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Grosse Pointe North High School

STAFF HANDBOOK
Revised September 2013

ABOUT THE NORTH POINTE


Name:

North Pointe is the official student newspaper at Grosse Pointe North High School
of the Grosse Pointe Public School System in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan.
As a public forum for student expression, the students determine the content of the
publication without prior review. Opinions expressed represent the bylined author or
the editorial board.

Location:

Grosse Pointe North High School


707 Vernier Road
Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236

Contact:

Phone: 313.432.3248
Fax: 313.432.3257
E-mail: northpointe@gpschools.org
Web: myGPN.org

Format:

The North Pointe is published bi-weekly, 16 times per year.


It is available to all students and other North community members free of charge.
Delivered subscriptions are also available, $15 via e-mail and $35 by U.S. post.
Printed by The Argus-Press, Owosso, MI
Typical issues are 8-12 broadsheet pages.

Adviser:

Shari Adwers (sadwers@gmail.com or shari.adwers@gpschools.org)

The North Pointe is edited and produced by Advanced Journalism students at Grosse Pointe North High School
and is published bi-weekly. Comments should be directed to the student editors, who are responsible for all of
the newspapers content.
The views expressed are solely those of the authors or the student editorial board and do not reflect the
opinions of the Grosse Pointe school system or its employees.
We are a member of the Michigan Scholastic Press Association, Columbia Scholastic Press Association and
National Scholastic Press Association. We subscribe to McClatchy-Tribune Information Services and
iStockphoto.com.
One copy of is available free to all community members. Additional copies may be purchased. Our editorial
policy and advertising rates are available online at: myGPN.org. The North Pointe is printed on 100 percent
recycled paper.
CONTACT US
707 Vernier Road
Grosse Pointe Woods MI, 48236
Phone: 313.432.3248
Fax: 313.432.3257
E-mail: northpointe@gpschools.org
Website: myGPN.org

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THE RULES
North Pointe staff members are given a
high level of freedom and responsibility, so
formal rules and classroom discipline
should seldom be necessary. However, here
are some ideas that will make life more
pleasant for everyone if followed.
Never be in the journalism room
when youre supposed to be in
another class. Do not ever use North
Pointe as an attendance excuse for
another teacher. Only the adviser can
excuse you. Working in the journalism
room during your tutorial must be
approved in advance. Staff members
are not excused late to any class unless
given a pass by the adviser.

Lead by example.
Work with intensity.
Act with integrity.
Pay attention to detail.

The Standards of North Pointe


1st RULE: You do not miss deadlines
on NORTH POINTE.
2nd RULE: Communicate.
3rd RULE: Start with the horse.
4th RULE: Keep it real.
5th RULE: Gripes go up, not down.
Always up.
6th RULE: No friends, no family. (The
living room rule.)
7th RULE: Revisions will go on as long
as they have to (up to deadline).
8th RULE: Be proactive and dont
trust anyone.
9th RULE: Hold your criticism for 24
hours.
10th RULE: There is no I in North
Pointe.
You dont work for a grade you work
to create and have fun.
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Never pull a student out of class for an interview. Not any class, any time. Occasionally, an
interview during tutorial might be arranged. The interview should take place in the journalism room
or in your tutorial room and the adviser will sign a pass for the student.
The journalism room is not a student lounge. Non-staff members should not be invited into the
office without approval from the adviser.
Empty your mailbox daily. Mailboxes are for messages, not storage of North Pointe or personal
items.
Do not leave items lying around the room. Many other students use this space. Desktops will be
cleared off and items trashed daily. Food and drinks must especially be cleaned up.
Computers are for journalism students and journalism assignments. Personal work must take place
only when time allows.
Music must always be school-appropriate and not loud enough to be heard in the hallway.
Do not leave items in the refrigerator more than one day. They will be thrown out without warning.
Do not post decorations/signs in the room without adviser approval.
You need to have your school ID badge with a special sticker on the back as a North Pointe hall
pass.
We occasionally will ask to take a photo at the end of class. This is done in the hallway outside of
the room during the last minute or so of class. The photographer will be holding a camera when
he/she makes the request.

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ETHICS PLEDGE FOR NORTH POINTE STAFF


As a North Pointe staff member, I am a school leader, part of a team recognized for its high
standards. A journalists mission is to serve the public by seeking out and reporting the facts as
accurately as possible. Good journalists and scholars share a commitment to the same principle:
integrity in their work.
To fulfill my responsibility to the team, I commit to honesty and fairness and to not
plagiarize or cheat.
By signing this ethics pledge, I agree to maintain the highest standards of honesty and foster
ethical behavior at all times. Failure to uphold these ethical standards is a serious violation of
trust. Penalties can range from an E on an assignment to a failing grade in the course, depending
on the decision of the school administration.
Cheating: I will not cheat on academic assignments for journalism or use North Pointe time
and resources to cheat for another class. Examples:

Using or attempting to use, for any of my classes, unauthorized assistance, material or


study aids in examinations or other academic exercises, using resources not expressly
approved by the teacher, working with another student without teacher approval,
tampering with grades, purchasing a paper written by someone else or paying someone to
write an assignment for me.

Knowingly providing material or information to another person who will use it dishonestly.

Knowingly failing to report any incident of academic dishonesty of which I have actual
knowledge.

Conflicts of interest: I will avoid even the appearance of conflicts of interest by not being
personally involved in a story I cover. Exceptions must be discussed with an executive editor.
Examples:

I will never submit work (story or photograph) about an organization, club or team to which
I belong or to which I previously belonged without the approval of an executive editor. If an
editor offers such a story to me, I will immediately disclose my conflict of interest and
request another assignment.

I will not use a close friend, relative, or employer as a source without approval of an
executive editor. I will select, as sources for my story, informed people with whom I have
had no close personal relationship, or informed people whom I know only casually at school.

Fabrication: I will not submit for publication anything that is untrue, or that I have reason to
believe is untrue. Examples:

Making up information, falsifying or manipulating quotes (even with a sources permission),


faking anecdotes, creating fictitious sources or citing non-existent research.

If I believe a source may not be telling the truth, I will not use the information and I will
seek a more reliable and credible source. I will also point out any such suspicions to an
executive editor.

Plagiarism: I will never submit plagiarized material. Examples:

Plagiarism is defined as submitting another persons work, whether previously published or


not, as my own, or taking portions of another persons work, whether published or not, and
presenting them as my own in my work without properly using quotations and attributing
the source.

I will read the North Pointe (1) School Board Policy, (2) Editorial Policy, (3) Libel Law Overview
and (4) Code of Ethics, which contain detailed explanations of the above topics.
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I will ask questions of my adviser and editor when issues arise.

I understand the seriousness of these issues and realize how strictly violations will be dealt
with.

I accept the responsibility of upholding the reputation and integrity of the North Pointe staff.

Student signature
policies

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Parent signature: My child is aware of these

Handbook

SCHOOL BOARD POLICY


The North Pointe is a laboratory for journalism
students designed to serve the total community
of North High School, Grosse Pointe Woods,
Michigan. As a laboratory, the newspaper
provides staff members with independent
writing opportunities with individual evaluation.
Writing is based on a wide variety of research
for a broad and often critical audience. The
experience demands responsibility and
cooperation.
The Executive Board is ultimately the
publisher of the North Pointe, acting with the
privileges and within the limits established by
the Board of Education. The North Pointe does
not participate in any form of prior review. The
Executive Board is chaired by the editor-in-chief
(informally usually just called the editor) and
meets weekly to review business operations
and coverage planning. The Board can also
propose the promotion or discipline of staff
members and the reorganization of job duties to
the adviser and editor, who will decide on any
recommendations. An Editorial Board approves
the papers position for the editorial each issue.
Should the adviser disagree with decision
reached by the board, he may request a reevaluation after an explanation of his opinion.
The adviser has the power to veto a board
decision. The advisers veto should be
immediately appealed in accordance with
School Board policy JHCA.
The following guidelines are designed to assist
the Executive Board with the many difficult
decisions they face in directing a high-quality
publication. Policies cannot cover every
situation. Seek advice when questions arise.

School Board Policy JHCA Student


Media
Adapted by the Board of Education, August
2006
Freedom of expression and freedom of the press
are core values in our democratic society. The
mission of the Grosse Pointe Public Schools
includes teaching students these values, both
by example and by lesson.

As determined by the courts, student exercise


of freedom of expression and freedom of the
press are protected by both state and federal
law, especially by the First Amendment to the
U.S. Constitution. Grosse Pointe Public School
administrators and teachers are responsible for
encouraging and ensuring freedom of
expression and freedom of the press for all
students, regardless of whether the ideas
expressed may be considered unpopular,
critical, controversial, tasteless or offensive.
School-sponsored student media include print,
oral, or electronic media that are created,
composed, compiled, published, and/or
distributed under the supervision of an advisor
employed by the school system or appointed by
the school system to supervise that particular
medium. Two types of media are generally
considered school-sponsored student media.
Media that are produced as part of a
course such as a newspaper or video
announcements are school-sponsored
media. Creating media that serve the
school community is an integral part of
the learning that occurs for journalism
students.
Media that are produced in a program
outside the regular school day, have an
advisor employed or appointed by the
school district to supervise that
particular medium, use school district
facilities during their production, and/or
receive other support from the school
district (such as funding) are schoolsponsored media. Examples of media in
this category are the middle school and
high school literary magazines.
Content in these media may reflect areas of
student interest, including topics about which
there may be dissent or controversy. The
advisor will teach students the principles of
good journalism and will offer advice to
students on their content decisions before and
after publication. Because these media are
learning laboratories for students, student
writers, editors, and producers will be the
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primary decision makers regarding content for


school-sponsored media. However, the advisor
will ensure that appropriate review procedures
are in place before publication. The advisor may
remove an article or item or cancel distribution
of a school-sponsored student medium if it:

Is obscene as to minors according to


current legal definition;
Is libelous according to current legal
definition;

Is obscene as to minors according to


current legal definition;

Creates a material or substantial


disruption of the normal school activity
or appropriate discipline in the operation
of the school;

Is libelous according to current legal


definition;

Is an invasion of privacy according to


current legal definition;

Creates a material or substantial


disruption of the normal school activity
or appropriate discipline in the operation
of the school;

Advertises drugs, drug paraphernalia,


liquor, weapons or any products or
services that would be illegal for use by
minors; or

Is an invasion of privacy according to


current legal definition;

Erroneously attributes the views of the


writer to the school or the district.

