Policies

In response to the feedback generated by the April 2007 Spoof Issue of The Gazette, an ad hoc Study Group was created to investigate concerns with both the operations and content of the newspaper and provide a list of non-binding suggestions in a final report. The Study Group’s final report, which was released to the public on April 1, 2008, can be read here.

Prior to commenting on the suggestions, on behalf of the editorial board, the front office members of The Gazette would like to applaud the Study Group for the countless hours they spent in gathering feedback on the newspaper and tabulating their final report. The editorial board is committed to creating the best newspaper possible for its readership, and every recommendation was thoroughly looked over prior to deciding the feasibility of implementation.

As noted above, while every recommendation was thoroughly reviewed, there were certain suggestions that we have revised in order to maintain the spirit of certain recommendations while ensuring their successful implementation. Below, we summarized our actions to the 14 points outlined in the final report of the Study Group in 10 points.

The newspaper will be trying these new procedures for the first semester of the 2008-09 school year, after which, we will make any necessary changes. Any alterations that are made will be explained and made accessible to the public online.

Thank you for taking the time to read over both the Study Group report as well as our commitments for the 2008-09 school year. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to stop by The Gazette office anytime from Monday to Thursday, between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Best regards,

Ravi Amarnath — Editor-in-Chief
Desiree Gamotin — Deputy Editor
Dave Ward — Managing Editor

 

Commitments for first semester of 2008-09 school year

  1. The final recommendations of the Study Group, in addition to our response to them, will remain on the "Policies" section of the website for the duration of the 2008-09 school year.
  2. In addition to maintaining information regarding The Gazette’s response to the 2007 Spoof Issue on the website, an article outlining the newspaper’s prominent changes and commitments will be published in the first issue of September 2008.
  3. Volunteers have always been and will continue to be the backbone of the paper. Without the tireless efforts of the students who contribute their time and effort for the paper, there is no way The Gazette could publish as much content as it does. In order to reinforce this commitment, The Gazette will be utilizing the following mechanisms to both draw and maintain volunteers for the paper:
    1. During the summer months, The Gazette purchased an advertisement in Western’s Viewbook in order to inform incoming Western students about the opportunity to volunteer at The Gazette.
    2. During both Clubs Week I and II and Volunteer Week, The Gazette will have a booth set up in the University Community Centre to draw new volunteers. After tabulating and contacting all interested individuals, an open house will be set up shortly after each Clubs/Volunteer Week to allow interested individuals to meet the respective editors of each section of the paper.
    3. Presentations will be made in the fall of 2009 to any faculty and/or faculty council who expresses a desire to learn more about how students can get involved with The Gazette.
    4. The paper has added an additional associate editor this coming year, who among other duties, will help facilitate our volunteer program. Some duties both associate editors will be responsible for will include maintaining a volunteer database as well as assisting with promotions to faculties in the fall. In addition to the creation of an additional associate editor, the Managing Editor of the front office will work in the newsroom itself and make his best effort to greet every volunteer at the door as well remain in the office during working hours to ensure a front office presence is always maintained.
    5. Over the course of the summer, the front office has revamped the office, creating additional lounge space at the back area of the office. During the course of the upcoming year, we will make our best efforts to keep the office as welcoming an environment as possible for individuals seeking to volunteer. For the upcoming University Community Centre renovations, we have submitted our input to the University Students’ Council that will enable the newspaper to make the office space as volunteer friendly as possible.
    6. In order to garner as much feedback on the newspaper as possible, The Gazette will be hosting a town hall meeting in January 2009, which will be open to all members of the Western community who wish to express their opinions on the newspaper. Furthermore, a web survey will be designed at the conclusion of the Winter 2008-09 semester to gather feedback on the year as a whole.
    7. Based on all of the feedback collected through our internal assessments, town hall meeting and web surveys, the front office for Volume 103 of The Gazette will decide what policies to keep or depart with for upcoming volumes of the paper.
    1. For the 2008-09 year, The Gazette will attempt a community article feature, which will appear in the opinions section. Based on the quantity and quality of submissions, the feature is intended to run once per month. Submissions can be made at any time, and is open to any student, faculty or staff member at Western. All submissions must abide by the following guidelines:
      1. All writers must provide their full name, faculty and year or position in the university.
      2. Submissions must be between 400-500 words. Writers may write on any topic they choose so long as their submissions are not judged to be libelous, derogatory or in violation of The Gazette’s Code of Ethics by the Editor-in-Chief.
      3. In the event of an abundance of submissions, priority will be given to articles written on issues directly affecting the Western or London community.
      4. Individuals may only have one submission published per academic term.
      5. Articles are not to be promotional in nature and cannot be written for purposes of supporting or highlighting a specific group or cause.
      6. Individuals belonging to The Gazette staff, USC Board of Directors or USC senior management team cannot have submissions published.
      7. All final edits on content are at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief, Deputy Editor and Managing Editor of The Gazette.
    2. The Editor-in-Chief has the right to compose columns just as any other member of the editorial board. In order to avoid having columns become adversarial with the paper’s readership, the Editor-in-Chief will use columns to explain the rationale behind printing content only sparingly or as deemed necessary.
  4. For the 2008-09 year, The Gazette is planning on publishing the following special issues: Frosh Issue (August), Homecoming Issue (September), Western Evaluation Issue (November), Federal Election Issue (Pending an election is called), University Students’ Council Election Issue (February), Sex Issue (February), Arts Issue (March) and Spoof Issue (April). We believe all of these issues encompass issues that affect persons of all different backgrounds on campus and are aimed to be as inclusive as possible. The Spoof Issue, published on or near the 1st of April every year, provides the editorial board an opportunity to comment on issues that are observed throughout the year on campus and affect students at Western as a whole. Content for the Spoof Issue will be reviewed by members of The Gazette’s advisory board prior to publication.

