Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Editorial Policy

Editorial policy is the set of guidelines by which the news organization operates. It includes the news organization’s attitudes toward its community and aids editors in making editorial decisions.

The editorial board of The Hornet Tribune makes recommendations on all editorial policy decisions. The editor-in-chief serves as chairperson.  The editorial board meets twice weekly, during online production and before production of each print issue, to determine the editorial position of the unsigned editorial and to assign the writing of that editorial. Regardless of who writes the editorial, responsibility for content remains with the editorial board and the editor-in-chief. Editorials, whether written by the editor-in-chief or another member of the editorial board, must be based on adequate research to demonstrate an accurate understanding of the issue.

When necessary, the editor-in-chief is responsible for formulating editorials based on a consensus (unanimous consent) of the editorial board. If a consensus cannot be reached a vote will be taken. To be approved a proposed editorial must garner four (4) positive votes. Editorials approved by four (4) positive votes or by consensus will be unsigned and considered the opinion of the paper. If four (4) positive votes cannot be achieved, a proposed editorial must be signed by those who support it. The editor-in-chief has the authority to overrule the editorial board and to refuse to allow an editorial topic to be addressed in the student news publication; however, the editor-in-chief cannot substitute a different position on the same topic without a majority positive vote of the editorial board

The editor-in-chief has the responsibility to implement any policy decisions reached by the editorial board. When determining policy the board should keep in mind the need for readers to know information, community standards, and the effect the newspaper has upon the community agenda. The newspaper should strive to inform, enhance discussion of campus issues, and entertain.

When questions of policy cannot be resolved by the editorial board or the editor-in-chief, the general manager should be asked to address the issue. Should the general manager fail to resolve the question or otherwise choose, the matter may be taken to the Alabama State University Student Media Board.

The Hornet Tribune is a multifaceted news-media organization that provides fair and accurate coverage of events and issues pertaining to Alabama State University, Montgomery Metro and the state of Alabama.

Letters to the editor may be sent via email to [email protected] (as text, not attachments). Each letter must be signed and include an address and phone number for verification. Letters should not exceed 300 words and may be edited for clarity, length, style, and space limitations, including headlines. The Hornet Tribune will only publish one letter per author per month. Letters will be chosen for publication by the editors according to space considerations.  No advertisements or mass mailings, please.

Guest opinions that exceed 300 words in length must be arranged with the Viewpoints editor at least three days prior to the desired date of publication. Guest opinions are selected in accordance with length, subject relevance, and space considerations. Guest opinions may be edited for length, clarity, style, and space limitations.

Reader comments that may appear were originally posted on or on The Hornet Tribune’s social media platforms in response to published material. They will be chosen for print publication when they are deemed to be well-written and to forward public discussion. They may be edited for length and style.

Editorials reflect the majority opinion of The Hornet Tribune Editorial Board and not the opinion of the Publisher, Student Media Board or Alabama State University.

Opinions, commentaries, columns, and editorial cartoons reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Hornet Tribune, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.

Plagiarism and fabrication Any form of plagiarism or fabrication committed by a staff member will result in immediate termination and a public apology. If an outside source reports an instance of plagiarism, The Hornet Tribune editor in chief and section editors will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the validity of the claim and review the staff member’s previous work.

Online publishing  All editorial content that appears in the newspaper also will be posted online. The Hornet Tribune will not remove articles once they appear online. In the case of a factual error online, the article will be corrected and updated with an editor’s note, but not removed. If you believe an error has been made, contact The Hornet Tribune with a detailed description of the inaccuracies.

Staff member conduct.  Staff members are an extension of The Hornet Tribune and thus must conduct all interactions professionally and courteously. Staff members are not permitted to interview friends or family for stories. Staff members are not allowed to interview other The Hornet Tribune staff members. They must always identify themselves as The Hornet Tribune reporters to sources. Staff members may simultaneously cover events and write stories for a class, but they must disclose it to the editor-in-chief. Staff members are free to write for other publications, both on-campus and off, but those duties must not interfere with nor overlap with The Hornet Tribune assignments. We expect our staff members to put The Hornet Tribune first. Failure to do so might result in termination. If a source raises concerns over the content of an article or if a reader voices concerns, the staff member is required to notify the editor in chief immediately before taking any other action. Staff writers are not permitted to write simultaneously as opinion columnists, and vice versa.

Social media policy.  We encourage all staff members to participate in various social media forums. However, we expect all staff members to be very aware of what they post, what they like, what they favorite and what they retweet — and how that represents The Diamondback. All staff members, except for opinion columnists, are prohibited from posting political affiliation on social media sites. If a staff member is tweeting, posting or delivering any sort of online or in-person message on behalf of The Diamondback, he or she must identify himself or herself as a staff member and inform the editor in chief ahead of time.

Source anonymity.  The Hornet Tribune will publish sources anonymously only under the most severe circumstances. For example, if a source could lose his or her job or face legal retribution, we will identify that source by first name or title only. If a student wishes to remain anonymous for legal reasons, we will identify him or her by first name, year and major. The process of granting anonymity to sources must go through the editor-in-chief, who makes all final decisions on the matter. If information is given on the record and a source later requests to have it removed, the final decision will be made by the editor-in-chief. Information will be removed only if the source cites clear and compelling reasons.

Redaction.  The Hornet Tribune newspaper and its corresponding website,, seek and report the daily news at Alabama State University and surrounding area. The Hornet Tribune reporters and editors are solely responsible for the content of the newspaper and website. This content serves as a written record of the history of the campus, Montgomery area and corresponding communities. Therefore, the reporters and editors will not remove or alter any records from The Hornet Tribune archives unless it meets the following criteria:

Errors.  If a major inaccuracy comes to light with enough evidence to adequately prove the error, The Hornet Tribune staff will correct it and make the appropriate notation on the story. Corrections are subject to the discretion and judgment of the editor in chief. Corrections do not warrant a retraction.

Expungement.  If a person has committed a crime that The Hornet Tribune reported on, and that crime has been expunged by a court of law, the person affected can contact The Hornet Tribune to have the article removed. The article will only be removed with appropriate legal proof of expungement. The Hornet Tribune will not remove articles detailing crimes that have not been expunged.

Documented Harm.  If an article published in The Hornet Tribune has caused severe, undue harm to a person’s health or livelihood, the editorial staff of the paper will assess requests for removal on a case-by-case basis.
To request a retraction or report an error, please contact the editor-in-chief at [email protected].

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Editorial Policy