Publication Policies

Purpose

  • The Mustang Messenger and Stampede Yearbook are laboratories for journalism students designed to serve the total school community. As a laboratory, publications provide staff members with independent writing opportunities with hands on/real life experiences. Writing is based on a wide variety of research for a broad and often critical audience. The experience often demands responsibility, cooperation and a great deal of professionalism. Business skills are also learned through selling advertising.
  • The Mustang Messenger and Stampede Yearbook serve their audience with accurate and factual reporting on significant aspects of school life and subjects of concern to its readers. As an independent observer, the publications should use their unique access to news and a broad perspective to lead the school community toward constructive accomplishments. The Mustang Messenger and Stampede Yearbook entertain audiences through clever, creative approaches to writing, photography, design and coverage of the human spirit.
  • Cypress Ranch High School publications have a goal to successfully reach the high school community with interesting, timely articles that will enhance the surroundings and purpose of the educational experience.
  • The overall Cypress Ranch High School Journalism experience should encourage students to become more creative and strive to master skills of the trade while entertaining and enlightening the CRHS student audience.

Coverage

  • It is the responsibility of these publications to cover school, city, state, national and international events, and issues that affect or concern the campus, its students or its readers in a non-bias method.
  • School publications will attempt to cover all aspect of the school; however, coverage will depend greatly upon an item’s news value (how important or interesting it would be to the majority of the school population). Publication editors determine the news value of all material.
  • School publications will clearly identify sources of news, except when it is necessary to uphold the journalist’s privilege of protecting the identity of sources. When in such case, the journalist must reveal the source to the editor, who will therein determine if the source is creditable.
  • School publications will avoid sensationalizing news and events. Publications do not invade personal privacy or print material that might be embarrassing or degrading to any individual or group.
  • All editorial or opinion content must be backed up by three sources of facts. At no time will an editorial attack a person. Only policy related material may be published.

Frequency & Format

  • The Mustang Messenger is an exclusively online publication.
  • The Mustang Messenger is part of an advanced journalism-newspaper class offered by Cypress Ranch High School.
  • The Mustang Messenger is published by WordPress and SNO.
  • The Stampede Yearbook is published once a year and distributed in May
  • The Stampede Yearbook is the responsibility of the advanced journalism-yearbook class offered at Cypress Ranch High School.
  • The Stampede Yearbook is published by Balfour.

Audience

School publications are written primarily for the 3,000+ students who attend Cypress Ranch High School. Secondary audiences, which receive the newspaper and/or yearbook, include:

  • Feeding Middle Schools
  • Faculty, Staff, and Administration of Cypress Ranch High School
  • Parents
  • School Board Members
  • Other school journalism programs
  • ILPC, JEA , NSPA , TAJE, CSPA and other professional organizations

Board of Education and Administrative Policy

  • The student body of Cypress Ranch High School does not provide the publications with a partial subsidy. The student body can, however, purchase the yearbook for a set price during the school year.
  • Additional funds are generated through the sale of advertising by the publications staff and deposited into the department’s activity fund.
  • Commission sales from fall school-day portraits go to the school, NOT the journalism department.
  • While school publications are responsible to the board for the funds they receive and subject to state and federal laws, content reflects student’s thinking and is not necessarily in agreement with the administration of Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. The Mustang Messenger operates as a public forum.
  • Editorials represent the staff majority and must include a percentage of arrogance along with the story.
  • Opinions are not generally those of the adviser, its editors, student body, faculty or administration.

Prohibited Materials

Students cannot publish or distribute libelous material. Libelous statements are provable false and unprivileged statements that injure an individual’s or business’s reputation in the community including the following:

  • A public official who holds an elected office or appointed office
  • A person who is known for personal achievements
  • School employees
  • Students, staff or faculty members

Under the “fair comment rule,” a student may express an opinion on a matter of public interest as long as it is in good taste and approved by the editor, adviser, and principal.

Students are strictly prohibited from publishing materials that are obscene including:

  • sexual content
  • drugs and alcohol
  • gang activities
  • foul language

Students are prohibited to publish or distribute materials that will cause a material and serious disruption of school activities that include:

  • seizures of personal property
  • strikes
  • school boycotting or walk-out
  • fights

Students are also prohibited from distributing or publishing any of the following materials:

  • racial/ethnic slurs
  • slander/libel
  • racial remarks or undertones
  • violence or threat thereof
  • anything that lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value

Copyright

  • Any student work created for the Mustang Messenger is property of Cypress Ranch High School student media until the student graduates.
  • Students will not use music or photos protected by the US Copy Rights law for any project.
  • Any outside organization requesting photos, stories or other created student materials must have permission from the student and adviser and proper credit must be given.

Death Policy
Publications often times have to report on a student’s death. The following are guidelines in handling such stories.

  • The adviser approves
  • The principal approves
  • The parents or guardians approve (at which a letter of story release must be signed and kept on file)
  • Students of which die of “natural” causes (except for underage drinking or drug overdose) can be spotlighted in The Mustang Messenger with the deceased student’s parent permission (letter of release required).
  • Students of which die of “natural” causes (except for underage drinking or drug overdose) can also have a memorial in The Stampede Yearbook which cannot exceed 1 page and must run in the ad section of the book.
  • Students whose death is related to underage drinking and/or drug usage will not be memorialized in either publication, but a story can run in The Mustang Messenger with the deceased student’s parent permission (letter of release required).