The Prowler

Staff Policies

I. STATEMENT OF POLICY

Freedom of expression and press freedom are fundamental values in a democratic society. The mission of any institution committed to preparing productive citizens must include teaching students these values, both by lesson and by example.

As determined by the courts, student exercise of freedom of expression and press freedom is protected by both state and federal law, especially by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Accordingly, school officials are responsible for encouraging and ensuring freedom of expression and press freedom for all students.

Conroe Independent School District’s School Board Policy declares that “all publications edited, published, and distributed in print or electronically in the name of the District or an individual campus shall be under the control of the campus and District administration and the Board. All school-sponsored publications approved by a principal and published by students at an individual campus shall be part of the instructional program, under the supervision of a faculty sponsor.” (FMA Local)

CISD clarifies in FMA Legal:

“The District’s educators shall exercise editorial control over style and content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns. The District may refuse to disseminate or sponsor student speech that:

  • Would substantially interfere with the work of the school.
  • Impinges on the rights of other students.
  • Is vulgar or profane.
  • Might reasonably be perceived to advocate drug or alcohol use, irresponsible sex, or conduct otherwise inconsistent with the shared values of a civilized social order.
  • Is inappropriate for the level of maturity of the readers.
  • Does not meet the standards of the educators who supervise the production of the publication.
  • Associates the school with any position other than neutrality on matters of political controversy.
    (Hazelwood Sch. Dist. v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260, 108 S. Ct. 562 (1988))”

As an organization, Caney Creek Student Media, which creates The Creek yearbook, and The Prowler newspaper and news website, will and has traditionally operated as a public forum for student expression and as voices in the uninhibited, robust, free and open discussion of issues (except as noted within). Content in student media should reflect all areas of student interest, including topics about which there may be dissent or controversy.

II. OFFICIAL STUDENT MEDIA

A. Mission Statement

Caney Creek Student Media will use the highest level of journalism both with respect to the law and commonly accepted journalistic ethics in order to inform the public in a non-biased manner on issues relevant to the Caney Creek High School community, provide a voice for the voiceless – both adult and student members of the community, open up civil discourse on important issues, and challenge improper behavior or problematic practices of those in power at all levels.

B. Responsibilities of Student Journalists

Students who work on official, school-sponsored student publications or electronic media determine the content of their respective publications and are responsible for that content. They will not be subject to prior review or prior restraint within Constitutionally approved limits.

These student journalists should:

  • Determine the content of the student media using traditional reporting techniques and advise from the adviser when asked;
  • Strive to produce media based upon professional standards of accuracy, objectivity and fairness based on thorough reporting, research and verification;
  • Review material to improve sentence structure, grammar, spelling and punctuation, as well as follow the Associated Press style and internal stylebooks;
  • Check and verify all facts and quotations; and
  • In the case of online comments for the website, determine the appropriateness and relevance, need for rebuttal comments and opinions and provide space therefore if appropriate before they are published to the website, as well as reaction to similar comments on social media platforms.

C. Editorial Structure

Caney Creek Student Media staff members will produce for all three mediums (yearbook, newspaper, and news website) in an effort to produce well-rounded multimedia journalists. Staff leadership shall consist of the leadership council, which must include the adviser-selected positions of:

  • At least one editor-in-chief in charge of the yearbook production;
  • At least one editor-in-chief in charge of the print newspaper production;
  • At least one editor-in-chief in charge of the news website production and social media accounts;
  • A marketing director in charge of ad sales, product sales, staff recruitment, and public relations;
  • A photography editor in charge of scheduling coverage for all platforms and make high-level photography decisions; and
  • Various section editors at the discretion of the other editors.

D. Editorial Board

The editorial board shall include all editors in chief, the photography editor, and the opinions editor (if one is chosen that year), as well as at least five others in any position selected by those editors. The print newspaper editor-in-chief shall be in charge of designating the author of all staff editorials.

  • Staff editorial positions must be made with a three-fourths majority of the editorial board; and
  • Editorial board members who disagree with the position of the board shall be given the opportunity to respond either as a group or individually on the same platform as the original editorial was published.

