Policies

Mission Statement and Purpose

As an open student forum, The MIHS Islander aims to provide news coverage that is meaningful to the Mercer Island High School community with accuracy, timeliness and fairness.

Editorial Policy

Editorials represent the views of The MIHS Islander’s Editorial Board. Editorials are written by members of the Editorial Board, and are presented to the Board for discussion and review. The Editorial Board consists of The MIHS Islander Editors in Chief, Managing Editor, Page Editors, Copy Editor, Business Manager, Columnists and Cartoonists.

Opinions expressed in editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the Adviser, student body, administration or school district.

Opinion pieces published by The MIHS Islander do not necessarily reflect the views of The MIHS Islander’s staff, Adviser, student body, administration or school district.

Reader Feedback and Submission Policy

Readers may contact The MIHS Islander via email at mihsislander@gmail.com. Letters to the editor are encouraged, and we value constructive reader feedback of all kinds. We reserve the right to publish letters to the editor in print and/or online issues, and will attribute letters anonymously unless the sender specifically requests to be named.

Our online newspaper — mihsislander.org — accepts comments on all articles, but the Online Editor in Chief has discretion over the content of all comments posted to the website and reserves the right to block comments. Comments submitted to mihsislander.org that are disruptive or violate protected speech will be deleted.

The MIHS Islander welcomes reader-submitted articles and opinions pieces. Submissions should be sent via email to mihsislander@gmail.com in an editable file format. The Editorial Board has discretion over which reader-submitted pieces are published and how they are attributed. Reader submissions can be attributed anonymously only when naming the author would jeopardize their security, status or position.

The MIHS Islander maintains accounts on Facebook (facebook.com/TheMIHSIslander), Twitter (@theMIHSislander), Instagram (@themihsislander) and Spotify (@The MIHS Islander). All social media accounts belonging to The MIHS Islander are managed by the Editorial Board in consultation with the Adviser.

Posts, comments and replies on The MIHS Islander’s social media pages are monitored by the Online Editor in Chief and the Editorial Board; we reserve discretion to delete any content that falls under non-protected speech.

Advertising Policy

Those interested in advertising may contact The MIHS Islander via email at mihsislander@gmail.com. All print advertisements will be printed in black and white unless otherwise stated. All advertisements must be received in PNG format and in the agreed-upon dimensions.

Payments must be received within 10 days of the invoice being sent. All transactions are non-refundable unless there is a mistake on behalf of The MIHS Islander.

The Editorial Board reserves the right to deny an advertisement.

Comics and Editorial Cartoon Policy

Cartoons designed and created by the Cartoonist or any other staff member of The MIHS Islander must avoid creating caricatures of individual MIHS students, alumni or teachers without their consent. Any resemblance between original characters designed by the staff of The MIHS Islander and members of our community is purely coincidental and not intentional.

When creating visuals of a serious nature, people must be drawn accurately and must be recognizable. Under no circumstances will The MIHS Islander publish any rendering that negatively satirizes the actions of individual members of our school community; however, groups may be satirized so long as individual students are not singled out.

Editorial cartoons, when put into the paper, must be placed on the Opinions page and titled to separate it from other articles. Drawn visuals within the paper must contain the artist’s visible signature on the piece.

Any design deemed disruptive to an educational environment will not be published.

Photo and Image Policy

Photos in The MIHS Islander must only be taken by The MIHS Islander staff or students in Yearbook, with occasional exceptions. All photos strive to enhance the article and provide an additional source of information and contextualization.

Cameras and additional equipment are provided by the Journalism class. If a camera or equipment is lost or damaged, the student using it at the time is responsible for replacing it.

Satire Policy

All works of satire and humor are intended as such. No work published by The MIHS Islander in a humorous context should be taken as fact. All quotes and persons attached to them in a work of satire are made up. Any resemblance of fabricated characters to actual people — living or dead — is purely coincidental.

Policy Ratification and Amendment

Policy amendment or new policy ratification must be admitted through a ⅔ majority vote of the Editorial Board. New policies or amended policies must be published in the policy section of print editions and on mihsislander.org. All members of The MIHS Islander must abide by newly ratified or amended policies.

