the Epic

Editorial Policies

Mission Statement

the Epic is an open forum created by and for the students of Lynbrook High School. In order to serve our readers, the staff of the Epic seeks to report on events, issues and ideas relevant to the Lynbrook community in a professional, accurate, unbiased and thorough manner. the Epic strives to provide a full opportunity for all students, staff and community members to inquire, question and exchange ideas. Therefore, its content reflects all areas of student interest, including topics which may be controversial. the Epic maintains the highest ethical standards with regard to fairness, personal and legal rights, responsibilities and accuracy based on the Code of Ethics created by the Society of Professional Journalists.Further, the Epic maintains the highest technical standards in accordance with AP (Associated Press) style. The content of the Epic is not subject to prior review of any kind. 

Prior Review

Stories and pages will not be reviewed by any non-staff members prior to publication. Under no circumstance will reporters email or show their stories to anyone outside of staff, including their interviewees. Reporters check quotations and facts used in their stories with their sources before publication.

Legal Protections

the Epic’s staff members and Adviser are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section 48907 of the California Education Code. The Adviser is responsible for ensuring that “prohibited expression”—libel, obscenity, material disruption, unwarranted invasion of privacy and copyright infringement—is not published. Because the staff of the Epic determines the content of the publication, it will therefore also accept full legal responsibility for what is printed. Students reserve the right to consult the Student Press Law Center and the JEA Scholastic Press rights committee for help with legal issues.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

— First Amendment to the United States Constitution

 California Education Code, Section 48907

“Students of the public schools shall have the right to exercise freedom of speech and of the press including, but not limited to, the use of bulletin boards, the distribution of printed materials or petitions, the wearing of buttons, badges, and other insignia, and the right of expression in official publications, whether or not such publications or other means of expression are supported financially by the school or by use of school facilities, except that expression shall be prohibited which is obscene, libelous or slanderous. Also prohibited shall be material which so incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts on school premises or the violation of lawful school regulations, or the substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school.

Each governing board of a school district and each county board of education shall adopt rules and regulations in the form of a written publications code, which shall include reasonable provisions for the time, place, and manner of conducting such activities within its respective jurisdiction.

Student editors of official school publications shall be responsible for assigning and editing the news, editorial, and feature content of their publications subject to the limitations of this section. However, it shall be the responsibility of a journalism adviser or advisers of student publications within each school to supervise the production of the student staff, to maintain professional standards of English and journalism, and to maintain the provisions of this section.

There shall be no prior restraint of materials prepared for official school publications except insofar as it violates this section. School officials shall have the burden of showing justification without undue delay prior to any limitation of student expression under this section.

‘Official school publications’ refers to material produced by students in the journalism, newspaper, yearbook, or writing classes and distributed to the student body either free or for a fee. Nothing in this section shall prohibit or prevent any governing board of a school district from adopting otherwise valid rules and regulations related to oral communication by students upon the premises of each school.

An employee shall not be dismissed, suspended, disciplined, reassigned, transferred, or otherwise retaliated against solely for acting to protect a pupil engaged in the conduct authorized under this section, or refusing to infringe upon conduct that is protected by this section, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, or Section 2 of Article I of the California Constitution.”

Editorial Board

The Editorial Board consists of the Editors-in-Chief, Content Editors, Managing Editor, Design Editors and Adviser. This group is responsible for overseeing the staff and may convene to resolve conflict or ethical issues. All decisions of the Editorial Board are student-made and ruled by a two-thirds majority vote. The Adviser does not have a vote, but rather helps guide the discussion of the issues at hand.

Legal Behavior

Reporters, photographers and the Adviser will not participate in any illegal act in pursuit of a story. Reporters are responsible for understanding the laws pertaining to libel, invasion of privacy, violation of copyright and plagiarism. Members of staff who abuse their privileges are subject to disciplinary action as stated in the course expectations. In addition, reporters who accept off-the-record information will not print it.

Accuracy

All articles published by the Epic, excluding letters to the editors and guest columns, are written by staff members. Before publication, Content Editors and writers will fact-check and screen all information for issues such as obscenity and libelthrough interviews and research. Those accused in a story of wrongdoing will be given the opportunity to respond to allegations, and reporters from the Epic will refrain from speculation in their articles. the Epic reserves the right to go to press with any story with facts as they stand at deadline, but will always aim for completion, which may entail the publication of follow-up stories.