E. Role of the Adviser

The adviser(s) of CCHS shall not act as a censor of the publication outside of what is allowed under Constitutional law. They shall provide:

  • Advice and education on best journalistic practices;
  • Advice on possible responses to ethical dilemmas;
  • Direction to journalism legal resources at student request and/or need;
  • Possible story ideas, so long as staff is aware the ideas are optional;
  • Equipment capable of producing Caney Creek Student Media products;
  • Oversight of Caney Creek Student Media finances;
  • Opportunities for staff development and growth;
  • Where to find high-quality journalistic resources; and
  • Other advice at the bequest of staff.

F. Prior Review of Publications

No student media, whether non-school-sponsored or official, will be reviewed by school officials prior to distribution or withheld from distribution. The school assumes no liability for the content of any student publication, and urges all student journalists to recognize that with editorial control comes responsibility, including the responsibility to follow professional journalism standards each school year.

G. Staff Conduct

Members of the Caney Creek Student Media organization will be held to a higher standard than the average student. Students are expected to behave not only within the confines of the Student Code of Conduct and Student Handbook of Conroe ISD and Caney Creek High School, but also abide by staff requirements for conduct that shall be agreed to between the leadership council and adviser every year. Non-negotiable behavior infractions, on or off campus, that will result in immediate expulsion from staff include:

  • Drug or alcohol use;
  • Bullying or abuse, including repeated use of racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise hateful language to other staff or non-staff members;
  • Intentional destruction or theft of Caney Creek Student Media property or equipment, or that of Conroe ISD;
  • Continued defiance of adviser or members of leadership council;
  • Intentional fabrication of sources, facts, photos or other content that would otherwise tarnish the journalistic integrity of Caney Creek Student Media; and
  • Encouraging others to violate any non-negotiable behaviors.

H. Balance and Objectivity

Members of the Caney Creek Student Media organization will present all news content in a manner befit a professional publication, which includes providing balance and objectivity to controversial topics within commonly accepted journalistic practice when producing content of any type, and remain an objective observer while acting as a member of staff.

Staff members retain their ability to put forth their opinion into the public discourse when not acting as a member of staff including topics that are controversial. Staff members, however, may have privileges revoked or be removed from staff if their non-staff persona, including use of social media, begins to repeatedly tarnish the reputation and/or business-making ability of Caney Creek Student Media at the discretion of the adviser after proper warning.

I. Academic Dishonesty

Caney Creek Student Media staff members may be removed from staff, have certain privileges revoked, or be otherwise punished if they are caught by school administration, teachers or the adviser cheating or plagiarizing school work, or content being created for Caney Creek Student Media products at the discretion of the adviser and policies created by the leadership council.

J. Ownership of Student Content

All Caney Creek Student Media staff members own the copyright in accordance with U.S. Copyright law, including the ownership of photos created for staff products, recruitment or other voluntary content creation. This includes stories, designs, photography, marketing product designs, and other content created at the bequest of a member of leadership council or as a favor for the adviser or other people while acting as a member of the Caney Creek Student Media staff.

Caney Creek Student Media staff members shall agree to allow Caney Creek Student Media to use all prior content created as a member of staff or using staff-owned equipment or materials in any form, including but not limited to journalistic publications, marketing, advertising or other public-relations materials for Caney Creek Student Media, in perpetuity, including after graduation.

No content may be used by Caney Creek High School, its faculty, staff or organizations, or Conroe ISD, without the prior, written consent of the staff member, so long as the content’s creator is able to be identified before use. If the staff member did not properly attach metadata, titles or other identifying information to the content while on staff, they agree that ownership of the content passes to Caney Creek Student Media upon graduation for use in any sense.

Caney Creek Student Media staff members agree to allowing Caney Creek High School and Conroe ISD, even after graduation, to use, but not own, content from previous years for limited projects so long as proper credit is given in accordance with the Caney Creek Student Media policy stated later in this document. These projects include:

  • Back-to-school videos;
  • District or campus presentations to employees; and
  • Video presentations to students.

