WKU Student Publications Policy Manual

All sections of this Policy Manual apply to all students working for WKU Student Publications. There also are specific sections for staff members of the College Heights Herald and the Talisman.

What’s Involved

Student Publications

Ethics Guide

College Heights Herald


AP/Herald Stylebook

Detailed indexes appear on the first page of each section.




Letter from the director

You tell the story of WKU.

In words and images, your work keeps the students, faculty and staff at Western Kentucky University informed. You keep the larger community connected with WKU. You provide the news and information that makes our university a community.

You are an observer and a watchdog. You record and bring context to life on The Hill.

And that is an important job.

Welcome to WKU Student Publications. This is the home of the College Heights Herald, WKUHerald.com, the Talisman and WKUTalisman.com, each of which has earned a reputation as being among the best publications in collegiate journalism. And they are your publications – yours to direct and produce, and to craft with excellence. While you are a member of the staff, they are your responsibility. We’re also the home of College Heights Media, a specialty publications division designed to give students a publishing-house experience.

This newsroom is your home as a staff member. The facility that houses us, the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center, opened in 2008. It was made possible by generous alumni with a passion for our student publications and the role they play in helping young reporters, photographers, editors and designers blossom into exceptional professionals. It’s our responsibility to uphold and build on that foundation of excellence – and to maintain the professional environment of Adams-Whitaker.

Through the Talisman, the Herald and their digital operations, you have the opportunity to build the kind of experience that will give you the advantage as you pursue your career after you leave WKU. You owe it to yourself, and we all owe it to each other, to make the best of these opportunities – to learn how to research and tell accurate and compelling stories, to reach audiences across multiple platforms, to become proficient in delivering news and information to our community how they want it, when they want it and where they want it.

The Student Publications Policy Manual provides information about guidelines for dealing with legal and ethical issues as well as operations procedures and expectations for everyone in Student Publications. These guidelines were developed by a committee of students and advisers during the 1989-90 school year and were updated in 1994, 1997, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2013.

Whether our work is in print or online, unfolded on a park bench alongside Henry Hardin Cherry’s statue or viewed on a tablet or in a computer lab, your challenge is to seize this opportunity, to make yourself the best you can be, and to uphold and exceed the tradition of excellence that is the hallmark of the College Heights Herald and the Talisman.

CHUCK CLARK, Director | 270-745-4206 | Chuck.Clark@WKU.edu

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General statement of policy

Student publications and the student press are a valuable aid in establishing and maintaining an atmosphere of free and responsible discussion and of intellectual exploration on the campus. Such publications are a means of bringing student concerns to the attention of the faculty and the institutional authorities and of formulating student opinion on various issues on the campus and in the world at large.

In the delegation of editorial responsibility to students, the institution must provide editorial freedom and financial autonomy for the student publications to maintain their integrity of purpose as vehicles for free inquiry and free expression in an academic community. A student newspaper adviser must build a climate within which learning can take place. This includes making mistakes. Student editors must reach their own balance between freedom and responsibility. Stories that are questionable should be brought to the adviser’s attention and matters about which editors lack information should be discussed with the adviser. Otherwise, editors may assume responsibility for the operation of the paper.

Institutional authorities, in consultation with students and faculty, have a responsibility to provide written clarification of the role of student publications and the standards to be used in their evaluation. At the same time, the editorial freedom of student editors and managers entails corollary responsibilities to be governed by the canons of responsible journalism, such as the avoidance of libel, indecency, harassment and innuendo. As safeguards for the editorial freedom of the campus publications, the following provisions are necessary:

  1. The student press should be free of censorship and advance approval of copy, and its editors and the adviser should be free to develop their own policies and philosophies herein set forth by the Student Publications Committee.
  2. Advisers and staff members of the student publications should be protected from arbitrary suspension and removal because of student, faculty, administrative or public disapproval of editorial policy or content. Only for proper and stated causes should editors and staff members be subject to removal.
  3. The university newspaper should explicitly state on the editorial page that the opinions there expressed are not necessarily those of the department, the college, the university or the student body.
  4. The advisers should be freely accessible to editors and staff members; particularly they should bring their experiences in decision making to instances involving questions of taste, libel and other situations.
  5. The Student Publications Committee endorses and abides by the Canons of Journalism and the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.