School District Policy

The MIHS Islander is school-sponsored media and student editors are responsible for determining the content of the print and online newspaper. The Mercer Island School District encourages student expression of opinion on school premises as long as it does not present a material or substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school.

Expression by The MIHS Islander is not necessarily the expression of school policy. Political expression by The MIHS Islander is not a use of public funds for political purposes under RCW 42.17A.550. No school official, School Board member or District employee may be held responsible in any civil or criminal action for any expression by The MIHS Islander under chapter 28A.600 RCW.

Responsibilities of Student Journalists

The MIHS Islander upholds commonly-used journalistic standards by following AP Style guidelines and reviewing content to exclude libelous or inaccurate information. Deviations from AP Style occur when deemed necessary and appropriate by the Editorial Board.

The MIHS Islander maintains its purpose to educate the student body on relevant matters while preserving journalistic integrity. Additionally, The MIHS Islander follows the Code of Ethics established by the Society of Professional Journalists, which can be found here: https://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp.

Unprotected Expression

The MIHS Islander does not publish any unprotected speech. This includes obscenity, language inciting violence, fraudulent misrepresentation, sponsorship of illegal conduct and violation of district policy, copyright infringement, libel, slander, defamation and speech causing substantial disruption.

Online Media and Use of Electronic Information Resources

The MIHS Islander prioritizes student events, sports and accomplishments. We strive to cover sporting competitions, plays, awards, events and student accomplishments.

The MIHS Islander has the right to publish, promote and advertise articles that do not infringe on legal obligations as outlined in our definition of unprotected speech. Only under the Editorial Board’s discretion will an article be removed from mihsislander.org.

Adviser Protections

In accordance with Washington state law, the Adviser assists students with the production process and gives advice on law and ethics, but is not responsible or liable for any content produced by student members of The MIHS Islander.

Non-school-affiliated Media

While The MIHS Islander is considered school-sponsored speech, all published media is exempt from administrative control and prior review. As such, no media published by The MIHS Islander through any medium is representative of the views of Mercer Island School District and its administration. The MIHS Islander’s student journalists accept all responsibility for views expressed by the newspaper, excluding guest submissions.

Mercer Island High School assumes no liability for content published by The MIHS Islander and asks all student journalists to recognize that with editorial control comes responsibility, including the responsibility to follow professional journalism standards.

Circulation Guidelines

All newspapers will be postmarked to all paid subscribers within three business days of the initial distribution. If you paid for a subscription but did not receive a copy of The MIHS Islander, please contact the Business Manager.

Subscriptions can be purchased on Fees and Photos Day and Curriculum Night at the beginning of the school year, on the Mercer Island High School online payment page, on the “Subscribe & Advertise” page on mihsislander.org or by contacting the Business Manager at mihsislander@gmail.com.

Updates and Corrections

As the story develops or new information is acquired, all relevant media published online will be updated to reflect a current state of affairs.

Errors will be reviewed, corrected and published with a correction notice at the bottom of the story including the date and details of the revision. Minor edits such as punctuation or spelling will be updated without a statement.

Inaccuracies in print editions will be modified before being uploaded to mihsislander.org via Issuu.

Interview Policy

In accordance with standard journalistic conventions, all facts or claims that The MIHS Islander publishes have been confirmed by multiple independent sources.

We quote and attribute anonymously only when naming a source would jeopardize their security, status or position. Sources themselves can request for specific parts of their interviews to be off-the-record or attributed anonymously — requests which we will generally honor.

When attributing, we use the pronouns preferred by the source. When recording an interview, we inform the source of all formats in which we plan to use their quotes and recorded voices, and will only do so with their consent. Sources are also free to request prior review over a piece, though we have rarely granted such requests.

When quoting a source via email or other written forms of communication, The MIHS Islander reserves the right to edit for punctuation, grammar and spelling in a manner which does not change the tone or content of the quote.

Achievements and Accreditation

The MIHS Islander belongs to both the JEA/NSPA and WJEA.Our writers and newspaper have been recognized on both a national and state level by the JEA/NSPA and WJEA. The work of Islander staff has been featured in the Seattle Times, Washington Post, NPR and Vox, in addition to having been cited in the New York Review of Books.


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