Gazette Editorial Staffing Policy

 

Editor-in-Chief

1.1 The Editor-in-Chief is the day-to-day manager of the editorial operations of The Gazette. He or she, with or without consulting the Editorial Board, has final authority and responsibility for all content published by The Gazette.

1.2 The Editor-in-Chief works closely with the two other full-time editorial staff to oversee and manage the editorial operations of The Gazette.

1.3 The Editor-in-Chief reports to the Gazette Publications Committee through regular written reports and attending meetings.

1.4 A more detailed outline of the Editor-in-Chief’s role, responsibilities and duties can be found in the job description, set by the Publications Committee each year.

1.5 The position is filled through an election each year. See the Front Office Elections Policy for more.

 

Front Office

1.1 Front Office members oversee and manage the rest of the Editorial Board.

1.2 The Print and Digital Managing Editors report to the Editor-in-Chief. All three are hired and paid by the USC.

1.3 The three positions work collaboratively to ensure high quality, relevant and timely content is delivered to the Western community.

1.4 Front Office is responsible for hiring and training the Editorial Board each year.

1.5 A more detailed outline of the Print and Digital Managing Editors’ role, responsibilities and duties can be found in their job descriptions, set by the Publications Committee each year.

1.5 The Front Office positions are filled by an election each year. See the Front Office Elections Policy for more.

 

Section Editors

1.1 Section editors are responsible either individually or collectively for a specific section of The Gazette.

1.2 They all report to a member of Front Office and ultimately to the Editor-in-Chief.

1.3 They are all current students at the University of Western Ontario.

1.4 Section Editors come up with content ideas, assign Staff and Contributors to stories, create content, edit all work from their section and recruit, train and organize volunteers.

1.5 A more detailed outline of a Section Editor’s role, responsibilities and duties can be found in their job descriptions, set by Front Office each year.

1.6 Section Editors sign one year contracts before the start of their terms.

 

Staff

1.1 Anyone from the Western community can contribute to The Gazette.

1.2 Once a student has contributed five published pieces, they will be denoted as Staff on both the masthead and in their byline.

1.3 Staff mainly create content, whether that’s writing, shooting photos or video, or creating graphics.

 

Contributors

1.1 Those who have not had five published pieces in The Gazette will be denoted as Contributors in the byline.

 

Training

1.1 All Front Office, Section Editors, Staff and Contributors must go through varying levels of training.

1.2 Before contributing, volunteers must go through a short orientation session that covers the history of The Gazette, its mission and role, basic journalism practices and ethics, and what libel is.

1.3 Section Editors must attend mandatory training in the semester they are hired (typically in the winter term) and immediately before the academic year begins.

1.4 Section Editor training must include The Gazette’s policies and procedures, more advanced journalism training and digital training.

1.5 Front Office training begins when they are elected. They will do job shadowing of the current Front Office and have one day of mandatory training with the current Front Office before their term starts. They will also have opportunities to interact and receive training from professional journalists, including visiting professional newsrooms.

1.6 Front Office is responsible for the implementation of training and upholding of standards. As such, they will make many opportunities and resources available to Section Editors, Staff and Contributors to further their journalism knowledge.

 

Honoraria

Eligibility

1.1 Must be an undergraduate student or a student in the journalism and communications program at Western University for the current academic year.

1.2 Must be hired by Front Office for a position on the Editorial Board.

1.3 Must fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the designated role as defined by Front Office.

 

Freelance Work

1.4 Freelance work from the wider Western student body for The Gazette is exempt from the provisions in this policy.

1.5 Honoraria amount and disbursement for freelance work is decided by Front Office.

1.6 Honoraria for freelance work may only be disbursed if work is published online or in print.

 

Awarding of honoraria

1.7 Honoraria is disbursed at the discretion of Front Office.

1.8 Honoraria is set for each role by Front Office and is based on the total honoraria budget for any given year.

1.9 The amount of honoraria for any role is set on a weekly basis for the duration of the year.

1.10 Honoraria is typically paid every two weeks during the academic year (fall and winter terms) while classes are in session (excluding the exam period).

1.11 Honoraria is split in half for each role: half is guaranteed and half is performance-based.

1.12 In order to receive full honoraria, an editor must

  • Remain in their position for the duration of the (two week) payment period.
  • Fulfill the expectations and responsibilities of their role as determined by Front Office for the duration of the (two week) payment period

1.13 Honoraria can be withheld at the discretion of Front Office.

1.14 Written notice will be given for the decision to withhold honoraria.

1.15 Efforts will be made by both Front Office and Editorial Board member to avoid the withholding of honoraria through action steps outlined in the disciplinary section of this policy.

1.16 Honoraria can be withheld in an amount at the discretion of Front Office but not exceeding half of any given weekly payment.