Advertises drugs, drug paraphernalia,


liquor, weapons as defined by the
Student Code of Conduct, Policy JCD, or
any products or services that would be
illegal for use by minors; or
Erroneously attributes the views of the
writer to the school or the district.
As a matter of routine, the principal or
designated assistant principal shall not become
involved in decisions regarding publication or
distribution. However, the board recognizes that
there may be situations in which the principal or
designated assistant principal may involve
himself or herself in such a decision. On these
rare occasions, the principal or designated
assistant principal shall be guided by the same
guidelines identified above, and will meet with
the advisor to discuss a plan of action.
School-sponsored media shall operate within
these guidelines and any governing
organizational policy shall be consistent with
these guidelines.

Appealing Decision to Restrain


Publication
A student may appeal a decision by the adviser,
the principal, or the designated assistant
principal to remove an article or item or to
cancel distribution. At every stage of the appeal
process, those considering the appeal will
determine if the article or item in question:
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If the adviser acts to remove an article or item


or to cancel distribution, a students first appeal
should be made to the schools principal or an
assistant principal designated to perform this
function. The student should notify the principal
or designated assistant principal of his desire to
appeal by the end of the next school day. The
student may support his case with relevant
witnesses and/or materials. The principal or
designated assistant principal will make a
decision regarding the appeal by the end of the
next school day.

If the student remains dissatisfied with the


decision of the principal or designated assistant
principal or if the principal initiated the restraint
of publication or distribution, he may appeal
this decision to the superintendent. The student
should notify the superintendent, either orally
or in writing, of his desire to appeal by the end
of the second school day following the
principals decision. The superintendent or
designated assistant superintendent will
conduct a hearing by the end of the third day
after the appeal has been received. The student
may support his case with relevant witnesses
and/or materials. The superintendent or
designated assistant superintendent shall
render his or her decision in writing by the end
of the next school day following the hearing.

If the student remains dissatisfied with the


superintendents or designated assistant
superintendents decision, he may appeal this
decision to the board of education. The student
shall notify the secretary of the board in writing,
of his desire to appeal by the end of the second
school day following the superintendents or
designated assistant superintendents decision.
The board will conduct a hearing by the end of
10 school days after the notice of an appeal has
been filed with the secretary of the board. The
student may support his case with relevant
witnesses and/or materials. The board shall
render its decision in writing by the end of three
school days following the hearing. Publishing or
disseminating the article or item in question
during a pending appeal process shall be
grounds for suspension.

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EDITORIAL POLICY
Advertising
The North Pointe may publish advertisements
from individuals and businesses with signed
contracts on file, as long as the advertisement
does not violate any of the publications other
policies. The Editorial Board can choose to
decline an advertisement.
All newspapers are businesses, even the North
Pointe student newspaper. The North Pointe
makes money, mainly, by selling advertising.
The newsroom, however, operates completely
separate from the business side of the
operation. The news coverage has nothing to do
with advertising.
Its that separation that may cause to
sometimes see news reports revealing
unflattering information about a frequent
advertiser or detailing the accomplishments of
a business that never advertises. That
separation of the news coverage from the
newspapers financial interests is necessary to
protect the papers credibility.

1,800 copies of the North Pointe are printed


and distributed free to North students and
circulated to all schools in the district, along
with subscribing parents, alumni, faculty
emeritus and exchange schools.

All advertising must conform to North Pointe


editorial policy.

The North Pointe Editorial Board will refuse


any advertisement it deems to advocate
illegal activities, or be libelous, irresponsible
or obscene.

Advertorials or other advertisements made


to appear as news will not be run.

Advertising inserts are not accepted.

Political advertising for school campaigns is


not accepted.

Submissions & Deadlines


Advertising sale deadlines are two weeks prior
to the issue.
Advertising placement deadlines are one week
prior to the issue.
Clients are encouraged to submit their own
advertisements as PDF files.

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Basic advertisement design is included in the


standard rate. Charges may be made for
extensive services. No additional charge will be
made for the use of photos or art.

Billing Terms
Advertisers will be sent an invoice at the end of
each month, with payment due upon receipt.
Advertising placed by individuals must be paid
in advance.
New business clients with contracts of $100 or
more will be asked to pay 50 percent in
advance.
Advertisers agree to give 30 days notice of the
cancellation a contract.
The North Pointe may cancel contracted
advertising should the issue be cancelled or
space becomes unavailable. In such cases, the
North Pointe will not charge the advertiser, will
give advanced notice and offer alternatives.

Anonymous Sources: See Sources


Censorship: See School Board Policy,
Page 7
In the unlikely event of censorship or prior
review by school administrators, it is the
students role and not the advisers to
respectfully and intelligently oppose the
censorship through proper channels. It is the
students freedom that is at stake and the
adviser does not enjoy those rights in the
school setting. The editors should also contact
the Student Press Law Center for advice (703807-1904, splc@splc.org).

Conflict of Interest
Staff must avoid the appearance of conflicts of
interest by not being personally involved in the
stories they cover. Exceptions must be
discussed with an executive editor. Examples
include:
A reporter should not cover an event put on or
participated in by a club, organization or team
in which he or she is a member. Such reporters
may consult with the reporter assigned to the
story. The same principle applies to situations
when the reporters family is involved.
The editor-in-chief may not also hold the
position of Student Association president.
No writer may do both the objective news
coverage and editorial commentary on a single
issue or event.
No writer should participate in or get involved in
an event they cover (other than for the Ideas
page).

Corrections
The North Pointe is obligated to correct any
error as soon as possible, no matter the level of
consequence for the error. The corrections are
generally ran in the news briefs section, unless
the error is so egregious to warrant more Page
1 placement. The absence of such corrections
calls into question a mediums ability to call
itself a public forum.
Anyone who reports an error in the North Pointe
should be directed to talk to the adviser or
editor in person. Sometimes critics are rude.
Staff members must never allow anyone (even
an adult) to berate or intimidate them. See
Criticism.
Errors in grammar will not receive a public
correction.

Criticism from Readers


The North Pointe encourages reader feedback,
including criticism. Sometimes critics are rude.
Staff members must never allow anyone (even
an adult) to berate or intimidate them. Notify
the editor or adviser.
The North Pointe reserves the right to review
any feedback before publishing or posting and
may also remove comments made to articles on
the Web site (myGPN.org) if they do not meet
our standards. Under no circumstance is a noneditor to respond to any reader criticism,
whether the staffer was contacted via e-mail or
in person. Only the editor-in-chief should
respond to feedback. Furthermore, staff
members may not post comments on the Web
site.

Death
The death of a member of the school
community is a tragic event that deserves
respect. The goal is to allow appropriate
discussion of the circumstances. Accordingly,
The North Pointe will report when the Editorial
Board deems it appropriate, following these
guidelines.
Suicides of minors are not reported, unless they
occur in public.
Otherwise, any current student, staff member,
faculty member or building administrator who
dies during the year will be covered.
The story will publish factual information (date
of birth, date of death, survivors, organizations,
hobbies and interests) in a 300-word obituary
and include one mug shot if possible.

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The editor will first obtain permission from the


deceaseds family before publishing any
information regarding the cause of death.
An issue will not be dedicated to or in memory
of the deceased.

Discipline of North Pointe staff


members:
See Executive Board
Editorial Board
The North Pointe Editorial Board consists of the
editor, managing editors and deputy (section)
editors. Two staff members to represent the
general staff may be selected at the discretion
of the editor.
The board meets each issue to inform section
editors of coverage and production plans. The
board will also discuss and vote on the position
for the staff editorial. The editor will assign a
writer for the editorial and later ensure the
position taken reflects the boards directive. The
reporter writing who has written the news
report will not write the editorial.
Editorial Board meetings are generally held on
Tuesdays prior to production nights. The
purpose is to plan the next issue and approve
Ideas page items including the editorial.
Sample Editorial Board Meeting Agenda
1. Editors announcements
2. Advisers announcements
3. Assign pages to page editors.
4. Assign content to pages.
a. Editors plan art for pages
b. Editors plan dummy layouts for
pages
5. Assign editorial topic
a. Discuss North Pointes items
6. Discuss any staff problems and possible
solutions
7. Other topics from editors
The Editorial Board also advises the Executive
Board and can overrule an executive decision
with a 2/3 vote.

Editorials & Letters


The Editorial Board votes to approve editorials.
Editorials: Editorials are the official position of
The North Pointe Editorial Board.
Viewpoints: Other signed opinion articles
represent solely the perspective of the author.
Letters: The North Pointe will attempt to
publish all letters to the editor from a member
of the school community, unless an unusually
large number of submissions does not allow. In
such an event, readers will be directed to read
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all submitted letters on the North Pointe Web


site (myGPN.org). However, The North Pointe
may refuse to publish a letter deemed to have
no value as news or criticism.

Letters to the editor may be edited for


length and news writing style. If the
letter is shortened, an editor will show
the author a copy of the new version
prior to publication.

Letters to the editor must be verified


with the author.

Errors: See Corrections


Executive Board
The North Pointe Executive Board consists of
the adviser, the editor-in-chief and other editors
appointed by those two. The Executive Board
makes all policy decisions and governs the dayto-day operation of the newspaper. A policy
decision may be overturned by a two-thirds
majority vote of the Editorial Board. The
Executive Board meets weekly; more often if
needed. The Executive Board, in consultation
with the adviser, will make recommendations to
the adviser regarding disciplinary actions and
staffing problems. The final decisions on these
matters will rest with the adviser.

Gifts
Reporters should not accept gifts in their role on
the North Pointe staff. Promotional items for
reviews coverage may be accepted by the
adviser on behalf of the staff. The items will be
given to student reporters for the purpose of
writing a review.

Fair Use
The North Pointe editors will ensure that the
publication respects copyright laws and train
the staff on appropriate fair use. Copyright
law contains a list of the various purposes for
which the reproduction of a particular work may
be considered fair, such as criticism, comment,
news reporting and teaching. To comply, we will
only use:
a small portion of the copyrighted work,
in reference to news or commentary about the
copyright owner of that work,
from a legally obtained source.

Journalism Honors Society:


Criteria for graduation cords
Wearing an honors cord at the graduation
ceremony is a select privilege.