All content created by a person on staff that was not created while acting as a member of staff nor with staff equipment shall not be used without prior, written permission from the staff member.

K. Use of Staff Member Images

Caney Creek Student Media staff members will have their pictures published on the news website, as well as potentially in the yearbook staff section. They also may have their image posted on staff social media, on printed materials, or other marketing materials. Those with objections to having their image used including for religious or legal reasons should speak with the adviser as soon as possible to either alleviate potential concerns or to make arrangements to avoid having their image used.

III. NEWS PLANNING, GATHERING, AND COVERAGE

A. Controversial coverage

Caney Creek Student Media staff members shall not shy away from controversial coverage. In fact, Caney Creek Student Media encourages the coverage of controversial topics in order to train future journalists on handling sensitive areas, provide an opportunity for public discourse on such topics, and to allow student voice on topic areas that often neglect youth input.

B. News judgment and news values

Caney Creek Student Media’s leadership council will be tasked with all news judgement and making final content decisions, including any optional story proposals presented by the adviser. Those stories, photos and other content shall be chosen based of timeless news values including timeliness, impact, proximity, conflict, uniqueness, and prominence. In short, members should choose stories both relevant, interesting and/or important for the CCHS community.

C. Diversity of sources

Caney Creek Student Media staff members shall produce content using a variety of sources including in-person and virtual interviews, experts, public records, staff-created data, historical records, crowdsourcing, and other commonly accepted journalistic sources.

Caney Creek Student Media staff members shall not rely on less than three sources for information is deemed controversial or potentially libelous for both the source and publication. In addition, all stories must contain a minimum of three sources including at least two interviews in order to preserve journalistic integrity and provide a diversity of voices and perspectives.

D. Treatment of sources

All sources should be treated with dignity and as humans first.

Caney Creek Student Media staff members shall not:

  • Be allowed to deceive a source to gain journalistic benefit of any sort;
  • Make coverage promises to sources without first discussing with their editor;
  • Intentionally take quotes or information out of context;
  • Take bribes, gifts or receive other benefits from sources if it will or can be perceived to remove their objectivity as a journalist in accordance with commonly accepted ethical practices;
  • Argue, unnecessarily embarrass, or otherwise treat a source in an undignified or unprofessional manner;
  • Use sources that the staff member has a personal relationship with unless previously approved as a last resort by their editor; nor
  • Conceal any previous relationships with a source being covered from their editor or the adviser.

E. Recording sources during interviews

Caney Creek Student Media staff members must make all sources aware they are being audio or video recorded. It is encouraged that members ask permission to record, although Texas law allows recording so long as one party consents. Staff members should consult with an editor or the adviser on handling sources reluctant to be interviewed using recording devices.

Staff members should also write notes as a backup to all recordings consistent with their personal style.

All recordings and notes should be kept on file for at least a year in the Caney Creek Student Media classroom and offices for the protection of both the source and publication. Staff members may be disciplined for failing to keep or destroying recordings of interviews.

F. Allowing sources to preview content before publication

No sources are ever allowed to preview the final version of content about themselves in any circumstance.

Caney Creek Student Media staff members may, and are encouraged to, ask sources follow-up questions, clarify stances, circumstances and facts, or read back quotes for accuracy during or after an interview for the sake of accuracy and fairness.

G. Distribution of content before publication

Caney Creek Student Media staff members shall not give out staff-produced content before it is published without the consent of the leadership council (with exceptions of the section editors). Leadership council must make the unanimous decision to give away unpublished content, such as photographs, graphics, videos or unused story content, before the staff member agrees.

In an effort to build community partnerships, publicity, and general goodwill within the school, leadership council is encouraged to provide organizations, school administration or faculty, and other community members content that will not be published anyway that is being requested to be used in:

  • Intra-organization purposes like scrapbooking or end-of-year presentations;
  • Projects that will be publically viewable around the school or community, such as murals, decoration, digital displays, and playbills or sports programs;
  • Slideshows and presentations for teacher classrooms, CCHS and Conroe ISD
  • Other intra-school projects that will not act as a supplement for Caney Creek Student Media publications.

