Viking Ventures

Editorial Policy

The Viking Ventures Policy on a Free Student Press

The Viking Ventures Student Newspaper is a tool in the learning process of journalism and operates as a learning laboratory. As preservers of democracy, our school shall protect, encourage and enhance free speech and positive exchange of ideas as a means of protecting our American way of life.

The Viking Ventures, the official newspaper of Cape Henlopen High School, has been established as a forum for student expression and as a voice in the uninhibited, free, and open discussion of issues. As a forum for student expression, the Viking Ventures will not be reviewed or restrained prior to publication. Content of the Viking Ventures, therefore reflects only the views of the student staff or individual students and not school officials.

The Viking Ventures 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 court decisions implementing those principles.

Online media are forums for expressive activity and are similar to traditional media in their freedoms, responsibilities, and professional obligations. As such, they will not be subject to prior review or restraint. Online media produced by Viking Ventures staff may be used by students to educate, to inform, and to entertain both the school and the online community and are entitled to the same protections and subject to the same freedoms and responsibilities as all other student media as outlined in this policy. Student journalists may use online media to report news and information to communicate with other students and individuals, to ask questions of and consult with experts, and to locate material to meet their newsgathering and research needs.

The Viking Ventures and its staff will strive to 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 electronic manipulations changing the essential truth of the photo or illustration.

With this in mind, student journalists have sole right to determine content of official student publications. By not interfering with Viking Ventures or other publications content, school officials are therefore not liable for or responsible for content. The Viking Ventures adviser will not act as a censor. In case questions arise over specific copy as defined within this policy, the advice of a communications attorney from the Student Press Law Center is recommended.

The Viking Ventures editorial board as a whole will be responsible for determining editorial opinions, which represent the opinions of a majority of the editorial board. No single member of the Viking Ventures can be held responsible for editorial content decisions.

As a forum for student expression, the Viking Ventures will publish letters to the editor at the discretion of the editorial board, provided the letters are 300 words or less and contain the author’s name and grade. The Viking Ventures reserves the right to withhold a letter and return it for more information if we determine it contains items of unprotected speech as defined by this policy. Letters will be edited for spelling and grammar and checked for verification. Should a letter contain errors in fact, excessive grammatical errors or be too long, it will be returned to the author for resubmission. Deadlines for letters will be no later than two weeks before the next publication date.

The newspaper will cover the deaths of current students, faculty and staff members and administration, and graduates and retired faculty up to three years after graduation or retirement. The Viking Ventures will acknowledge the death with a news story that contains a picture of the deceased (if available), the date of birth and the date of death, and the manner of death, if appropriate. Coverage of suicide will just say ‘died’; the word suicide will not be used. The publication may also run a feature story on the deceased with a minimum of one appropriate candid photo (if available) and quotes from family and friends. No heavy rule lines or religious symbols will be used. The place and time of memorial services will be included. The Viking Ventures reserves the right to decide not to cover a death based on relevance, timeliness and circumstances decided on by the editorial board. In case the editorial board decides not to cover a death, letters to the editor in regard to that death may be printed.

The Viking Ventures editorial board reserves the right to accept or reject any ad in print or on the web. The ultimate decision for all advertising, in print or on the Web, rests with the Viking Ventures editorial board.

The student news site of Cape Henlopen High School
Editorial Policy