Students must join the Quill & Scroll Society


(www.uiowa.edu/~quill-sc). Quill & Scrolls
membership criteria:
a) They must be of junior or senior
classification. Second semester
sophomores may be initiated during the
last grading period of their sophomore
year. Their membership will become
effective at the beginning of their junior
year.
b) They must be in the upper third of their
class in general scholastic standing,
either for the year of their election or for
the cumulative total of all high school
work.
c) They must have done superior work in
some phase of journalism or school
publications work. They may be staffers
of a magazine, newspaper, yearbook,
news bureau or radio/television station.
d) They must be recommended by the
supervisor or by the committee
governing publications.
There are no annual dues to Quill & Scroll.
When a candidate is recommended for
membership, he or she pays a one-time
initiation fee ($15 in 2009-10). The Society then
provides the initiate with an official membership
card, a membership insignia and a one-year
subscription to Quill & Scroll magazine. The
publication adviser will order the honor cord
and provide it to the graduate.
Additionally, to earn an honor cord, the North
English department criteria must be met.
a) They must have served multiple years
on a publication staff.
b) They must have served in a leadership
position.
c) They must have received grades of A- or
above.

Libel & Privacy: See also libel policy,


Page 17
Libel is illegal. Every journalist must understand
the legal definition of libel and the four key
elements of establishing it: publication,
identification, injury and fault. There are five
defenses against libel charges: truth, privilege,
fair comment, consent and right of reply.

myGPN.org

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The myGPN.org Web site is an extension of the


North Pointes print edition and all rules and
policies apply.

Obscene: See also Profanity


Obscene material is illegal and will not be
published by the North Pointe. Something is
obscene, as defined by the Supreme Court in
Miller v. The State of California, 1973, when it
satisfies all three of the following tests. (1)
Something a reasonable person, applying
contemporary community standards, would find
to appeal to prurient interest, when taken as a
whole; (2) Work which depicts or describes, in a
patently offensive way, sexual conduct
specifically defined by the applicable state law;
and (3) Work, when taken as a whole, lacks
serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific
value.

Prior Review: See also Censorship


The North Pointe will not be prior reviewed by
administration, faculty or students prior to its
release to the public. The editor or adviser may
seek advice from the administration at any
point in production.
Sources may, upon request, be presented with
a copy of their quotations for confirmation by
the reporter assigned to the story. The adviser
must be informed in the event of such a
request. Sources will not be allowed to preview
a draft of a story before publication. Anyone
pressured on this policy must notify the adviser.

Prohibited Material
Reprinted with permission: Student Press Law Center,
Washington, DC, 202-466-5242 (www.splc.org)

Students cannot publish or distribute


libelous material. Libelous statements are
provable false and unprivileged statements that
injure an individuals or businesss reputation in
the community. If the allegedly libeled party is a
public figure or public official as defined
below, then school officials must show that the
false statement was published with actual
malice, i.e., that the student journalists knew
that the statement was false, or that they
published it with reckless disregard for the truth
without trying to verify the truthfulness of
the statement.
(1) A public official is a person who holds an
elected or appointed public office.
(2) A public figure either seeks the publics
attention or is well known because of
personal achievements.
(3) School employees are public officials or
public figures in articles concerning their
school-related activities.
(4) When an allegedly libelous statement
concerns a private individual, school officials
must show that the false statement was
published willfully or negligently, i.e., the
student journalist who wrote or published
the statement has failed to exercise
reasonably prudent care.
(5) Under the fair comment rule, a student is
free to express an opinion on a matter of
public interest. Specifically, a student may
criticize school policy or the performance of
teachers, administrators, school officials and
other school employees.

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Students cannot publish or distribute material


that is obscene as to minors. Minor means
any person under the age of 18.
(1) Obscene as to minors is defined as material
that meets all three of the following
requirements:
a) The average person, applying
contemporary community standards,
would find that the publication, taken as
a whole, appeals to a minors prurient
interest in sex; and
b) the publication depicts or describes, in a
patently offensive way, sexual conduct
such as ultimate sexual acts (normal or
perverted), masturbation, and lewd
exhibition of the genitals; and
c) the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious
literary, artistic, political, or scientific
value;
(2) Indecent or vulgar language is not obscene.
Students cannot publish or distribute
material that will cause a material and
substantial disruption of school
activities.
(1) Disruption is defined as student rioting; or
substantial seizures of property; or
substantial student participation in a school
boycott, sit-in, walk-out, or other related
form of activity. Materials such as racial,
religious or ethnic slurs, however distasteful,
are not in and of themselves disruptive
under these guidelines. Threats of violence
are not materially disruptive without some
act in furtherance of that threat or a
reasonable belief and expectation that the
author of the threat has the capability and
intent of carrying through on that threat in a
fashion not permitting acts other than
suppression of speech to mitigate the threat
in a timely manner. Material that stimulates
heated discussion or debate does not
constitute the type of disruption prohibited.
(2) For a student publication to be considered
disruptive, specific facts must exist upon
which one could reasonably forecast that a
likelihood of immediate, substantial material
disruption to normal school activity would
occur if the material were distributed or has
occurred as a result of the materials
distribution. Mere undifferentiated fear or
apprehension of disturbance is not enough;
school administrators must be able to show
substantial facts that reasonably support a
forecast of likely disruption.

(3) In determining whether a student


publication is disruptive, consideration must
be given to the context of the distribution as
well as the content of the material. In this
regard, consideration should be given to
past experience in the school with similar
material, past experience in the school in
dealing with and supervising the students in
the school, current events influencing
student attitudes and behavior, and whether
there have been any instances of actual or
threatened disruption prior to or
contemporaneously with the dissemination
of the student publication in question.
(4) School officials must protect advocates of
unpopular viewpoints.
(5) School activity means educational student
activity sponsored by the school and
includes, by way of example and not by way
of limitation, classroom work, library
activities, physical education, official
assemblies and other similar gatherings,
school athletic contests, band concerts,
school plays, and scheduled in-school lunch
periods.
Advertising is constitutionally protected
expression. School publications may accept
advertising. Acceptance or rejection of
advertising is within the purview of the
publication staff, who may accept any ads
except for those for a product or service that
are illegal for students. Political ads may be
accepted. The publication should not accept ads
only on one side of an issue or election.

Profanity
Profanity and bad taste are not illegal, yet it is
reasonable for a student publication to avoid
both. It is difficult to make absolute rules
governing the use of stories and illustrations
that have the potential to offend readers. If a
writer and section editor feel profanity is
necessary to appropriately tell a story, approval
of the Editorial Board is required.

Reporting
Editorial and opinion articles will be clearly
distinguished from news reports, which must be
free from editorializing. Reporters will not falsity
information, invent quotes, quote out of
context, or deceive people of their role as a
reporter. Polls will be scientifically based, with
statistically accurate sampling methods.
Reporters will strive to present multiple
perspectives on issues.
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H a n d b o o k | 15

R-Rated Entertainment
Reviews of R-rated movies, M-rated video
games and explicit music must be approved by
the editor-in-chief prior to being approved for
assignment.

Sources
Reporters will avoid quoting their friends, unless
they are directly involved in the story.
Consulting an executive editor is advised.

have freedom of press rights in a student


publication; the students do).
In the story identify the source as accurately as
possible (e.g. a senior girl said) without creating
a false name, if possible.

Staff Membership
The privilege of serving on the North Pointe
staff is earned by completing the prerequisite
course of Journalism or Honors Journalism with
grades of a B or better each semester. The
prerequisite can be waived by the adviser.
Behaviors that warrant dismissal from a staff
position include but are not limited to:

Reporters will not quote or photograph North


Pointe staff members unless they are essential
sources for the story and approved by an
executive editor.

a violation of the North Pointe Ethics Pledge,

Quotations must be attributed to named


sources.

a violation of confidentiality and privacy of staff


discussions,

Anonymous Source Guidelines

misusing North Pointe privileges or resources,

Use anonymous sources only if there is a


compelling reason and only if the information
given can be verified through another, known
source. When sources are not given, people
may question the credibility not only of the
source but also of the news medium.
Reporters must never promise a source
anonymity until getting approval from the
editor-in-chief. The promise must be precise.
The North Pointe will not use your name in
print or reveal it to a school official. However,
we will comply with a legal subpoena if
compelled to do so. Stand by promises.
Consider sources motives before promising
anonymity. Verify information given by an
anonymous source. Be cautious in making
promises; consult the editor; take time to
consider ramifications of promises; dont be
pressured.
Anonymous sources can be used to tell their
own stories but cannot be used to accuse
others of embarrassing, illegal or unethical
behavior.
The adviser should not know who the sources
are. The editor must. (The adviser does not

16 | N o r t h P o i n t e S t a ff

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consistent missing of deadlines,


significant and/or repeated disruption of the
working and learning environment, including
disrespect for student editors.
The adviser may unilaterally invoke this policy
at any time. Additionally, any editor may
present a recommendation for dismissal to the
Executive Board, with documentation. The
board will then notify the staff member of the
pending discussion and the charges. The
adviser will notify a parent. A meeting of the
board will be held to hear the charges and the
defense. The board may then discuss the case
in closed session and decide by a majority vote
to dismiss or find another resolution. A
dismissed staff member may appeal any
decision in writing within one week, and the
board and a principal will read this appeal. A
majority vote by the editorial board is needed
to overturn the dismissal.
Students dismissed from the North Pointe staff
may elect to continue to enroll in Advanced
Journalism class but may not contribute
material for publication in the North Pointe
while not on staff.

LIBEL LAW OVERVIEW


Student Press Law Center: Reprinted with
permission

Libel is the publication in words, photos, pictures


or symbols of false statements of fact that harm
anothers reputation. (Libel is a form of
defamation. Slander is the spoken version of
defamation.) Reprinting or re-broadcasting a
libelous statement made by someone else (such
as a quote or a letter to the editor) can also
subject a publication to a libel lawsuit. However,
if a statement is true, it cannot be the basis
of a successful libel claim.

The PIHF checklist


There are four elements a person must establish
in order to prove he or she has been defamed: (1)
Publication, (2) Identification, (3) Harm and (4)
Fault. Each of the four elements must be proven.
For example, even if a story you have written
meets the publication, harm and fault elements, a
libel claim will still fail if you have not identified
the claimant.

Publication
A statement is published if it is communicated
to someone other than the person whom the
statement is about.
Publication can take many forms and does not
simply mean that the statement has been printed
in a newspaper or other document. For example,
a defamatory statements presence on a
computer screen in the newsroom where it is read
by other students could constitute publication.