    We have chosen not to single out specific groups for the upcoming year for any special issue as we believe this is against the principle of inclusive content in our paper. By making The Gazette open to all members of the Western community and reporting on issues affecting all students, we believe a more open and welcoming paper can be created for all members of the Western community.

     

    6. In an effort to provide the best possible experience for our volunteers and ensure their growth as writers, The Gazette is committed to the following measures to assist individuals who come to write for the paper:

    (a) All individuals who are interested in volunteering will be provided with a handout outlining the procedures for each section of the paper and what steps are required to take certain assignments. This will ensure there is no confusion among volunteers on the procedures of the paper from the onset of their time at The Gazette. This handout will also be posted on the “Policies” section of the website.

    (b) Individuals who volunteer for the paper are under no compulsion to devote a certain number of hours, but must respect story deadlines if they choose to take on assignments.

    (c) Section editors with two-day lead times or longer (Arts & Entertainment, Sports, Features, Graphics, special photography assignments) will do their best to stay in touch with volunteers and communicate assignments via electronic mail. Due to the one-day lead-time, news assignments and the majority of news photography assignments must be received in person.

    (d) Writers who volunteer with the paper are free to suggest story ideas and sit down with section editors to go over story changes upon request. All final decisions on newspaper content, however, are at the discretion of the editorial board and front office staff of The Gazette.

     

    7. As Canada’s largest student newspaper, The Gazette prides itself on its ability to deliver serious news to the student body while maintaining an irreverent style to ensure readers are duly entertained by what they read. In order to strike this fine balance in content, the paper is committed to the following measures when judging editorial content:

    a) Ensuring all content published in the newspaper follows the procedures outlined in The Gazette’s Editorial Policy and Code of Ethics.

    b) While humour may be used from time to time in headlines, cutlines, or stories, The Gazette will do its best not to make any members of the Western community feel alienated or attacked. This will include not going out of our way to personally insult individuals in stories, headlines, editorial cartoons, editorial notes or photo captions.

     

    8. With regards to the content of the newspaper, The Gazette begun a series of new initiatives over the past two years, and remains committed to the following features:

    a) While the focus of the newspaper will remain on the Western and London community, The Gazette will continue to look for new and innovative ways of reporting international news.

    b) The Events Calendar, which was initiated during the 2007-08 academic year, will remain in the paper for the upcoming year. The calendar will appear twice per week during publication of the paper. While all individuals on campus are allowed to submit events for print, it remains the discretion of the editorial board which events are printed.

    c) The Gazette will continue printing features such as the “Purple Pipe” which highlight and give prominence to members of the Western community.

     

    1. The Gazette remains committed to being transparent to its readership with regards to its policies and procedures. In an effort to demonstrate these efforts, the paper remains committed to the following actions:
    1. Readers who e-mail the Editor-in-Chief with questions regarding how content is decided for the paper will receive an automatic form response outlining the Editorial Policy of the paper, why unsolicited articles are not accepted, how to volunteer for the paper and a link to the Policies section of The Gazette website.
    2. Individuals who submit letters to the opinions section will receive an automatic form response outlining the selection process for published letters.

     

    10. All new procedures will remain in the “Policies” section of The Gazette website for 2008-09 and a link to the site will be provided in the opinions section of the print edition of the newspaper.

     

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