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Statements By WKU Presidents

Policy Statement issued April 25, 1990, by President Thomas Meredith

Final authority as to whether material considered libelous should be printed should rest with the student editors, and a statement to this effect should be included in both the Herald and Talisman staff policies and procedures manual and the policies of the Student Publications Committee. The student editors should be charged with the responsibility of consulting with qualified legal counsel on questions of libel.

Policy Statement issued Feb. 1, 1999, by President Gary Ransdell

Our student publications are highly significant in the life of Western Kentucky University. Our publications clearly help make Western distinctive, bring national recognition to Western and define our image as an institution. I want to do everything I possibly can to help sustain and strengthen the quality of our student publications.

Campus Media Statement of the Society of Professional Journalists signed Jan. 6, 2009, by President Gary Ransdell

Student media are designated public forums, and free from censorship and advance approval of content. Because content and funding are unrelated, and because the role of adviser does not include advance review of content, student media are free to develop editorial policies and news coverage with the understanding that students and student organizations speak only for themselves. Administrators, faculty, staff or other agents shall not consider the student media’s content when making decisions regarding the media’s funding or faculty adviser.2016-17 Student Publications Policy Manual 

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WKU Student Publications is one of the most success student journalism enterprises in the country. Together, the College Heights Herald and the Talisman have 33 Pacemaker awards, the nation’s highest honor for a student-run publication.

Founded in 1925, the College Heights Herald is the main source for news about WKU for students, faculty and staff, as well as for those interested in the university. The Herald is recognized as one of the best non-daily college newspapers in the country. The Herald received the national Pacemaker Award from the Associated Collegiate Press and the Newspaper Association of America Foundation in 1981, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2012. Also in 2010, WKUHerald.com won a national Pacemaker Award after being named Best of Show in 2009. The Herald was inducted into the ACP Hall of Fame in 1989. In 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002, the Herald received Gold Crown Awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

The first issue of Jan. 29, 1925, announced the newspaper’s beginning. “This newspaper was born at one of the greatest chapel exercises ever heard on College Heights, on Thursday, Jan. 22, and the acclaim with which the announcement was received would have stirred the heart of every former student and filled every atom of his body with renewed vibration of school loyalty and patriotism …”

The Herald began as a broadsheet but was a tabloid most of its life. The paper converted from letterpress to offset in 1968 and became a twice-weekly publication in 1969. In August 2002, the Herald returned to its broadsheet size, and the staff began sending the paper electronically. The Herald also revamped its website, WKUHerald.com, and began posting news daily, as well as using multimedia techniques in coverage. It launched its first mobile phone application in spring 2011.

The Talisman was founded in 1924 as the school’s official yearbook. It was published continuously until 1996, and returned with the 2003 yearbook. It started winning national awards in the 1970s and was the only recipient of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Trendsetter Award until it was discontinued. The Talisman won a national Pacemaker Award in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1995, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The Talisman was inducted into the ACP Hall of Fame in 2009. The yearbook also received Gold Crowns from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association in 1982, 1995, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and Silver Crowns in 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2014.

The 2016 Talisman was its final edition as a yearbook. Beginning in Fall 2016, the Talisman became a magazine focused on the life and culture of WKU, Bowling Green and Southern Kentucky and issued twice a year — late in fall and spring semesters. Its accompanying website, WKUTalisman.com, is a thriving venue for popular culture material related to life at WKU. In its first year, WKUTalisman.com was awarded a Pacemaker.

Herald and Talisman writers and photographers contribute significantly to WKU’s top finishes in the William Randolph Hearst Foundation overall national championship.

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What’s Involved

Basic Housekeeping


Other Information


College Heights Herald section

Talisman section

AP/Herald Stylebook

Available online

Detailed indexes appear on the first page of each section.



General Information

The general guidelines and ethical standards in this policy manual apply to all students who work on publications at WKU under the supervision of the Office of Student Publications. Each publication should develop its own operating procedures and job descriptions.