Identification
A statement identifies a person if it is shown
that it is of and concerning that person.
Disguising a Subjects Identity: Where you
successfully omit or alter a subjects identity, they
cannot successfully sue you for libel. Care should
be taken that: (1) the subjects identity has been
disguised enough so that no one can reasonably
make an identification and (2) the disguised
subject does not resemble some third party who
would then have cause for complaint. Every story
should clearly state what facts have been altered.

Group Libel: Individuals can be defamed; groups


of people cannot be. The key question is whether
a statement about a group can reasonably be
interpreted to refer to a specific individual in the
group. While there is no hard rule, several courts
have indicated that individual members of a
group larger than 25 will have a difficult time
proving that they have suffered individual harm.
On the other hand, individuals in a smaller group
may be able to claim that their reputation has
been damaged. For example, the generic
statement, the tennis team is being investigated
for substance abuse could subject a publication
to a libel suit if the team consists of just 12
members.
Corporation or Entity Libel: Corporations and
other business entities, including private schools
and religious organizations, can be defamed. Like
individuals, their reputations affect their ability to
conduct their affairs in a community.

Harm
A statement is harmful if it seriously shames,
ridicules, disgraces or injures a persons
reputation or causes others to do so. Statements
that are mildly embarrassing or merely confusing
or inaccurate will not meet the harm test.
The following are examples of Red Flag
statements that could cause significant harm to a
persons reputation; extra caution is advised:
Statements regarding improper sexual
conduct. (For example, printing that a student
is pregnant.)
Statements that associate someone with a vile
disease.
Statements that accuse someone of illegal
behavior.
Statements that hurt someones livelihood.
Statements that allege racial or religious
bigotry.

Fault
In order to be at fault in publishing a statement,
the person suing must prove that the reporter
either did something they should not have done
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H a n d b o o k | 17

or that they failed to do something that they


should have done. If the reporter did everything a
reasonable reporter should have done to verify
the information in his or her story before
publishing it for example, talked to all sides,
obtained and read all relevant documents, took
accurate notes, etc. the reporter is not legally
at fault. People suing for libel who are either
public officials or public figures will often have to
prove a higher level of fault than an ordinary
person.
The Public Official/Public Figure Standard
New York Times Company v. Sullivan (1964)
In order for a public official or a public figure to
prove defamation, they must prove actual malice.
Actual malice requires that the person suing prove
that the challenged statement was published by
those who either knew it was false or were
reckless in verifying its accuracy.
Who is a Public Official?
The Supreme Court has said that a public official
is one who, at the very least, has or appears to
the public to have, a substantial responsibility for
or control over governmental affairs.
Who is a Public Figure? There are two categories:
(1) General Purpose Public Figure: a celebrity,
whose pervasive fame or notoriety has made his
or her name a household word.
(2) Limited Purpose Public Figure: someone who
has voluntarily assumed a leading role in a
particular public controversy.
Standard for Private Persons (everyone
else)
In most states, a private person need only prove
that a reporter was negligent, that is, that the
reporter made a mistake perhaps an innocent
one that a reasonable reporter should not
have made.
SPLC hint: Dont get bogged down trying to
decide whether your subject is a public or private
figure. That is a game best left to media lawyers.
As a practical matter, it is safest to assume that
every one of your subjects is a private person and
that you will be held to the lowest fault standard if
you publish inaccurate information. Remember, if
you do everything a reasonable reporter would do

18 | N o r t h P o i n t e S t a ff

Handbook

for every story that you publish you will never be


successfully sued for libel.

Defenses to libel claims


If a libel plaintiff proves each of the four PIHF
elements, the burden then shifts to the
publication to offer one of the following defenses:

Consent
A person who consents to the media's use of a
libelous statement about him cannot later sue if
the statement does, in fact, injure his or her
reputation. Note that special issues can arise
when dealing with a younger person's ability to
provide valid consent.

Truth
Truth, while it must still be proven, is an absolute
defense to libel. In many cases involving media
defendants the burden is actually on the person
suing not on the publication to prove the
falsity of specific statements.

Privilege
Subject to several requirements, which may vary
by state, the media is protected from liability
when they publish fair and accurate accounts of
official public proceedings and reports even if the
information reported later turns out to be false.
For example, if a police report states that Jack
Smith was arrested and a newspaper accurately
reports the information, the newspaper will not be
held liable even if it is later revealed that police
actually arrested Jack Brown and officers made a
mistake when they wrote down his name. To
qualify for the privilege:
The information must be obtained from a
record or proceeding recognized by the state
as official.
The media report must be fair and accurate. A
fair report is one that is balanced and
presented in context.
The source of the statement should be clearly
noted in the media report.
Other privileges exist, but vary from
jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Opinion Versus Fact


Statements of pure opinion cannot be libelous.
However, simply leading off an article with In my
opinion ..., publishing something on the opinion
page or using the word alleged provides no
automatic protection from a libel charge. The test
is whether the expression is capable of being
proven true or false. Pure opinions, by their very
nature, cannot be proven true or false. Milkovich
v. Lorain Journal Co. (1990)

Satire and Cartoons: If a statement cannot


reasonably be interpreted by readers to be one of
express or implied fact, it cannot be libelous. In
Walko v. Kean College of New Jersey (1988) a case
involving an ad that associated a college assistant
dean with a telephone sex service, the court
stated that A parody or spoof that no reasonable
person would read as a factual statement, or as
anything other than a joke albeit a bad joke
cannot be actionable as a defamation.

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H a n d b o o k | 19

CODE OF ETHICS
Adapted with permission from The NSPA Model Code of Ethics for High School Journalists
1 Be Responsible.
(1.1) Understand that
students are custodians, not
owners, of the North Pointe,
and they have an inherent
obligation in decision-making
to consider the reputation of
publication, the values of the
school community, the
educational concerns of
school officials, and the
wants of readers.
(1.2) Keep yourself, the
reporter, out of print. Its not
about you; its about the
readers you serve. For the
most part, student reporters
and editors should not
appear in the North Pointe
unless they are legitimate
newsmakers. In those cases,
the particular student
journalists should have no
influence on the coverage,
and any conflict of interest
should be disclosed.
(1.3) Strive for substantive
stories that produce insight,
generate accountability and
inspire reader interest and
engagement. Do not yield to
those who would suppress
such insight or resist
accountability.
(1.4) Remember that
protections of the First
Amendment were created to
serve not the press but
rather the people, and as a
journalist you must guard the
peoples interests above all
others.
(1.5) Know the legal rights of
student journalists and
balance those rights with
ethical responsibilities.
Having the right to say
something doesnt make it
right to say it.
(1.6) Defend relentlessly the
First Amendment rights of
students. Protect relentlessly
20 | N o r t h P o i n t e S t a ff

media advisers from


retribution brought about by
their advocacy of student
rights.
(1.7) Demonstrate credibility
and exemplify
trustworthiness, reliability,
dependability and integrity in
and beyond journalism work.
Your personal attributes
affect the integrity of the
North Pointe.
(1.8) Be careful in covering
stories about wrongdoing not
to perpetuate misdeeds. For
example, printing a
photograph of malicious
graffiti expands the vandals
canvas.
(1.9) Do not allow vulgar or
profane language to
overshadow the essence of a
story. If used, have
compelling purpose and
rationale to justify the
audiences need to read
vulgar or profane words.
Consider alternatives to using
profanity. For example, words
may be partially obscured or
bleeped. Do not use profanity
in opinion articles, such as
editorials, columns and
letters to the editor.
(1.10) Maintain a
commendable work ethic
pursuing excellence, taking
initiative, keeping to task,
meeting deadlines and taking
care of the workplace and
equipment. Inspire fellow
staff members to do the
same.
(1.11) Cultivate respect for
your adviser, fellow staffers,
school officials and others.
Nurture an effective working
relationship within the staff.
Keep emotions in check.
Support team effort in
gathering and reporting
news. Be loyal in protecting
Handbook

the best interests of your


news medium.
(1.12) Know when to show
restraint in pursuing stories.
For example, a spontaneous
demonstration in the
cafeteria by three students
protesting the in-school
suspension of a friend may
receive notoriety, but its
news value likely is
insignificant. Furthermore,
coverage of the incident may
bolster the participants and
embolden others to disrupt
the cafeteria too.
(1.13) Exemplify effective
leadership through the power
of performance rather than
the power of position.
Express genuine interest in
every staff member. Be
sensitive to other points of
view. Inspire teamwork and
intrinsic motivation. Prioritize
mentoring over clout.
2 Be Fair.
(2.1) Begin the search for
truth with a neutral mind. Do
not prejudge issues or
events; wait until the facts
and perspectives have been
gathered and weighed.
Discover truth without letting
personal biases get in the
way. Teach people to live by
truth by presenting
information objectively in a
context that reveals
relevance and significance.
(2.2) Explore controversial
issues dispassionately and
impartially. Dont go into a
story with a personal agenda.
(2.3) Justify coverage
decisions by showing
newsworthiness of story. Do
not use your position with the
paper to inflate your ego,
favor friends, or advance
other personal agendas that
are self-serving. For example,

if you profile an athlete of


the week, be ready to show
the criteria and objective
process for selection.

without giving the source


credit. A comparable
prohibition applies to the use
of graphics.

(2.4) Pursue a panoramic


vision of issues and events to
achieve balance and fairness.
You may not know what the
story really is until the story
unfolds as you research it
and talk with sources.

Information obtained from a


published work must be
independently verified before
it can be reported as a new,
original story. This policy also
forbids lifting verbatim
paragraphs from a wire
service without attribution or
pointing out that wire stories
were used in compiling the
story.