Caney Creek Student Media staff members who get permission from leadership council to provide unused content shall require the recipient to provide proof that credit will be given to both Caney Creek Student Media and the copyright owner of the content. Photographs provided shall include both the photographers name and “Caney Creek Student Media” on every photograph. Bulk credit, such as “Courtesy of Caney Creek Student Media”, nor solely oral credit before or after the images used is not permitted out of fairness to the copyright holder.

Caney Creek Student Media staff members will be forbidden from providing any person or organization photos if the person or organization failed to provide adequate credit during the last agreement for at least one full semester.

Caney Creek Student Media staff content shall not be used in an organization’s, Caney Creek High School’s, nor Conroe ISD’s public relation materials of any sort for any reason. Caney Creek Student Media staff members may also not produce public relation materials while acting as a member of staff. Doing so jeopardizes the ethical standard of acting as unbiased journalists by association.

Caney Creek Student Media staff members may produce content on their own time as a favor or commission to organizations, Caney Creek High School or Conroe ISD as it does provide additional material for the staff member’s portfolio. Staff members may use PaCaney Creek ther Student Media equipment in such favors or commissions, so long as the equipment is not needed for official Caney Creek Student Media publication purposes.

Caney Creek Student Media staff may use content as collateral when trading for ad space to promote Caney Creek Student Media products that would otherwise cost money with the unanimous vote of the leadership council. For example, leadership council could approve providing content for the football program in exchange for free ad space promoting yearbook sales or website visits.

H. Emailing and texting digital information gathering

Caney Creek Student Media staff members shall use in-person interviews as the primary method of information gathering from people. Email and texting shall only be used as a method of clarification or follow-up questioning of sources unless as a matter of last resort approved by the publication’s editor.

I. Verification

Caney Creek Student Media staff members must verify the identity of the person they are interviewing by any virtual communication methods including telephone calls, email, video chat, text messaging or social media communication. Failure to do so jeopardizes the factual accuracy of the content.

J. Unnamed sources

Unnamed sources are to be used as a method of last resort when the individual wishing not to be named is the only source of information and all other methods of collecting the information in other ways, including consultation with the editor and adviser for advice, have been thoroughly exhausted. The story must be of compelling interest to the school and not content with little impact to the community nor that could be described as run-of-the-mill.

Caney Creek Student Media staff members shall never inform the adviser of the identity of the unnamed source in any manner whatsoever due to the adviser’s role as an employee of the school institution, which could end in the adviser being forced to reveal the identity of the source or defy the district’s orders. This could result in the adviser being forced to choose between standing up for the publication and their job. Staff members should, instead, consult with their editor with any issues. Reporters should divulge the identity of their source only to the editor of the publication where it will be produced only in the scenario where the qualifications, authenticity or conflict of interest of the source has been called into question. Should the staff member refuse to divulge the identity of the source upon their editor’s request, the staff member or the editor may be allowed to pull the story from publication citing ethical concerns.

K. Treatment of minors

Caney Creek Student Media staff members should keep in mind that many sources are under the age of 18 and may not fully understand the law, the way journalism works, nor the full impact of quotes or information they divulge to a reporter. Staff members are encouraged to be reasonable when sources request their interview be retracted before publication in the interest of not producing a reputation of a heartless media group. However, interviews may not be retracted in part, nor may they be retracted after publication. The decision to retract an interview must be granted by an editor.

Staff members are also encouraged to anticipate the impact of how a story or other content will impact the futures of the minor in their content. They should discuss potential impact with the minor, especially with regard to controversial topics, or potentially damaging quotes or information. The staff member and editors should keep in mind the balance between newsworthy information in the public interest and preventing unnecessary harm to an individual’s future.

Staff members must get permission from parents to interview individuals under the age of 13. They require no permission to interview individuals aged 13 or older in accordance with legal precedent. Staff members must, however, ensure the minor aged 13 or higher truly understands that their information will be published to a wide audience and understand the impacts it could have. Staff members are encouraged to talk with the minor about parental permission or acknowledgement when the topic is especially controversial and could jeopardize their future in some way.