As an administrative unit, the Office of Student Publications reports directly to the vice provost in the Office of Academic Affairs. Although it is housed in WKU’s Division of Academic Affairs, the office is not part of any academic college or program. A Student Publications Committee, with representatives from across the university and a professional journalist, serves the primary duty of selecting the editors-in-chief of the Talisman and the College Heights Herald, as well as an advisory board. The Office of Student Publications is independent of the WKU School of Journalism & Broadcasting, which reports to the dean of Potter College of Arts & Letters. Student Publications also has an advisory board composed of professionals in journalism and related industries and including both alumni and non-alumni.


To work on student publications at WKU, a person must be a full-time student or must be taking all of the hours needed to complete graduation requirements. All staff members must be in good standing with the university; anyone on academic probation shall be suspended until demonstrating a level of academic progress satisfactory to the editor-in-chief and adviser. No one on probationary status may be paid.

Staff selection/removal

The editor-in-chief of each publication is selected by the Student Publications Committee, based on a formal application and interview. Upon approval by the Student Publications Committee, the editor will select other editorial staff members, in consultation with advisers and the Director of Student Publications. Business staff members will be selected in consultation with the advertising adviser and the Director of Student Publications.

Financial basics

The Office of Student Publications has overall responsibility for maintaining fiscal accountability. As an administrative unit, the office receives a budget from the university for salaries, office supplies, postage and other operating expenses. The Herald does not receive a direct allocation from the university; its budget is revenue-dependent. In other words, the newspaper must generate its own money. The primary source of revenue, of course, is advertising. The Talisman receives an operating budget from the university. Because the budget is allocated from university revenue, the Talisman is heavily subsized and distributed to WKU students, faculty and staff free of charge.

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Student Publications Committee

The committee will be an advisory body for student publications. It will serve as a buffer between the administration on one hand and the publications’ constituencies on the other.


The Student Publications Committee has 11 voting members, which includes a representation of faculty, staff, students and a professional journalist. It consists of:

  • The director of the School of Journalism & Broadcasting.
  • A representative from the Student Affairs division, nominated by the vice president for Student Affairs.
  • A representative from the Public Affairs division, nominated by the vice president for Public Affairs.
  • Three faculty or senior staff members to represent academic or academic-related areas appointed for renewable three-year terms, one nominated by the University Senate, two nominated by a three-member executive committee appointed by the Student Publications Committee chair.
  • Four student members to represent the diversity of the campus community appointed for staggered two-year terms: one nominated from the WKU Student Government Association, and three nominated from faculty/staff members on the Student Publications Committee.
  • A professional representative of the Kentucky Press Association, appointed by the KPA.
  • The editors-in-chief of the College Heights Herald and the Talisman (nonvoting) and the Director of Student Publications (nonvoting).


  • (a) Meets each semester, usually in October/November and March/April. Any member of the committee (voting and nonvoting) may ask the executive committee to convene a special meeting for a stated cause, but must give a three-day notice. The Executive Committee includes the chairperson, secretary and Director of Student Publications.
  • (b) Selects the College Heights Herald editor-in-chief for the fall semester and the Talisman editor-in-chief at the spring meeting and the spring semester editor-in-chief of the Herald at the fall meeting. Has the authority to remove an editor-in-chief with the concurrence of the Director of Student Publications.
  • (c) Reviews financial operations of the publications, including sales, income, accounts receivable, expenses, financial forecasts, bad debts, purchasing problems, equipment purchases and other financial operations to ensure that the Herald and Talisman at all times operate according to the standard university accounting and financial procedures. At fiscal year-end, a complete financial statement of operations, citing variances to the budget should be provided.
  • (d) Reviews complaints that have not been resolved by the editor-in-chief, advertising manager or other involved staff members. Complaints should be submitted in writing. The committee will develop procedures for resolving complaints.
  • (e) Reviews staff policy and procedures and job descriptions upon request.
  • (f ) Does not serve as an editorial board.
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Way Forward Advisory Board

The Way Forward advisory board’s mission is to help chart the path for WKU Student Publications. The committee is appointed by the director, with input from others on the professional staff, to make recommendations on direction for WKU Student Publications with respect to journalism, business needs, publication development, technology and other matters as theadvisory board sees fit. There is no set number of members, but members shall include alumni and non-alumni experts in their fields.