(2.5) Welcome diverse


perspectives and particularly
rebuttals to editorial
positions.
(2.6) Refrain from getting in
the last word by attaching
an editors note to a letter to
the editor. In rare
circumstances, a clarification
note may be justified.
(2.7) Take initiative to give
subjects of allegations an
opportunity to respond in a
timely manner. Make a
serious effort to contact
those subjects before going
with a story in order to allow
a response.
(2.8) Label or otherwise
clearly identify editorials,
opinion columns and
personal perspectives.
(2.9) Disclose any potential
conflict of interest by a
journalist. For example,
conflicts of interests could
involve personal relationships
with news subjects or
sources, associations with
organizations, gifts and
perks and vested interests
in issues or events.
(2.10) Appreciate the fact
that at any given time a
reporter sees only a part of
what can be seen. Dont
jump to conclusions.
3 Be Honest.
(3.1) Do not plagiarize.
Plagiarism is defined as the
word-for-word duplication of
another persons writing or
close summarization of the
work of another source

Because plagiarism can


significantly undermine the
public trust of journalists and
journalism, editors should be
prepared to consider severe
penalties for documented
cases of plagiarism, including
suspension or dismissal from
the staff. Plagiarism is not
only unethical, it is illegal if
the material is copyright
protected.
(3.2) Do not fabricate any
aspect journalism work
without full disclosure. The
use of composite characters
or imaginary situations or
characters will not be allowed
in news or feature stories. A
columnist may, occasionally,
use such an approach in
developing a piece, but it
must be clear to the reader
that the person or situation is
fictional and that the column
is commentary and not
reporting. The growth of
narrative story development
(storytelling devices) means
that reporters and editors
should be especially careful
to not mix fact and fiction,
and not embellish fact with
fictional details, regardless of
their significance.
(3.3) Identify yourself as a
reporter and do not
misrepresent yourself while
engaged in journalism tasks.
For example, a source
deserves to know if he is
engaged in casual
conversation with a student

or more guarded
conversation with a reporter.
(3.4) Do not tolerate
dishonesty of any staff
member. One dishonest act
of an individual can
profoundly damage the
reputation of a whole news
organization. Be completely
honest in reporting.
Remember, half-truths can be
just as egregious as outright
lies.
(3.5) Stand by promises,
including protecting the
identity of confidential
sources. Consider sources
motives before promising
anonymity. Verify information
given by an anonymous
source. Be cautious in
making promises; consult
editors; take time to consider
ramifications of promises;
dont be pressured.
(3.6) Be guarded about the
credibility of sources, and
confirm questionable
assertions. Do not be misled
by insincere or unreliable
sources. Try not to make
reader guess whether a
source is sincere. For
example, an untruthful or
embellished quote from a
source can taint belief in the
sincerity of other contributors
as well.
(3.7) Be cautious of using
satire. Because it involves
irony and sarcasm, it is often
misunderstood. Because it
usually involves ridicule, it
could be carried to an
inappropriate level in a
school setting. For example,
because special April Fools
Day editions can damage a
papers integrity and
credibility, and because they
can pose a libel risk, the
North Pointe does not publish
them.
(3.8) Do not electronically
alter the content of news and
feature photos in any way
that affects the truthfulness

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H a n d b o o k | 21

of the subject and context of


the subject or scene.
Technical enhancements,
such as contrast and
exposure adjustments, are
allowed so long as they do
not create a false impression.
Photo content may be altered
for creative purposes as a
special effect for a feature
story if the caption or credit
line includes that fact and if
an average reader would not
mistake the photo for reality.
Strive to record original
action in photos, and make
sure readers are aware if a
photo is set up or posed.
(3.9) If using a recording
device, get interviewees
permission and make it
obvious with the placement
of the device that you intend
to record. Michigan law
requires both people to agree
to record a conversation.
4 Be Accurate.
(4.1) Remember that
accuracy is often more than
just a question of getting the
facts right. Accuracy also
requires putting the facts
together in a context that is
relevant and reveals the
truth.
(4.2) Be a first-hand witness
whenever you can. Gather
raw facts. E-mail, news
releases, press conferences,
official statements and the
like are no substitute for
firsthand accounts and
original investigation.
(4.3) Review stories to make
sure information is presented
completely and in proper
context that will not mislead
the news consumer.
(4.4) Know your subjects
history to help measure his
credibility as a source. If the
subject has a reputation for
embellishing information,
make sure to verify
information with another
source.
22 | N o r t h P o i n t e S t a ff

(4.5) Be willing to read back


quotes to check for accuracy.
Sometimes a source may not
be saying what he really
means.
(4.6) Verify questionnaires
answered by sources. Make
sure no one posed as another
person. Check comments for
sincerity and accuracy.
(4.8) Engage in fact-checking
every story. Train
copyreaders to spot red flags
and to verify questionable
information.
(4.9) Be cautious about
information received via the
Internet. Not all sources are
consistently credible,
including sites such as
Wikipedia, YouTube, blogs,
and Facebook. Verify
questionable information by
consulting other sources.
5 Be Independent.
(5.1) Recognize inherent
differences between the
professional news media and
the student news media, and
understand that the latter
will always be subject to
some oversight by school
administrators. Show
administrators how it is in
their best interests and the
school communitys best
interests to recognize student
independence, within the
parameters of law, in
controlling the content of
their news medium.
(5.2) Resist prior review as a
practice of administrative
oversight in favor of less
intrusive and more effective
oversight strategies. Prior
review dilutes student
responsibility and puts more
responsibility in the hands of
administrators. Should the
journalism experience teach
responsibility or obedience?
(5.3) Hold no obligation to
news sources and
newsmakers. Journalists and
news media should avoid
Handbook

even the appearance of


conflict of interest.
(5.4) Accept no gifts, favors
or things of value that could
compromise journalistic
independence, journalistic
ethics or objectivity in the
reporting task at hand. For
example, a reporter covering
a Spanish Club buffet event
should not put his or her note
pad and camera down to
partake in the event.
(5.5) Declare any personal or
unavoidable conflict of
interest, perceived or certain,
in covering stories or
participating in editorial or
policy decisions.
(5.6) Learn state laws
regarding freedom of
information, open meetings
and shield laws. News media
serve an essential function as
a watchdog of government,
and student journalists
should not be asked to
engage in any activity that is
the responsibility of outside
agencies, such as law
enforcement, school
administration and
government. Cooperation or
involvement in the work of
these agencies should be
restricted to what is required
by law. Legal agencies, such
as the Student Press Law
Center may be contacted for
advice.
(5.7) Avoid working for
competing news media or for
people, groups or
organizations that the
journalist covers.
(5.8) Show courage and
perseverance in holding
school officials and other
decision-makers accountable
when student control of
student news media is
threatened.
(5.9) Give no favored news
treatment to advertisers or
special interest groups.

(5.10) Guard against


participating in any school
organizations or activities
that would significantly
create a conflict of interest.
Journalists particularly should
avoid holding office in
student government, or they
should be prepared to excuse
themselves in either
journalism or government
forums when decisionmaking could pose a conflict
of interest.
(5.11) Do not use a byline for
editorials that represent the
opinions of the Editorial
Board.

6 Minimize Harm.
(6.1) Look beyond the likely
impacts of each story,
keeping alert to identify and
respond to any unintended or
undesirable consequences
the story may hold in the
shadows. Identify options for
dealing with undesirable
consequences. Determine if
full disclosure of information
may jeopardize student
welfare unnecessarily; if so,
decide what can be held back
without jeopardizing the
publics right to know.

from their own poor


judgment when their
comments can put
themselves and others in
jeopardy.

(6.2) Report immediately to


school authorities any person
who threatens the safety of
himself or others.
(6.3) Choose an option less
offensive than self-censorship
when it is prudent to do so.
For example, the son of a
secretary accused of
embezzling from the student
activity fund may be in
distress when learning the
student paper will cover the
story. Tapping the school
counselor rather than
engaging in self-censorship is
a better remedy to help the
son deal with his fear of
humiliation.
(6.4) Do not put student
reporters in legal jeopardy or
physical danger. Undercover
stories may be unethical and
may pose significant risks.
Student journalists must
obey the law. For example, a
minor student who illegally
purchases liquor to show
readers which stores violate
the law also incriminates
himself. Covering gang issues
and other volatile topics
require close faculty
supervision and safeguards
to protect student welfare.
(6.5) Be especially sensitive
to the maturity and
vulnerability of young people
when gathering and reporting
information. Take particular
care to protect young sources
N o r t h P o i n t e S t a ff

H a n d b o o k | 23

(6.6) Do not allow sources to


use a news medium in
malicious ways or ways that
serve self-interest above the
best interests of news
consumers. Be on constant
guard to spot clandestine
efforts publish inappropriate
messages.

sex crimes, should be


protected from disclosure. Do
not implicate by association.
For example, do not say a
school secretary was arrested
and charged with . The
reader could suspect any
school secretary.

(7.1) Admit mistakes and


publicize prompt corrections.
(7.2) Expose unethical
practices of student
journalists and student news
media, and make remedies.
(7.3) Use press passes for
admission or special
privileges only in the
capacity of a working
journalist.

(6.7) Show respect and


compassion for students who
may be affected
detrimentally by news
coverage.

(7.4) Provide news media


consumers with opportunities
to evaluate student news
media.

(6.8) Be sensitive when


covering stories involving
people in distress, and reject
unreasonable intrusion by
student media in their lives.

(7.5) Be friendly and sincere


in welcoming criticism and
weighing grievances from
public.

(6.9) Balance the publics


right to be informed with an
individuals right to be let
alone.

(7.6) Have dialogue with


administrators, and be
prepared to justify decisions,
policies and actions.

(6.10) Understand and


respect the different privacy
expectations for private
citizens, public figures and
public officials when covering
issues and events.

(7.7) Keep notes and


recordings of interviews for
an indefinite time as
evidence of responsible
reporting.

(6.11) Be cautious about


identifying students accused
of criminal acts or
disciplinary infractions. Avoid
naming minors. Michigan law
establishes someone 18years-old as an adult. If a
student is legally an adult, be
ready to show a compelling
reason for identifying the
name. Relevancy and news
value can constitute a
compelling reason. For
example, if an 18-year-old
student were suspended from
school for attending the
Homecoming dance drunk,
the name likely would not be
used in a news story.
However, if the student is the
Homecoming Queen, the
news element of prominence
may justify using the name.
The names of some crime
victims, especially victims of

24 | N o r t h P o i n t e S t a ff

7 Be Accountable.

(7.8) Hold school


administrators accountable
for their actions and
decisions just as they hold
student journalists and
student media accountable
for their actions and
decisions.
(7.9) Use the power of
student media judiciously,
and be prepared to provide
rationale for any decisions or
actions taken by news staffs.
(7.10) Use anonymous
sources only if there is a
compelling reason and only if
the information given can be
verified through another,
known source. When sources
are not given, people may
question the credibility not
only of the source but also of
the news medium.

Handbook

North
Pointe
Styleguide
A burro is an ass. A burrow is a hole in
the ground. As a journalist you are
expected to know the difference.
The United Press International Stylebook

Style is used loosely to refer to


correctness in spelling, grammar,
syntax, usage or even matters of fact.