L. Public records and meetings

Caney Creek Student Media members should be familiar with open meeting and open records laws in Texas and at the federal level. They are encouraged to file open records requests and attend open meetings during the newsgathering process.

Staff members are also encouraged to challenge the legality of governmental bodies that deny requests or attendance of meetings that the staff member otherwise believed was open or accessible to the public with the help of the Student Press Law Center.

M. Staff Communication

Caney Creek Student Media staff members must join any staff communication apps and/or online group-work forums chosen by the adviser and/or leadership council that year, which includes agreeing to two-way communication with the adviser and staff members both in and out of official school hours.

The general expectation is that staff members read and/or reply to messages or app activities within a 24-hour period.

IV. PRODUCING CONTENT

A. Handling links

Any links placed on The Prowler’s news website shall be directed directly to other websites that are relevant to the content of the story only. If the site linked lies behind a paywall, the link shall direct the user to the paywall’s home page, or the story redirecting through the home page.

B. Portraits

All students and school personnel must have their portrait made with the official school portrait photographer in order to be included in the current volume of the publication. Caney Creek Student Media will facilitate two separate dates for portraits on campus and will notify parents once the dates have been set. Caney Creek Student Media is not responsible for students who switch name cards and appear in the wrong location in the yearbook.

Caney Creek Student Media does not produce picture packages, but merely handles their delivery. All complaints about picture packages, the portraits themselves, or portrait editing should discuss those complaints with the portrait company.

Caney Creek Student Media does not discriminate against clothing choices in portraits for political nor other expression protected by the First Amendment. It will require students who are out of dress code to take retakes, or be left out of the yearbook publication. Caney Creek Student Media will adhere to the campus dress code policy and not any more restrictive.

Caney Creek Student Media staff is not responsible for portraits taken but not provided to them. Errors and or corrections, if needed, will be addressed on an individual basis among the student/parent, Caney Creek Student Media staff and the school photographer.

C. Providing context

All Caney Creek Student Media content shall include proper context such as historical information, conflicts of interest, and conflicting information in order to provide the reader the most complete version of the story. This includes the context of any quotes. No quotes shall be used when taken out of context, or the context should be provided if the quote would misrepresent the original meaning of the quote.

D. Writing process

The reporter shall provide a draft of the story to their direct editor first, who will make high-level edits first, including analysis of use of sources, more information that is needed, and overall flow. The second draft will go to the same editor for refinement with grammar, AP Style and other changes to syntax. This process will repeat until the section editor gives their approval. The section editor will give the story to the editor-in-chief for final approval. The adviser will see it after any final changes only to give any suggestions for legal, ethical and journalistic standard advice. They shall only direct a change content within Constitutionally allowed measures.

E. Advertising

To help finance the productions, the staff may sell advertising at rates published annually. Students who appear in advertisements (other than senior tributes, which are not “selling” or “advertising” any product or service) must sign a model release. The editorial board reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of advertising and refuse sale and publication without cause. No advertising will be published for activities illegal to the youngest member of the student population.

The yearbook will sell space for senior recognition and businesses as determined by the editorial board. The staff will publish a payment and submission schedule by Aug. 1 of each year and reserves the right to refuse publication to any parent or advertise who does not meet deadlines. Payments will not be refunded.

Errors in ads and senior tributes could be addressed in the following manner.

  1. Correction of minor errors with a reprint or reprints of the ads with a high-quality sticker.
  2. Partial repayment up to cost of the book for misspelled names or major errors.
  3. Complete refund only in cases of errors that are deemed to destroy the intent of the ad.
    • If a complete refund is issued, the family will not be allowed to keep the yearbook.

Businesses will be held to the same expectations as senior tributes. The Creek yearbook and The Prowler newspaper/news website will not be responsible for errors in printing caused by submissions that do not meet published requirements or standards.

Acceptance of advertising shall not constitute approval or endorsement of any product, service, organization, or issue referenced in the advertising.

F. Use of profanity

Articles will only contain profanity if the story would not be understandable otherwise or the profanity is the cornerstone of the context of the article. Use of profanity must have the unanimous approval of the leadership council. If there is profanity used, the article shall contain a warning for readers before the first sentence explaining that there will be use of profanity and an explanation of why it was used.

