working on a story for the Voice, including all accepted standard of journalistic practice. Anyone who writes for the Voice, even only once, is expected to follow all standards of journalistic integrity as outlined here and in the Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics; for the duration of their reporting, contributing writers represent the Voice and should comport themselves accordingly. Those contributing writers who are not familiar with journalistic practice should ask the appropriate section editor for advice before proceeding. With that in mind, however, the Voice cannot be held responsible for the actions of all contributing writers. The editors-in-chief reserve the right to ask contributing writers not to write again if they cannot meet the requirements stated above.
The editors will only release staff members for cause and will not do so in a manner that discriminates on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, gender expression, ability, or any opinions expressed by the individual in question.
The staff members of the Voice, particularly the editors-in-chief, reserve the right to refuse to publish any writing if it was gathered in an unethical manner, if it is inaccurate or if it is incomprehensible for some reason. We also reserve the right to edit all writing for grammar and clarity.