Style hierarchy
1. North Pointe Styleguide
2. CSPA Stylebook
3. Associated Press Stylebook
4. Dictionary

Top 9 style essentials


(1) Abbreviations: When in doubt, spell it out.
(2) Capitalization: Avoid unnecessary capital

letters.
(3) Composition titles: Use italics.
(4) Numbers: Spell out single-digit numbers.
(5) Punctuation: Choose what sounds best out

loud.
(6) Quotations: Get it exactly right, or dont

quote it.
(7) Titles: Tell us who these people are.
(8) Voice: Always write in third person voice

unless youre deliberately changing it.

(9) Use the North Pointe Styleguide

Sources
Columbia Scholastic Press Association stylebook
The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel
Manual
The Elephants of Style by Bill Walsh
Lapsing into a Comma by Bill Walsh

addresses

A-B

See the ABBREVIATIONS.

administration

ABBREVIATIONS: When in doubt, spell


it out.
Avoid abbreviations. Dont assume the reader
knows what you are writing about. On first
reference, spell out anything that might be
confusing. Student Association (not S.A.),
Advanced Placement (not AP).
When you plan to use an abbreviation later in
the story, do not follow the name of group with
the abbreviation in parentheses. Often, the later
abbreviation is unnecessary with clear writing.
The Student Association is planning an ice
cream social.
It will be a lot of fun, President Sammy
Scoggin said.
Note that the abbreviation S.A. is not needed
before president because its in the previous
paragraph.
It is the associations third attempt to raise
money for student rights awareness.
The abbreviation S.A. is avoided
Days of week: Do not abbreviate.
Months with six or more letters are
abbreviated if they are used with a specific
date. Spell out those with five or fewer
letters. Always spell out the month when it is
used without a specific date.

Aug. 13, June 6. It starts in August.

States: Always spell out state names.


Street names: Never abbreviate road.
Abbreviate avenue (Ave.), boulevard (Blvd.)
and street (St.) when a complete address
is given. Otherwise, spell out. The correct
forms are: 320 N. Main St., North Main Street,
Third Street and 42nd Street.
Course titles: do not abbreviate

Lowercase.

administrator
Never abbreviate.

Advanced Placement
Capitalize and spell out on first reference when
standing alone. Use AP without periods on
second reference or when used with a course
title.

adviser
Note the e.

affect
Affect with an a is usually a verb; effect with
an e is usually a noun. To affect is the have an
effect on. Remember that affect is the verb and
effect is the noun and youll almost always be
correct.
Two exceptions: Effect can be a verb that
means to bring about, as in to effect change.
And affect can be a noun that means
emotional state or the outward expression
thereof, as in the psychological observation
that someone displays a flat affect.

ages
Always use figures. Compound modifiers require
hyphens: A 8-year-old girl, a 8-year-old, she is 8
years old.

a lot
Its two words. Not alot. (However, this
expression is vague and is best avoided.)

all right
Not alright.

a.m., p.m.
Lowercase, with periods.

And then I said

accept, except
Accept means to receive: She accepts his
invitation to prom. Except means to exclude:
Except she doesnt want to go with his friends.

And and but are just as eligible as any other


words to start a sentence. And they often work
well to provide continuity or a transition. But I
was taught never to do this, you might say.
Well, you were taught wrong.

ACT

and/or

Acceptable abbreviation in all uses. If


necessary, its an exam, not a test. She took
the ACT exam last week.

Just use or whenever possible.

anytime
One word.

26 | N o r t h P o i n t e S t a ff

Handbook

app

Bush, President George W.

Acceptable abbreviation for application.

The former Presidents name is George W. Bush.


He is not a junior. His fathers name is President
George H.W. Bush. Note, the position of
President of the United States is always
capitalized out of respect.

assistant principal
Not vice. Never abbreviate.

baby-sit, baby-sitting, baby-sat, baby


sitter

black
Lowercase. If the adjective is necessary, ask the
person whether they prefer African American.

calendar items

Use and capitalize School Board when referring


to the Grosse Pointe Board of Education. Listing
Grosse Pointe is not usually necessary.

In announcing events, identify the event and


then the details in this order: place, day, date,
time, and cost: Student Association members
are sponsoring a dance in the gym on Friday,
Oct. 13, 7 p.m., $7 tickets.

bold font style

In a list:

Board of Education

Do not bold words in body text.

book titles

Friday, Oct. 13 Student Association dance in


the gym, 7 p.m., $7 tickets

See COMPOSITION TITLES.

cannot

boys and girls

CAPITALIZATION: Avoid unnecessary


capital letters

Use boys and girls to designate teams. Do not


use an apostrophe: the team does not belong to
the boys or to the girls, but to the school. In
most cases, boys or girls is used as part of a
noun phrase: The girls varsity soccer team beat
South High School. The boys cross country
team placed fifth in state competition.

boyfriend
One word.

brackets
Use parentheses instead to show words
inserted into a quote. However, usually, its
better to rewrite the direct quote into an
indirect one to avoid awkwardness.

bulleted items
Introduced with a colon. Begin with a capital
letter and end with a period (not a semicolon),
even if they arent complete sentences. Do not
use an and to complete the list.

bylines
Capitalize the By and do not use punctuation
marks, such as a colon. In a double byline, use
an ampersand & instead of and. If a reporter
and editor write together, the second byline is
reporters. Make sure to include the plural s. If
both are editors of any level, use editors. Do not
include a blank line between the byline and the
lede.

Generally, only capitalize formal titles used


before an individuals name.
Principal Tim Bearden
Set titles off with commas and lowercase after a
name: Tim Bearden, principal
It is best to place a long title after a name.
A formal title is one that shows a position of
authority or accomplishment. Other informal
titles serve as occupational descriptions.
Social studies teacher Brian Degnore; coach
Brian Stackpool
It is often best to place a title more than two
words after a name.
Terri Steimer, social studies department chair,
said
Capitalize the name of specific governing
bodies such as Student Association and Board
of Education. Do not capitalize general names
like school board or committee.
Do not capitalize a.m. or p.m. Include the
periods.
Capitalize specific courses, not but subject
areas. Generally, use the informal name for

courses. Honors Freshmen English, but science


class. Do not capitalize departments.
Capitalize the word room when used with a
number: Room B-302. Use a hyphen for North
rooms.

captain
Lowercase and spell out in such uses as team
captain Steve Yzerman.

cellphone
One word.

chair
Lowercase for the head of departments.

chapters
Capitalize when used with a number in
reference to a section of a book. Always use
numberals. Chapter 1.

children
Generally, when quoting an elementary school
student, identify them by first name only, grade
and school.

classes
Capitalize official class names, but lowercase
when used to identify individuals. junior, junior
class, senior Andy Klingensmith, Class of 2014.

coach
Do not capitalize.

colleges
Do not abbreviate. Michigan State University,
University of Michigan

The optional comma is not used in journalism.

COMPOSITION TITLES: Use italics.


Titles are in italics; names are in regular text.
Newspapers and magazines have names, while
movies, books and TV shows have titles.
Capitalize the first word of any title. Capitalize
all words that are four letters are longer. Do not
capitalize the articles a, an and the. Do
not capitalize conjunctions or prepositions,
unless they are four letters or longer.
Gone With the Wind (with is a preposition,
but it is capitalized because of the four-letter
rule).
Newspapers and magazines: Do not italicize
or use double quote marks around the names of
newspapers or magazines: North Pointe, The
Academy Times, Newsweek, The Oregonian,
Willamette Week.
Subtitles: Article headlines and song titles are
in quotation marks.

compound modifiers
When two or more adjectives express a single
concept, use a hyphen to link the words. The
12-member team, the 36-year-old teacher.

courtesy titles
Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms. should not be used, unless
it is in a direct quote: Quiz Bowl captain Trevor
Duncan won first at nationals. Duncan said,
We couldnt have done it without Mr. Byrne.

course titles.
Lowercase.

D-H

colon
In body text, the first word after a colon is
capitalized only if it begins a complete
sentence. In headlines, the first word after a
colon is always capitalized.
commas
See the CSPA STYLEBOOK for a detailed
explanation of proper comma use.
Use a comma to separate a direct quotation
from the sentence.

"This class is awesome," said senior


Kristin Carlson.
Libby Sumnik, sophomore, said, "I love
lady bugs."
28 | N o r t h P o i n t e S t a ff

Handbook

I have red, green and blue crayons.

dash
Use dashes to denote an abrupt change in
thought in a sentence or an emphatic pause:
Obama offered a plan it was unprecedented
to raise taxes. Note the space before and after
the dash.

dates
Keep the date of the publication in mind when
writing for newspaper readers. Today is the date
of the publication. Be careful not to write in
future tense when the readers will be seeing
your story after the event.

Always specify both the day and the date, as in


Tuesday, March 15.
Do not use on before a date.
Do no not use st, nd, rd, th in a date.

days of the week

reflecting on their authority: politician,


teacher, soprano soloist, pitcher, guard.
Do not use false titles before a persons name
as in goaltender Emma Huellmantel. Instead,
set the name off from the description with
commas: Emma Huellmantel, goaltender.

Always spell out in body text. Monday, not Mon.

freshman, freshmen

departments

Do not pluralize freshman as an adjective. Its


freshman girls, not freshmen girls, just as its
sophomore boys, not sophomores boys. Use
freshmen as a plural noun: The freshmen
elected a new president.

Use lowercase except for words that are proper


nouns or adjectives: the social studies
department, the English department.

different
The word different is often redundant, as
in several different options or many different
participants. Since you can't have several of the
same option or many of the same
participant, several options and many
participants will do nicely.

districts

For more information, call 555-1234.


Dont make the sentence complicated. Be
concise.

fundraiser
One word.

girlfriend

Lowercase in sports stories.

One word.

dollar dollars

girls

Beware of the use of a dollar sign and the word


dollars with the same amount, as in $100
dollars.

editor
Capitalize as an official title but not as a job
description. North Pointe Editor Sammy
Scoggin, said editor Rachel Premack.

editor-in-chief
The North Pointe usually calls the top editor just
editor.

effect
See AFFECT.

ellipse
Three periods with a space before and after
shows that words have been omitted from a
quotation. Seldom needed at the beginning or
end of a sentence.

email
One word. Theres a difference however
between email and an email address. So, when
someone asks, Can I have your email, tell
them no, but you can have my e-mail
address.

false titles
Never capitalize false titles which describe a
persons occupation or skill without

Use boys and girls to designate teams. Do not


use an apostrophe: the team does not belong to
the boys or to the girls, but to the school. In
most cases, boys or girls is used as part of a
noun phrase: The girls varsity soccer team beat
South High School. The boys cross country
team placed fifth in state competition.