In other instances of less vital profanity, the profane words shall be described or simply referred to as “profanity” in the story.

G. Obituaries

Should a student or staff member die at any time during the current coverage period, Caney Creek Student Media will treat the death in a tasteful, respectful manner.

In the yearbook people section with student/staff portraits, the portrait of that person will appear as it would under normal circumstances. If deadlines allow, the death may be covered as a news event in The Prowler’s web or print products if deemed appropriate by the editorial board.

All deaths for faculty, staff, students and administrators will be included in a single tribute in the yearbook with a listing of all those who died in the school year up until the final deadline, which is usually just before April 1. Students who commit mass violence such as a school shooting or other terrorist activity on or off campus will not appear in such a tribute. Families and/or friends or other parties may purchase space for a memorial or tribute to appear in the advertising section of the yearbook, and may do so at the “early-bird” pricing structure regardless of purchase date, but advertising space generally is available only August-December and production of these pages is complete by January. Students may choose to cover the death as a news story and/or possible feature in the next issue of The Prowler or online depending on the situation, including cause of death and timing. It is the aim of the staff to handle any such situation in a fair and sensitive manner. Coverage is not a guarantee and staff members have the right to not cover a death for any reason including the manner of death.

H. Sponsored content

There shall be no sponsored content in Caney Creek Student Media products outside of traditional advertisements in an effort to prevent reader confusion.

I. Visual reporting

All content in Caney Creek Student Media shall be produced by the student journalists creating the publication including photography and graphics.

Content provided to any Caney Creek Student Media publication for use must be in writing of some sort, which will be kept on file for at least one year. Credit must be clear and include wording such as “Photo used with permission from” and the person’s name.

Copywritten work may not be used without written permission from the copyright holder in any situation. Staff members must include proof of permission. Staff members who forge permission or deceive an editor or adviser will be immediately removed from staff and will be held liable for any damages resulting from potential lawsuits.

Creative Commons or public domain works used in the publication must be correctly credited with the appropriate CC license. Staff members using CC works must have proof of the license with the work and is responsible for ensuring the credit is adequately provided in accordance with the law. Staff members who forge a license or deceive an editor or adviser will be immediately removed from staff and will be held liable for any damages resulting from potential lawsuits.

J. Guidelines for breaking news

All breaking news stories should be checked by at least one section editor and an editor-in-chief before going online. Reporters ought to keep in mind that being first is not the priority. Accuracy will take precedence over being first to the story.

K. Letters to the editor

The opinion section of the newspaper and the news website will have a prominent notice displayed advising readers where they can send in guest columns and letters to the editor. All letters to the editor will be held to the same standards of grammar, style and accuracy as other content in the newspaper without sacrificing the core intent of the letter. If there are incorrect facts that, if removed, would jeopardize the core content of the letter, the writer will be contacted to rewrite the letter, give permission to remove the information, or to ask if they would want to retract the letter. Libelous or copywritten information is not permitted. The letter should appear in the following print edition, and online within a reasonable time period. The editor of the product in question may respond, or allow a staff member to respond, if leadership council gives majority approval.

L. Guest writers/columnists

The Caney Creek Student Media products, with exception to the yearbook, will allow space for guest columnists and writers within reason. Editors are encouraged to seek new columnists regularly to widen the diversity of voices, perspectives and realities of the community.

M. Corrections policies

The print publications can be a $100,000+ student business produced as part of a learning experience in the curriculum, and it is not possible to reprint the book or newspaper if/when minor errors arise. The staff regrets any errors and learns from constructive feedback provided via surveys, focus groups and thoughtful email messages. The process for creating the yearbook and each issue of the newspaper is rigorous and involves multiple rounds of careful editing. Because the yearbook is printed once annually, it is not possible to run corrections. If a staff discovers, from any source, that a factual error or major mistake was published and passed the editors, the editor(s)-in-chief will issue a written apology to those affected. Errors discovered in the print product will be published both in the next print edition and on the web. It will also be given the same level of prominence in promotion that the initial content was given. Corrections for errors in the news website will only appear on the website unless the editor(s) believe it is in the interest of the news organization to respond in print as well.