Corrections

the Epic will correct errors of accuracy in the following print issue unless there are no print issues remaining in the school year, in which case the correction will be published online. Corrections for errors of accuracy in online articles will be published online. It is the responsibility of all staff to listen for corrections after distribution and to report such mistakes to the Editors-in-Chief and the Adviser. Compiling corrections will be the responsibility of the Editorial Board. Corrections are usually placed on the second page of the newspaper under the letter from the editors. 

Retractions

the Epic will not retract any published article unless a story is factually inaccurate or if there is a legal requirement to do so.

Diversity

Reporters and photographers make genuine efforts to include sources and subjects for photographs and articles who represent all parts of the Lynbrook population. Diversity includes, but is not limited to: ethnicity, age, gender and social group. The Managing Editor will keep a “blacklist” of previous interviewees accessible to all staff members after each issue in an effort toward diversity.

Withholding Names

In most cases, reporters will name all sources quoted in an article. Reporters will only withhold a name in rare cases when it is required by law, a student’s safety is in danger, or the Editorial Board deems it appropriate for the case at hand. The Adviser will be notified of the intent to withhold the subject’s name; the name of the subject will not be given to anyone not involved with writing the story.

Death of a Person on Campus

If the Epic becomes aware of a death or deaths of current or former students and/or school employees, the Epic will cover the death with at least an obituary and/or memorial. The obituary will be written with an emphasis on the person’s life and, if timely, give details of the funeral service and/or contribution details. If the deceased individual is a minor, the Epicwill first obtain permission from the deceased’s family before publishing any information regarding the cause of death. If a suicide is involved, the obituary will print that the individual “took his/her own life,” but will not provide any details of the suicide. In addition, all coverage of the death will contain information about death/grief counseling and/or resources. Depending on the situation and the judgment of the Editorial Board, the death may be covered more extensively. Coverage specifics will be determined by the staff; final decisions will be made by the Editorial Board with the Adviser’s guidance.

Profanity

the Epic will not print unnecessary profanity. The Editorial Board will decide whether to consider content is considered profane or whether it is a cultural or non-vulgar slang term. The Editorial Board reserves the right to edit quotes for unnecessary profanity or unnecessarily offensive words; quotes that have been edited will be noted accordingly when published. Sources will be allowed to review the edited quote and make changes. Staff interviewers have the right to ask a source when necessary to repeat a quote without the use of profane language.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor are welcome. Letters of 300 words or fewer should be submitted via email to [email protected] or to the Epic’s mailbox in the Lynbrook main office. After submission, they become the sole property of the Epic and can be edited for length, clarity or accuracy. Letters must be in response to a previously published article. Letters cannot be returned and will be published at the Epic’s discretion. All letters must be signed; anonymous letters will not be published. A staff response will only occur when a fact needs to be clarified. Letters longer than 300 words will be condensed for publishing as the Editorial Board sees fit.

Equitable Coverage

The staff strives to provide equal coverage to all school sports, clubs and groups. Boys and girls sports and activities should be covered equitably. 

Advertising

the Epic will accept advertisements submitted with a signed contract and full payment provided as long as they do not advocate illegal activity for minors and are not deemed by the Editorial Board to be racist, sexist, or otherwise inappropriate for the Epic’s audience. Advertisements may also be rejected due to space limitations. Advertisements of a political nature will not be accepted.

Comments and Social Media

the Epic gives the opportunity to comment in order to foster a healthy debating environment and reserve the right to reject comments that stray away from that objective. the Epic staff reserves the right to delete, move or edit comments that:

  •     Use any language that is derogatory, abusive, libelous or discriminatory on the basis of race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual preference, age, disability, etc.
  •     Post repeated messages, meaningless messages or “spam.”
  •     Threaten others, including the author of the article, other individuals that post comments on the site, etc.
  •     Publish or distribute any content that advertises or solicits goods or services.
  •     Are otherwise unacceptable as determined by the Editorial Board.