Independence in Journalism

The Weather Vane is a fully autonomous, independent newspaper organized and run by students. The student staff is  responsible for producing, editing, and approving content. Funding is raised through the selling of advertisements and student fees. EMU administration is involved two ways: providing space and approving the appointment of Co-Editors, done by the Undergraduate Dean. There is a faculty adviser, Kirsten Beachy, whose role is to simply educate, and not to control content.

The independence of the Weather Vane represents a great deal of trust by the campus community, students, faculty, and administration. To maintain that trust, the staff is committed to five principles: honesty, comprehensiveness, impartiality, sensitivity, and accountability. Journalistic independence ensures that important stories are uncensored, all student voices are represented, and bias does not dictate coverage.

Honesty in journalism focuses on presenting stories correctly. Sources need to be presented fairly, through appropriate tone and context. Quotes need to be taken accurately and reported in context.

The Weather Vane commits to providing comprehensive coverage of events on EMU’s campus. This starts with gathering as much information as possible, from all sources relevant to a story. Comprehensiveness continues to the final, printed story as those sources are represented fairly.

The Weather Vane tries to be impartial in its coverage.  For writers, this means avoiding editorializing news stories and conflicts of interest.  For the paper in general, it means ensuring a broad range of stories are covered, instead of favoring certain causes or experiences.

Stories are to be conducted with sensitivity.   To that end, the Weather Vane does not discriminate on any basis, whether by gender, race, handicap, origin, religion, or sexual orientation. Paper content also maintains a level of decency by avoiding discriminatory language, slurs, and profanity. The most essential aspect is that we guarantee that readers and people featured in stories have a venue to respond in the paper.

Central to maintaining trust is accountability, and the Weather Vane is committed to using its position responsibly.  All sources give their permission to be used in their respective articles.  Sources remain anonymous only if the story is necessary for the wellbeing of the community.  The Co-Editors retain final responsibility for everything that is published.

Through conduct that is honest, comprehensive, impartial and sensitive, the Weather Vane strives to hold itself accountable and worthy of its independent position.

Joel Nofziger, Co-Editor in Chief

Categories: Opinion

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