This board generally meets once a semester, typically around homecoming and in April.

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Professional Staff Job Descriptions

Director of Student Publications

Chuck Clark | Chuck.Clark@wku.edu | 270-745-4206

The Director of Student Publications has overall administrative responsibility for the College Heights Herald, the Talisman and other student publications and ventures that might be undertaken under the auspices of the Office of Student Publications. The director:

  • Ensures that all student publications under the director’s supervision maintain the highest professional standards. This includes in-house training sessions, as well as attendance at professional meetings and seminars.
  • Oversees all financial transactions and maintaining fiscal responsibility for the Office of Student Publications including the Herald, Talisman and special scholarship and development accounts.
  • Secures the necessary equipment and supplies for the publications, including maintenance contracts and maintaining a perpetual inventory.
  • Works closely with advisers and the Student Publications business office to ensure regularity of publications and an orderly transition of student editors, subeditors and managers.
  • Provides advice on such legal matters as libel, invasion of privacy, open meetings law, open records law, obscenity and ethics.
  • Develops an annual advertising rate structure for the Herald, including setting salaries and commission rates, distribution of accounts and revising advertising contracts as needed.
  • Negotiates all necessary contracts, including written specifications for printing, mailing and distributing, marketing and keeping staff manuals updated.
  • Prepares annual budgets for the Office of Student Publications, signing all purchase requisitions and adhering to all University fiscal procedures.
  • Works with Business Office in overseeing the payroll for students who are paid on part-time payroll, weekly time sheets or as independent contractors (writers, photographers, artists, circulation) and commission advertising staff.
  • Serves as a non-voting member of the Student Publications Committee.
  • Works closely with editors of professional publications in the placement of interns and graduates and in improving student recruitment efforts.
  • Strengthens relationships with WKU’s publications alumni through an annual Homecoming event, a formal alumni association and a regular schedule of newsletters and other activities.
  • Ensures that student staff members are properly recognized for their work by encouraging entry in competitions that would bring attention to students and their publications and publicize their accomplishments within and outside the department.

College Heights Herald adviser/multiplatform news director

Carrie Pratt | Carrie.Pratt@wku.edu | 270-745-4591

The Herald adviser is an advocate and resource for the College Heights Herald on all its platforms — print, web, mobile, social media any any other format that the student-run news outlet might adopt. The adviser is available for the editor-in-chief, the editorial board and other Herald staff members as needed, assisting with legal and ethical matters, offering advice on journalism issues and helping direct the transition of the Herald from a print-centric operation to one that operates on and maximizes the strengths of multiple delivery platforms.

Talisman adviser/specialty publications manager

Sam Oldenburg | Samual.Oldenburg@wku.edu@ wku.edu | 270-745-3055

The Talisman adviser serves as an advocate and resource for the student staff and attends weekly editorial board and full staff meetings, along with specific staff meetings as needed. The adviser supports the editor-in-chief with tasks like distribution of the Talisman, senior and underclassmen portraits, content development, news judgment and legal matters. The adviser also manages equipment rentals available to the photo staff. The adviser is available during production and communicates with the printer to ensure quality once the files are received. They also critique the publication often and provide instruction for improvement. The adviser prepares files for competitions and submits the budget to the director.

Sales manager/advertising adviser

Will Hoagland | William.Hoagland@wku.edu | 270-745-6285

The sales director and advertising adviser develops advertising and revenue plans and projections, and makes adjustments as warranted; trains student advertising executives; assists in maintaining strong client relationships and recruiting new clients; and directly supervises the student advertising manager and student creative director. The sales director also works with the director and others on the professional staff to develop new lines of revenue, such as web design or specialty advertising publications, designed to keep WKU Student Publications financially healthy.

Operations manager

Sherry West | Sherry.West@wku.edu | 270-745-2651

The operations manager oversees all budgets and all financial transactions, as well as recordkeeping, for WKU Student Publications. The operations manager also is responsible for student payroll and for ensuring generally smoother operations at WKU Student Publications, and consults regularly with the director on all financial and operational matters.