1.17 Honoraria can be withheld on a one-time basis, temporary basis or permanent basis.

 

Discipline — Front Office

1.1 Where a member of Front Office is concerned with the conduct of another member of Front Office:

  • they shall bring their concerns to the member of Front Office and offer guidance on how to rectify the situation
  • where the member’s conduct does not change, a member of Front Office may go to the USC’s Human Resources Manager with their concerns. The Gazette will respect and adhere to any recommendations or decisions of the USC’s Human Resources department.

1.2 Where a member of the editorial board, staff or volunteer is concerned with the conduct of a member or members of Front Office:

  • the member will go to the member of Front Office with whom they have concerns and try to rectify the situation
  • if, after the previous step has been taken and no action has been taken, the member will go to a different member of Front Office with their concerns and let them handle the situation as they see fit
  • if, after the previous steps have been taken and there are still concerns, the member of the editorial board may go to the USC’s Human Resources Manager with their concerns. The Gazette will respect and adhere to any recommendations or decisions of the USC’s Human Resources department.

1.3 Where there are concerns about the performance of a member of Front Office, they can be taken to the Gazette Publications Committee.

1.4 The Publications Committee can decide on a course of action for the Front Office member in question.

1.5 In cases where there is no improvement in performance, the Publications Committee may decide by a two-thirds majority to remove the person from their position. This should only be done after consultation with the USC’s Human Resources Manager.

 

Discipline — Editorial Board, Staff and Volunteers

Principles

1.1 The Gazette is committed to on-the-job learning and shall seek to provide its editors and volunteers with opportunities to improve skills and job performance before taking precipitous action.

1.2 Wherever possible, The Gazette shall strive to acknowledge mitigating or aggravating factors that lead to a need for progressive discipline or behaviour management procedures.  These factors shall include but are not limited to the following

  • Whether or not the problem has arisen as an intentional action/inaction on the part of the editor or volunteer.
  • Whether or not the editor or volunteer accepts responsibility for their actions.
  • Whether or not the problem is recurring.
  • The prior job performance of the editor or volunteer.

1.3 The Gazette shall endeavour to determine an accurate account of the actions and circumstances leading up to an identified problem before proceeding with corrective or disciplinary measures.

1.4 The Gazette shall keep a written record of any and all corrective and disciplinary efforts for future reference.  This record shall be considered to be sensitive material and shall be subject to Human Resource confidentiality standards.

 

Discipline Criteria

1.5 Progressive discipline or behaviour management procedures shall be commenced in the following circumstances

  • Unsatisfactory Performance: An editor or volunteer fails to perform their job in a satisfactory manner as determined by Front Office.
  • Misconduct: A volunteer engages in conduct that is contrary to the efficiency and safety of the workplace as determined by a section editor or Front Office.
    • Examples of misconduct shall include but are not limited to the following:
    • Rudeness; insubordination of other editors, volunteers or students; failure to comply with health and safety procedures and other conduct /acceptable use policies; persistent use of vulgar, explicit, and/or offensive language; use of homophobic, sexist, or racist language; willful destruction of USC or others’ property; falsification of information/forms; being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while volunteering; disclosure of confidential information; disorderly conduct; assault; bullying; theft; fraud; violence or aggression; discrimination or harassment.

 

  • Negligence: A volunteer is consciously or unconsciously negligent.  This includes unconscious negligence that results in a volunteer’s failure to perform their job to a satisfactory level and conscious negligence where a volunteer knowingly neglects a duty resulting in either unsatisfactory job performance or workplace misconduct.
  • Journalistic misconduct. An editor or volunteer commits a transgression of journalistic practice or principle as found in the Gazette Code of Ethics, Code of Conduct or Editorial Procedure. Depending on the nature and severity of the misconduct, immediate dismissal may be required.

 

Discipline for Unsatisfactory Performance

1.6 At the first sign of unsatisfactory performance, a member of Front Office or a section editor shall conduct an informal, face-to-face meeting with the editor or volunteer to discuss how to rectify the situation.

  • For sections with multiple editors, it is a good practice to conduct informal face-to-face meetings between editors before bringing the matter to Front Office.
  • With volunteers, it is a section editor’s responsibility to conduct informal meetings before proceeding with further action.

1.7 If job performance does not improve, Front Office shall deliver a written warning of unsatisfactory performance to the editor or volunteer and shall identify any steps that may be taken to correct the problem

  • For editors, honoraria may be withheld in an amount not to exceed half of a week’s honoraria for any given week.
  • Honoraria may be withheld until such time that job performance is satisfactory, as determined by Front Office.

1.8 Should problems with job performance persist, Front Office will make a decision about whether or not to dismiss the editor or volunteer.  Dismissal should be seen as a last resort after all other corrective avenues have been pursued.