V. SALES

A. Yearbooks

Yearbooks will be on sale each year from August through the last day of January. Price will vary and increase based on a scheduled rate plan, which will be published on the CCHS website, social media, yearbook website and on the printed order forms. Students who do not purchase a book in advance run the risk of not receiving one; only a small number of extra books will be ordered and will be available for late purchase on a first come, first served basis for cash or money order only. No checks will be accepted for yearbook sales during May distribution.

Exchanges can be made for books with minor flaws if no writing has been done in the book. If a book has been written in, then no exchange can be made unless the adviser feels the flaw in the book is of major proportion (pages missing, pages in upside down).
It will be the responsibility of the buyer to provide proof of purchase if the staff can provide no record. A valid receipt or a cancelled check deposited in the publications account will constitute proof of purchase.

Any purchased book not claimed within the calendar year it is produced will become the property of the program and the price forfeited. Students who withdraw or move away from CCHS can pick up books in person or can have alternate arrangements made with the adviser.

The staff and editorial board will determine the cost of an individual copy, number of pages, and size of the yearbook based on a balanced budget. Yearbooks are not guaranteed to grow nor remain the same in terms of size nor number of pages from one year to the next.

B. Yearbook and Yearbook Ad Refunds

Generally, refunds are not allowed on any yearbook product after yearbooks have been delivered because the number of yearbooks purchased depends on presales. Exchanges may be made in accordance with Section A above. Certain extraordinary circumstances might result in a refund at the discretion of the adviser or staff.

  • In the rare situation that the staff or adviser does award a refund, the family will not be able to keep the product.

Refunds may be made on any product – books, ads, etc. – prior to the date listed on the contract for that item. For yearbooks themselves, this is usually the last day in January because Caney Creek Student Media must make final page count and book order decisions on the first day of February. For ads, this is usually the beginning of December when advertising pages are sent to the plant. Once the ads are sent to the plant, no refunds will be issued for any reason, including a family forgetting to submit content required on the ad contract.

C. Newspaper/News Website

The Prowler student newspaper and news website will be free and open to the public as a forum for discussion. Advertising shall be sold to support Caney Creek Student Media operations in accordance with advertising policies above.

VI. TECHNOLOGY

A. Cellphone use

Caney Creek Student Media staff members should only be on their personal cellphones during classtime if they are conducting business for publication-related purposes such as calling businesses, sources or other business needs. Other than that, class will follow the CCHS cellphone policy of no phones bell to bell.

When on assignment, staff members should limit their cellphone use as to not miss important elements of their coverage. Staff members may be denied future assignments if their personal cellphone use jeopardizes coverage.

B. Posting to staff Social Media

The web editor-in-chief will be in charge of all social media posts to staff accounts and have access to the passwords. They may appoint a social media manager to handle all social media posts. The accounts will be updated at least three times a week with photos, website posts and other information as needed.

C. Posting to personal social media

Staff members are held to a higher standard than other students on campus. The adviser will not monitor personal social media and students retain their rights to free speech. However, if the adviser or an editor is notified of behavior that violates Caney Creek Student Media guidelines, the adviser reserves the right to remove students from staff for misbehavior and other personal social media activity that can shine a negative light upon the program and staff at large.

D. Posting online

The web editor-in-chief will be in charge of all posts to The Prowler website and have access to the passwords. They may appoint individuals to assist with posting stories online. The website shall be updated at least five times a week with new stories, photo galleries, or other online-only content.

E. Equipment checkout procedures

All students should complete the Camera Checkout Form available in the staff Google Drive any time they plan to take a camera outside of school hours. This includes noting all equipment, camera number, SD card number and other auxiliary equipment before taking it from the classroom. They must also note the purpose they are checking out a camera for and when it will be returned.

Continued late return or failure to check out the equipment properly may result in removal of staff equipment at the discretion of the photography editor, editors-in-chief or the adviser.

The School Newspaper of Caney Creek High School
Staff Policies