The Talon

Content and Photo Guides

Stories written by The Talon staff must be objective and relate to the Summit community. To achieve this, the following guidelines must be met:

      • Sources: Each story must have a minimum of three appropriate sources. (two in special cases) Interviews should be made in person, and a reporter should always have notes from the interview available for verification of quotes for at least 6 months after that story’s publication. A recorder is also recommended to ensure accuracy, but is not required. If interviews cannot be made in person, phone calls can then be made. Emails should be a last resort. Interviews by texts or direct messages will not be tolerated. Unnamed sources should be used sparingly, anonymous sources should never be cited.
  • The Talon will avoid interviewing the same people multiple times. The staff will try to find the best sources for the story and not interview the most convenient person/their friends. The staff will avoid interviewing each other.
        • All interviews are on the record. The source cannot retroactively say something is off the record. However, if they say it before the off the record information, it is off limits. Try to avoid getting any information off the record. Consult your editor/adviser for more information.
      • Profanity: Language such as profanity or other obscene or subjective language is not acceptable.
      • Controversial Issues: The staff and adviser must review stories about topics that may offend students, teachers, administrators, and the community at large. If need be, administrators will be contacted for additional consultation.
      • Obituaries: The death of a faculty member, staff member, or student may be reported in a student publication if deemed newsworthy and appropriate. Sensitivity should be exercised, and accurate information should be confirmed in these cases. In the case of a suicide: the writer should honor family’s wishes and write with emphasis on the person’s life rather than means of death. An obituary is an eighth of a page.
      • Criminal Activity: Criminal activity will only be reported when it takes place on school campus or directly affects the function of the school. State guidelines must be followed for the reporting of juvenile offenders. Criminal matter may be checked through the appropriate public agency, and reporters must adhere to public record guidelines when doing so.
      • Confidentiality: Upon request, due to a sensitive subject being discussed in a story, The Talon will withhold the names of students and provide aliases in that story. When discussing matters including, but not limited to, social work, psychology, and health issues, publications must adhere to patient/client-provider relationship guidelines. When approaching such sensitive topics, it is highly recommended that the parents or guardians of a student is notified and consents to the story if that student is a minor.


  • Photography
        • All photos must be taken in the “public eye” and cannot be obtained in a way that violates people’s’ privacy. If the subject isn’t clearly in public, the photographer must get the consent of the individual pictured.
        • All photos must be printed as taken. Photo alteration is not allowed. This includes altering content, manipulating subjects, or excessive shading or lightening. If the layout requires artistic alteration, it shall require the consent of the individual photographed.
        • Photos with obscene behavior, profanity, gang activity, or other violations of school rules will not be published.
        • Student photographers are expected to adhere to the laws, codes, and rules of the area. They should not be endangered in any way while taking photographs and have the right to refuse an assignment if they deem it dangerous.
        • Photographers should work with writers and editors to obtain the right photo for what the layout requires. They should document the names and grades of all persons featured in the photo or have contact information of someone who can identify the subjects. They should also obtain any information necessary to write the captions.
        • Photos taken by student journalists are property of the Talon, copyrighted by The Talon, and are subject to publication. Photos submitted to The Talon are subject to cropping and editing. They will be identified as “Photo used with permission by…” and are copyrighted by the person who submitted the photo.
        • The Talon will not give photos they took to others for publication in other mediums.
      • Reviews: Book, movie, and music reviews must be done properly according to the correct journalistic style. Any information (including copy and photographs) regarding these mediums must be verified and obtained with the proper copyright procedures.
      • News and Features: Any stories submitted to The Talon or written for The Talon by a staff member or student (of a journalism class only) for publication in any place other than the editorial page is subject to rejection, edits, cancellation, or acceptance by The Talon.
      • Errors: Any errors including, but not limited to, a misspelled name, misrepresented title, or other misrepresentation of age, grade, etc shall be corrected immediately. An apology must be given in person, online the next day, and then in the next print issue.
      • Illustrations: The Talon has the right to accept, reject, edit, or cancel any illustration that is submitted for publication.
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Content and Photo Guides