  • The USC’s Human Resources department will be notified with a written report from Front Office detailing the reasons for dismissal.
  • A record of any and all corrective or disciplinary efforts shall be kept by Front Office.

 

Personal Grievance

1.9 The individual or individuals responsible for investigating a personal grievance or complaint should make a note of any action taken towards a positive and amicable resolution, which should be reached wherever possible. The following steps to resolve the personal grievance shall apply:

1.10 If an editor or volunteer feels that an editor or a member of Front Office has been unfair in handling any allegation of misconduct or complaint made against them, or if the volunteer wishes to air a personal grievance directed at a volunteer, section editor and/or Front Office, the volunteer should first speak to that person(s). An earnest effort shall be made to resolve the personal grievance fairly and promptly. The individual parties shall work towards a mutually beneficial solution and, if possible, the matter should be resolved amicably at this stage.

1.11 Failing resolution of the grievance at Step 1 or the grievance is about a member of Front Office, the editor or volunteer should be directed to discuss the matter with another member of Front Office. Front Office members not involved in the grievance should address the situation with those involved through individual and/or all party meetings.

1.12 Failing resolution of the grievance at Step 2, the grievance should be forwarded in writing to the Human Resources Department. The Human Resources Manager, in consultation with the Gazette Editor-in-Chief, will investigate the grievance and provide a written report to the volunteer. The decision of the Gazette Editor-in-Chief and the Human Resources Manager is final and will be communicated in writing to the editor or volunteer.

 

Discipline for Misconduct

1.13 At the first sign of misconduct, Front Office (for an editor or volunteer) or a section editor (for a volunteer) shall conduct an informal, face-to-face meeting with the individual to discuss how to rectify the situation.

  • Depending on the severity of the misconduct, immediate dismissal of the volunteer may be necessary.

1.14  If the volunteer persists with their misconduct, Front Office shall deliver a written warning to the individual and shall identify any steps that may be taken to correct the problem.

1.15 If volunteer misconduct persists after a written warning is delivered, Front Office may withhold honoraria or suspend an editor or volunteer for a period of time.

1.16 Should problems with editor or volunteer misconduct persist, Front Office will make a decision about whether or not to dismiss the editor or volunteer.  Dismissal should be seen as a last resort after all other corrective avenues have been pursued.

1.17 A record of any and all corrective or disciplinary efforts shall be kept by Front Office.

 

Dismissal

1.18 Should it be deemed necessary to dismiss an editor or volunteer, Front Office will meet to discuss the situation and a course of action.

  • Editors or volunteers may be consulted as part of this process

1.19 Should Front Office decide to dismiss an editor, the dismissal shall take immediate effect and the individual in question shall be notified of the decision in writing at the soonest possible time.

  • Special effort should be made to notify others in a multi-editor section of an impending dismissal so they can ensure continuity.

1.20 The resulting vacancy due to an editor being dismissed shall not be filled or opened to applications until after the dismissed editor has been given written notice of their dismissal.

1.21  A decision to dismiss an editor or volunteer by Front Office shall be final.

 

Conflicts of Interest

1.1 Editorial Board members, Staff and Contributors to The Gazette must make a tireless effort to avoid conflict of interest in a story. Conflicts of interest, bias — and the appearance of bias — must be avoided in all instances to maintain high standards of journalism.

1.2 Gazette Staff or Gazette Contributors should neither accept anything nor pursue any activity that might compromise or seem to compromise their integrity or that of the newspaper.

1.3 Editorial staff may not be involved with the executive of a political party or be involved with organizing events for political parties on campus. Neither shall editorial staff hold membership in the University Students’ Council, be it as a councillor, an executive member, on the Board of Governors or Senate, during their term on the editorial staff or in the year preceding their term.

1.4 Furthermore, editorial staff should not hold elected or paid positions in any student-run clubs, organizations or societies while serving their term. Contributors to the paper should disclose any affiliations to organizations to section editors and/or the Editor-in-Chief, in which their coverage may appear to be biased as a result.

1.5 Editors should not be participating, campaigning, organizing or sponsoring any specific cause, within reasonable limitations, (ex. participating in a food drive would be acceptable) about which they are reporting.

 

Working for other publications

1.1 Editorial Board members, Staff and Contributors can contribute to other publications while simultaneously contributing to The Gazette.

1.2 Editorial Board members must notify the Editor-in-Chief of any other publications they intend to contribute to.

1.3 The Editor-in-Chief may not allow an Editorial Board member to contribute to another publication if it interferes with their work at The Gazette or constitutes a conflict of interest.

1.4 The Gazette does not publish work that has been previously published elsewhere, including on personal websites or blogs and social media.

1.4 Work that has been submitted for class assignments can be published by The Gazette provided it was not published.