GPA
Acceptable in all references for grade-point
average.

grades
Use A-minus, C-plus, etc. (not A-, C+) when
mentioning letter grades in text. In headlines
its ok to abbreviate. Use an apostrophe with
plurals of single letters, otherwise As will look
like the word As.

Grosse Pointe Public School System


Can you think of any reason you would need to
write the full name? Neither can I. Use the
district or the school system.

headlines
Write in present tense.

his/her
Rewrite sentences into the plural form
Weak: A student can register for his or
her classes online.

Better: Students can register for their


classes online.

Homecoming
Capitalize as a proper noun. Are you going to
Homecoming? Lowercase as an adjective. I
have to find the perfect homecoming dress.

limousine
Not limo.

magazine names
See COMPOSITION TITLES.

masthead
The box in the newspaper, usually found on the
editorial (ideas) page, that lists the editors. The
flag or nameplate is the strip with the logo on
the top of page one.

I-N
IDENTIFICATION: Fully identify all
sources
On first reference, identify a person by title,
class or position: Principal Tim Bearden, history
teacher Patrick Hicks, sophomore Maria
Liddane.
Avoid use of double identification in a
story, especially in sports: guard Maria
Liddane (not sophomore guard Maria
Liddane), English teacher and
Harbinger adviser Geoffrey Young.
When it is necessary to mention people
with the same last names in the same
story, distinguish between the two by
using full names throughout, unless the
type of story calls for first-name
treatment, such as a feature story about
twins.

Mom and Dad


Capitalize such terms when theyre used as
substituted names: Mom and Dad wouldnt let
me stay up late. Lowercase other usages:
Jennas mom and Jeremys dad took us all to
the movies.

months
See ABBREVIATIONS.

money
Use figures for money. $7. Avoid unnecessary
zeros. $7.00. Watch for the redundant $7
dollars. Spell out cents, as in 50 cents.

movie titles
See COMPOSITION TITLES.

MP3

Internet

North High School

Capitalize the proper noun.

Why are you putting the name of the school


into your story or headline? Readers know
where they are. You wouldnt write United
States President Barack Obama, would you? If
you must use something for clarity, just use
North, not North High School.

How do you instruct someone to go to a Web


site? There you have it! Go to works just fine.
Visit and check out also present no
difficulty.
URLs: Put them in parentheses if needed to
improve the flow of a sentence.

junior varsity
Capitalize and do not use periods when
abbreviated as a modifier. Shes a member of
the junior varsity, or, shes a member of the JV
team.

Spell out single-digit numbers, including


fractions. The exceptions to this rule are:
Addresses: 7 Maple St.
Ages: Always use figures. The 2-year-old cried.

kids

Cents: 5 cents.

Use students instead.

Dollars: $5, $2.6 million

lady
Do not use Lady as in Lady Norsemen, or
Norsewomen. Everyone is a Norseman.

Dates: April 2. Do not use d, rd, st, nd.


Dimensions: She is 6 feet tall.
Grades: Single letters get an s and an
apostrophe. She gets all As.

lifeskills
One word
30 | N o r t h P o i n t e S t a ff

NUMBERS: Spell out single-digit


numbers

Handbook

Millions, billions: 3 billion people


Ordinal numbers: Spell out first through ninth.
Use figures for 10th and above. Do not use
superscript.
Pages: Use figures and capitalize. Page 2.
Percentages: 5%
Plural forms: Numbers like 3s get the s but no
apostrophe. (The same rule applies to decades:
The 1960s.) Single letters like Bs get the s and
an apostrophe. Multiple letters like ABCs get the
s but no apostrophe.
Sentences: Spell out numbers at the beginning
of a sentence.

Exception to the exception years. 1968


was one of the worst years in American
history.
Sports scores: Always use figures. Place a
hyphen and no spaces between scores.
Temperatures: 3 degrees
Time: 8 a.m. (not 8:00 a.m.)
Zeros: Do not use unnecessary zeros.
Examples: Write seven cents rather than
$.07. Write 10 a.m. instead of 10:00 a.m.

O-R
online
One word, lowercased.

OK
Not okay.

page numbers
Use figures and capitalize the word page when
its used with a number: Page 5.

parentheses

Acronyms and organizations: Do not


use a period after initials of commonly
accepted or widely known organizations,
buildings, activities, etc.: FBI, PTO.
Use periods after U.S. and U.N.
(Remember that U.S. and U.N. are only
abbreviated when used as adjectives.)

Use periods for a.m. and p.m.

Ellipsis: Three periods are used to form


an ellipsis, which indicates omission of
words. Treat it as a three-letter word,
with spaces on both sides and no space
between the periods within the ellipsis:
Webster defines ellipsis as the omission
of one or more words necessary to
make the expression grammatically
complete.

When words are deleted from the end of


a complete sentence, the original period is
kept in addition to the ellipsis: Webster
defines ellipsis.
Parentheses: Put a period inside
parentheses when a complete sentence
is enclosed in brackets or parentheses:
(The day was too hot for baseball.)
When the parenthetical expression forms
only part of the sentence, put the period
outside the bracket or parenthesis: The day
was too cold for football (or skiing).
Quotes: A period always goes inside
quotation marks. Other punctuation
marks go inside when they are part of
the quoted material: I saw the play, he
said. He said, I saw the play. Did you
see the play? he asked. Should I see
King Lear?

Use parentheses to show words inserted into a


quote. However, usually, its better to rewrite
the direct quote into an indirect one to avoid
awkwardness.

physical education

percent

Lowercase with periods between letters.

The symbol % is acceptable in all uses.

PowerPoint

periods

This is a brand name and is spelled as listed.

Abbreviations: Use a period after most


abbreviations (also see ABBREVIATIONS): B.A.,
M.A., Ph.D., Jr., the Rev., Feb. 2, 3001 N.E. 31st
Ave., c.o.d., f.o.b., a.m., p.m.

Do not abbreviate.

p.m.

Prom
Capitalize as a proper noun. Are you going to
Prom? Lowercase as an adjective. I have to find
the perfect prom dress. Do not write Senior
Prom as North only has one Prom now-a-days.

PUNCTUATION: Choose what sounds


best out loud
Punctuation helps a reader understand the
story, and consists mainly of stop, pause and go
signals. The standard rules of punctuation
learned in English classes are also generally
applicable in newspaper writing. There is
usually more than one proper way to punctuate
a sentence; therefore, choose what will work
best for readers, and follow the styleguide.

QUOTATIONS: Get it exactly right, or


dont quote it.
Capitalize the first letter of the first word in a
quotation that stands as a sentence.
Never change a quotation to correct someone's
grammar. For example, if you're interviewing
someone who says, I aint got no problem with
them there neighbors, you may write:
I ain't got no problem with them there
neighbors, he said.
And you may write:
He said he has no problem with his neighbors.
And, while it looks odd, you could write:
I got not problem with ... (the) neighbors,
he said.
But you may not write:
I have no problem with the neighbors, he
said.
That would be lying. He did not say that.

QUOTATIONS: Punctuation style.


Use one of the following styles.
Physical education teacher Mark
Ciaravino said that all students would be
allowed to play basketball.
Identify people by their full name and title on
the first reference in a story. On the second
reference, use only their last name.
Jenn Cusmano, senior, said journalism is her
favorite class.
Journalism is the best, Cusmano said.
Place end-of-sentence punctuation marks within
the quotation marks when they apply only to
the quoted matter. Place them outside when
they do not.
Steve asked, What is for lunch?
Jenny said, No way!

32 | N o r t h P o i n t e S t a ff

Handbook

What is the meaning of the term


circumference?
Identify the source at the end of the first
sentence, in the middle of the paragraph. For
example:
The University of Nebraska is amazing,
Adwers said. I mean who couldnt love such a
great school?
When the speaker or subject matter changes,
start a new paragraph.
Dont bury the attribution in a multi-sentence
quote.
Where does the period go?
In American English, the period always goes
inside the quotation mark. Why? It just does.
Correct: We saw Spider Man II.
However, in British English, the period isnt part
of the title. Why? They just do.
Correct, in England: We saw Spider Man II.

QUOTATION MARKS
Double quote marks are used to enclose direct
quotations.
Irony and slang: Double quote marks are used
to set off slang expressions or words that are
used with a meaning other than the usual one.
Nicknames: Double quote marks are used to set
off nicknames.
Single quotation marks are often used in error.
They are needed when:
Quote within a quote: Single quote marks are
used for a quotation within a quotation.
In headlines: Single quote marks are used in
headlines to save space.
Running quotations: When one quotation is
broken into paragraphs, each new paragraph
starts with quotation marks. Only the final
paragraph (or quoted statement) ends with
quotation marks:
Jones said, I doubt any of this will come out in
the hearings.
Usually these things are covered up by the
senators. Its a shame, but its true, he said.
Paragraphs: Quotations should begin a new
paragraph. Otherwise, the quotation may
become buried in a long paragraph. It is almost
always better to begin with a quotation instead
of the credit line.

Math teacher Brad Armbruster said, Students


should always do their homework.
It is important to be on time for class, he said.
More quote tips
Quote goes before attribution, unless
different person has just been quoted.
When asked: Do not write when asked.
Simply say what the speaker said.
Put the word said after the subjects
name.

single quotes
In American English, single quotation marks
have only two roles: One, theyre used when a
quotation occurs within another quotation; two,
theyre used in newspapers, as a matter of
typographical style, in headlines and other
headings. Some writers seem to think minor
quoted matter, such as nicknames, is not
worthy of a full quote and thus gets single
quotes, but they are mistaken.

sports terms

Smith said. Not said Smith. (Unless its


on purpose to improve flow of sentence.)

See the AP STYLEBOOK for sports term style.

Many people start their quotes with I


think. Delete it and start with the rest of
the sentence.

Lowercase in sports stories.

reviews
The review should be in present tense if it's an
album or movie, for example, because those
still exist even after the review is published:
Guitarist Bill Smith is at his best ... The review
should be in past tense if its a concert or
something that no longer exists once the review
is printed: R.E.M. did not sound up to par at
this show.

room numbers
Use a capital letter and a dash. Capitalize the
word room when used with a number: Room B127.

said
Dont use any word for said without a strong
reason.

