The Gargoyle is a multimedia journalism site published by the journalism class for the students, faculty, parents and alumni of University Laboratory High School in Urbana, Illinois.
Statement of Principles
With the creation of the Online Gargoyle in February 2006, our school entered a new era in student media.
To help our readers better understand the Gargoyle’s approach to journalism, we offered this brief statement of our principles, based on the code of ethics adopted by the Society of Professional Journalists. This statement remains an excellent summary of our values:
- We believe that a free press is essential to a self-governing society.
- We believe that a free student press is essential to any school dedicated to developing the habits of independent thought and action among its student body.
- We strive to practice journalism that is accurate, thorough, fair, transparent, and independent.
- We seek truth and report it.
- We strive to minimize the harm that could inadvertently be done in the pursuit of truth, treating our sources and the subjects of our stories with respect and empathy.
- We act independently but responsibly, knowing that freedom of the press is not a license for libel, personal attack, pointless obscenity, or reckless disregard for the facts.
- We hold ourselves accountable to our readers, inviting comments and corrections, and we acknowledge our mistakes and correct them whenever they are brought to our attention.
- We strive to provide a public forum for the many voices and viewpoints that make up our school.
- We believe that a free exchange of ideas in the form of robust but respectful debate is the most effective way to pursue truth and cultivate the habits of independent thinking.
The Gargoyle allows the students of Uni to contribute in a myriad of forms. All Uni students can become an interactive part of the Gargoyle by posting discussion comments on articles produced by staff writers or passing along suggestions for future stories or site improvements. Anyone can submit letters to the editor or opinions to be considered for publication.
All of these features will make student contributions to the Gargoyle just a click away.
The editors encourage submissions about a broad variety of topics, but they will not accept material unfit for publication. The Gargoyle is a tremendous opportunity for students to better express themselves to their peers, and with this opportunity comes the responsibility to use this freedom in a constructive way.
The benefits of the Gargoyle are clear. Now we ask you, the reader, to get involved and make this vision come to life with your own participation, whether it’s submitting a letter to the editor, commenting on a story, suggesting a story idea, or voting in one of our polls. Journalism is no longer a one-way communication from writer to reader. It’s a conversation, and we invite you to join us.
The Gargoyle” is operated by the journalism class at University of Illinois Laboratory High School (collectively, “us” or “we”). By accessing or using our web site (“The Gargoyle” or the “Site”), you signify that you have read, understand and agree to be bound by these policies (the “Policies”). We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to change, modify, add, or delete portions of these Policies at any time without further notice. Your continued use of the Gargoyle after any such changes constitutes your acceptance of the new Policies. If you do not agree to abide by these or any future Policies, do not use or access (or continue to use or access) the Gargoyle. It is your responsibility to regularly check the Site to determine if there have been changes to these Policies and to review such changes.
When publishing stories and photos about Uni-related events and topics, we will not include photos or references to students whose parents have specifically informed the school to exclude them from Uni publications. We will observe all relevant federal and state privacy laws when covering newsworthy stories dealing with disciplinary matters or other sensitive issues.
The Online Gargoyle and its print predecessor, the Gargoyle, were established as forums of student ideas and expression. Our content reflects the interests and ideas of students but not necessarily those of the Uni High administration and faculty.
This publication is not subject to prior review. The administration of Uni High should not be held responsible for Online Gargoyle content.
The editors, in consultation with their adviser, work to ensure that all written and visual content shall live up to the standards expressed in our statement of principles.
While the Online Gargoyle may discuss, present, or allude to material that some of our readers might consider offensive, such material will not be put into our publication unless we believe it has literary, political, social, cultural, or artistic value.
We are guided by a newsroom policy that says it is inappropriate to remove published content from our website. If an article is inaccurate we will correct it and tell readers it has been altered. If relevant new information emerges, we will update the article or do a follow-up story. Our online published content is a matter of public record and is part of our contract with our readers. To simply remove published content from the archive diminishes transparency and trust with our readers and in effect, erases history. This is not a practice engaged in by credible news organizations or in line with ethical journalism. We will consider exceptions to this policy when published content has put an individual’s life at risk or when a criminal charge ended with an acquittal. The default position is to keep items online unless there is irrefutable evidence of a clear harm being caused to someone. The final decision shall rest with the advisor.
In order to be home to conversations in which people connect, discuss, add facts, share ideas, and debate issues, the Gargoyle staff has created the following policy:
- In order to comment, readers must use their real name and a legitimate email address.
- Anonymous comments will not be permitted.
- The moderators will be the current journalism class.
- Moderators will screen comments for criteria that may exclude them, but will also use their discretion, erring on the side of providing an open forum to readers. Moderators will not edit comments (i.e. spelling, grammar, all caps.)
- Moderators will choose to post or not post comments based on their judgment, which includes consideration of the following:
Gargoyle Comment Guidelines
- “Flaming” (hostile and insulting interactions between internet users) or “trolling” (provoking other readers and/or inhibiting on-topic discussion)
- Comments that advocate violence; threats of violence or threats to any person or group’s personal safety
- Advertising for business or personal interests
- Obscenity/vulgarity/profanity (language that would typically be bleeped out.) This includes letters followed by dashes and acronyms.
- Libel (legal definition, i.e. a false statement, presented as a fact, that would tend to harm another person’s reputation)
- Comments that are completely off-topic; comments should be relevant, but do not have to be directly related (i.e. (i.e. a link to a related article, or an interesting statistic.)
- Personal attacks (this does not include reasoned criticism of a person’s or group’s actions, a story, a policy or an incident.)
- Clearly labeled opinions, unless the comment violates other policies
- Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking.
- Reasoned criticism of a person’s or group’s actions, a story, a policy or an incident
- Clarifying questions
- Additional factual information
- Personal experiences of the commenter
The Online Gargoyle will acknowledge and correct any mistakes that are brought to our attention.
Our reporters and editors reserve the right to reply to letters or posted comments that question their journalistic conduct, judgment, or integrity.