School Board
Capitalize when referring to the Grosse Pointe
Board of Education. Listing Grosse Pointe is not
usually necessary.

school names:
Spell out. South High School, not South,
University of Michigan, not U of M. North: Just
North. However, usually its not necessary to
write North in a story. Its implied that all North
Pointe stories are about North unless the story
says otherwise.

seasons
Lowercase: winter, spring, summer and fall.

states
state names
See ABBREVIATIONS.

T-Z
teachers, faculty, staff
Teachers are part of the faculty, which includes
administrators and counselors. Staff includes
everyone who is paid to work at North.

team names
Do not capitalize team designations: The
varsity team, basketball team, soccer team.

T-shirt
Capital t.

time
Use periods with a.m. and p.m. Avoid
unnecessary zeros, such as 3:00 p.m.
AP style is 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
a.m., p.m. Lowercase with periods between
letters.
When a time falls on the hour, omit the zeros.
Follow it with a.m. or p.m. Time precedes day.

Wrong: The game begins Friday evening


at 8:00 p.m.

Right: The game begins at 8 p.m. Friday.

Right: The game begins at 8 p.m. Friday,


Feb. 15.

TITLES (of people): Tell us who these


people are
Titles before a name: Formal titles of three
words of less usually go before names and are
capitalized. There is no comma between the
title and the name.
On first reference of students, use the class and
the full name. Next reference, just last name.
I love ice cream, junior Gabby Burchett said.
Titles after a name: Formal titles are
lowercased if you choose to place them after
the name.
Rick Snyder, Michigan governor, said, I will
fight for the people.
Occupational titles: Occupational titles are
descriptive of what a person does, but are not
formal. custodian, secretary, student, pitcher.
See also FALSE TITLES.
It is often best to place a title more than two
words after a name.
Terri Steimer, social studies department chair,
said
Do not use courtesy titles (Mr. Mrs.)
commas in titles
Correct: Senior Class President Danny Schrage
will speak. (President is used as a title.)
Also correct: The Senior Class president, Danny
Schrage, will speak. (President is used as a
description, and the presidents name is n
apposition that is, set off with a comma.
Incorrect: The Senior Class President, Danny
Schrage, will speak. (Lowercase the p.)
Incorrect: Senior Class President, Danny
Schrage, will speak. (Dropping the the sets up
the correctly capitalized title. But then the
sentence goes and does the apposition thing.
For apposition to work correctly, the sentence

34 | N o r t h P o i n t e S t a ff

Handbook

must make sense without the material between


the commas. Student Council President will
speak does not make sense, unless its a
headline.)
Incorrect: Senior Class President, Danny
Schrage will speak. (The apposition requires two
commas.)

tuxedo
Not tux.

United States
The abbreviation U.S. is acceptable in all uses.

URLs
Web sites have names. Use it. Its usually listed
in the blue bar at the top of the navigator
window. Omit the http://.
Incorrect: Go to http://www.freep.com/.
Correct: Go to the Detroit Free Press
(freep.com).

Valhalla
Since references are generally made to the
book rather than the organization, use italics:
Valhalla.

video game
voice mail
Two words.

website
One word. The Web is a proper noun and is
capitalized.

will
Put away the crystal ball and stop calling Miss
Cleo on the North Pointe phone. Write what you
know.
Incorrect: The Student Association elections will
be on May 11.
Correct: The Student Association elections are
scheduled for May 11.

titles that are only job


descriptions: teacher, coach,
student, chair

social studies
teacher Patrick
Hicks

sophomore
Caroline
Schulte

Emma
Huellmantel,
senior goalie

ABBREVIATIONS: Avoid abbreviations.


o
o
o

o
o

Use: AP, ACT, SAT


Dont use: PE, GPN, GPPS, SA
When you plan to use an
abbreviation later in the story,
do not follow the name of group
with the abbreviation in
parentheses.
days: Do not abbreviate.
months: Abbreviate with six or
more letters if they are used
with a specific dates. Spell out
those with five or fewer letters.
Aug. 13, June 6. Always spell
out a month when it is used
without a specific date. The
season starts in September.
organization names: Avoid
abbreviations or acronyms
unless the group is widely
known. ACT, SADD. For lesserknown groups, spell it out. Then
use a term like the group.

INTERNET ISSUES

Number exceptions:
Spell out the number when it
begins a sentence. Exception
to the exception: Use digits
for years.

Fifty-two
seniors were
chosen for the
award. 1776
was a
memorable
year.
Always use digits for:

Addresses. 5
Maple St.

Ages. He is 2
years old.

Dollars. Pizza is
$1, pop 50
cents.

Dates. Feb. 14

Percentages. I
scored an 8%.

Times. School
starts at 8 a.m.

o Internet, website, online, email, login


o How do you instruct someone to go to a
Web site? Go to works just fine.
Visit and check out also present
no difficulty.

o URLs: Use the name of the site in the


text. Put the URL in parentheses if
needed to improve the flow of a
sentence. Dont use the http://. For
more information, go to the American
CAPITALIZATION AND TITLES: Avoid
Cancer Society website
capitalization unless theres a reason.
(www.cancer.org).
o titles of people: Capitalize one-word
OBJECTIVE WRITING: Use third
NUMBERS: Spell out single-digit
formal titles before a name.
person voice.
numbers and use figures for larger
For longer titles, lowercase
o Do not use the first or second person
numbers.
them and set them off with
pronouns, except in a quote. I, Ill,
commas after a name. Byrne, o They will play six games in the next
me, my, you, your, youre, us, we,
21 days.
Student Association adviser,
were, ours, our.
said, The dance will be
o Do not use unnecessary zeros: 10
Even in a column/review,
Friday.
cents, not $.10. 10 a.m., not 10:00
these words are seldom

Exception:
a.m.
needed. Ask for help in
Capitalize
rewording.
o Use figures for hours of day, ages,
Assistant
sums of money, street numbers,
o Definitions
Principal when
percents, dates, votes and scores.
Story: Objectively written in third
used before a
o
Never
use
d,
rd,
st,
nd
with
dates.
person.
name.
o
Plural
numbers
do
not
get
an
Viewpoint/column: The authors
o Do not capitalize:
apostrophe. The 1960s were a
opinion, usually written in third
names of classes: freshman
troubled time.
person.
class (but do capitalize Class

of 2012)
names of school subjects unless it is the official course
title or the name of a language. Examples: math, Algebra I, science, Film
Literature.
varsity, football team, varsity
soccer team
district or regional when
referring to sports
a.m. and p.m.

Single letters do get an apostrophe.

Editorial: The official position of the


editors. Almost always written in
third person voice.

I hope I get all As on my report card.

QUOTATIONS: Simple format, must be


used
o

Almost always use said.

Usually put the name first using


active voice (write in subject, verb,
object). Cusmano said, not said
Cusmano. (Start with the horse.)
Poor: the game-winning
basket was scored by Maria
Liddane.

N O RT H P O I N T E M I N I S T Y L E G U I D E
10/29/2015
Better: Maria Liddane scored
the game-winning basket.
o

A quote is usually a new paragraph.

Use one of the following styles for


direct quotes. Note the comma
setting off the quote and the capital
letter at the beginning of the quote.
Ending punctuation goes inside the
quotation mark.

adviser: not advisor

Assistant Principal: capitalize. Not


vice.

boys and girls: Use boys and girls to


designate teams. Do not use an
apostrophe: The team does not
belong to the boys or to the girls, but
to the school. In most cases, boys or
girls is used as part of a noun phrase:
The girls varsity soccer team beat
South High School. The boys cross
country team placed fifth in state
competition. Never use Lady
Norsemen.

Science teacher Gary Abud said,


Students should always do their
homework.
I love caterpillars, but not
butterflies, senior Tia Tsakos said.
o Place the attribution at the end
of short quotes or in the middle
of two or more sentences.
There are many ways to
connect two quotes, Scoggin o
said. One of the best is to
put the attribution in the
middle.
o

Indirect quotes are acceptable when


you know what the person said, but
the exact words are not available.
Notice there are no quotation marks.

Senior Danny Schrage said he has


o
mad basketball skills.
o Do not alter a quote to clean up o
sloppy speaking or note taking.
If you dont have a clean quote,
you can use an indirect quote or
re-ask the question.
o

Place end-of-sentence punctuation


o
marks within the quotation marks
when they apply only to the quoted
matter. Place them outside when they
do not.

Mike asked, What is for lunch?


What is the meaning of the term
circumference?

COMMON STYLE ISSUES

addresses: Abbreviate only with a


complete address. Dont abbreviate
the word road. 707 Vernier Road,
Mack Avenue, 123 Mack Ave.

Never start or end a quote


with an ellipse.
o

grades: use informal titles: senior,


freshman

names: On first reference, use a full


name and title. On second reference,
only the last name.
o Pages: Use figures and
capitalize the word page when
its used with a number: Page 5.

parentheses: Use parentheses when


information is added to a direct quote
for clarification (not brackets).

percent: % is acceptable in all uses.

profanity: Do not use it in this class.

rooms: Capitalize with a number. The


meeting is in the band room. The
meeting is in Room B-121.

calendar items: In announcing


o
events, identify the event and then
the details in this order: place, day,
date, time, and cost.
Student Association dance, in
the gym, Friday, Oct. 13, 7
p.m., tickets $7
o chair: Lowercase for the head
of departments.
cheerleading: One word.
comma: Generally, most students
should use more commas in their
writing to add clarity.
Optional commas are not
used in journalism. I have
red, green and blue crayons.
compound modifiers: When two or
more adjectives express a single
concept, use hyphens to link all the
words in the compound. Four-year
contract, 12-member team, 15-yearold girl, well-respected deputy editor

o
ellipse: Dont overuse. Three dots
proceeded and followed by a space
o
shows words have been omitted. For
a pause, use a dash not an ellipse.

School Board: Use and capitalize


when referring to the Grosse Pointe
Board of Education. Grosse Pointe is
usually not needed.
o school names: Spell out.
South High School, not South,
University of Michigan, not U of
M.
North: Just North. However,
usually its not necessary to
write North in a story. Its
implied that all North Pointe
stories are about North
unless the story says
otherwise.
o sports scores: Always use
figures. Place a hyphen and no
spaces between scores.
subjects: Lowercase, except
languages. science teacher, English
department.
time: periods and lower case with
a.m./p.m.
titles of compositions: Use italics
for the titles of books, music, movies
and most other titles.