Office associate

Tracy Newton | Tracy.Newton@wku.edu | 270-745-2653

The office associate provides customer service to students, visitors, alumni, advertisers and others who come into contact with WKU Student Publications, either in person or by phone. The office associate also makes daily deposit of all receipts. which includes posting of all payments to AdPro; is responsible for all payment authorizations for student payroll; maintains an adequate inventory of supplies; assists in the efficient day-to-day operations for WKU Student Publications; and coordinates special events.Page A-6 Student Publications Policy Manual 2016-17

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Parking policy

Parking behind the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center is reserved for WKU Student Publications vehicles and for people doing business with us.

Students cannot park in the four Student Publications spaces or the loading zone to go to class, to run over to the computer lab or for any other purpose not directly related to WKU Student Publications.

Business space

During business hours — 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday — NO STUDENT OR STAFF PARKING IS PERMITTED in any space reserved for Student Publications business. Customers using the business space must sign in at the Business Office.

Office vehicle spaces

The three spaces designated for Student Publications vehicles adjacent to the loading dock are reserved for WKU Student Publications vehicles only, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you park there, we will ask that your vehicle be towed.

Loading zone

The loading zone behind the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center will be strictly enforced by WKU Parking and Transportation Services. The space is limited to commercial delivery vehicles and the time limit for parking is 10 minutes. If a student or staff member risks parking in the loading zone, he or she must be in the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center and available to move the vehicle at all times.

No overnight parking is allowed in the Loading Zone under any circumstances.


WKU Parking and Transportation Services will issue a $100 citation and/or have a vehicle towed for violating the rules. If your vehicle is ticketed or towed for misusing the spaces at the back of the building, we cannot intervene.

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Office policies

Use of the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center is a privilege. Students are expected to follow office policies or may have building privileges revoked.

Basic housekeeping

We have a steady stream of visitors through the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center. It is the responsibility of each person who works in the office to keep the quarters as clean as possible.

In particular, keep desktops clean by throwing away or filing materials when you have finished with them. Desks are not to be locked. This is a shared space by all staffers, so limit personal items on your desk. Never remove clips from any bound volume. The bound volumes are stored in cabinets in the basement. If you remove a bound volume from the basement, you must returned it when you are finished.

NO food or drinks are permitted in carpeted areas of the building except water bottles and cups with secure lids. If you have food or drink, you should be especially careful as you head to the break room to avoid getting anything on the carpet. Absolutely no food or drink is allowed in the conference room without prior approval of the Director of Student Publications.

There is to be NO tape or push pins used on walls. Push pins are to be used only on the panels on the desks; this use should be limited. We are proud of our furniture so help us keep it clean and looking nice. There is no sleeping in the office. Keep your shoes off of all furniture and do not sit on desks or stand on chairs.

Possession of alcohol, drugs or firearms in the building is prohibited (see Drug and Alcohol Policy). If you smoke outside (allowed only in the designated area), dispose of your cigarettes properly. Do not throw cigarette butts on the ground.

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Conference room policies

The conference room should be used only for editorial board meetings for the Herald and Talisman and small staff meetings. All other individual and full staff meetings will be held in the basement. There is to be no eating in the conference room without permission of the Director and only approved lidded cups or water bottles will be allowed. The conference room must be kept neat and clean of papers and trash.

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Basement usage

Unless you are in a meeting or in need of an old Herald or Talisman, then you should not be in the basement. Under no circumstances are you to go through any of the filing or storage cabinets. The basement is not a place to store your personal belongings.

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Break room policies

While the break room is available for your use, when you are done, clean up. Do not leave cups and containers lying around; if you do and they are thrown away, do not complain. Do not leave rotten food in containers in the refrigerator or keep food in there for long periods of time. This is not your personal refrigerator. Items in the refrigerator are the property of the person who brought them; they are not community property. Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink for someone else to take care of. Do not leave food in the sink, either. If you make a mess in the sink or counter, clean it up. If you spill something, clean it up. This includes the microwave. There are cleaning products located in the cabinets. If you have trouble finding them, ask.

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Pets are not permitted in the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center. Professionally trained service dogs and comfort animals are not considered pets.

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Put only paper in the blue or gray trash cans that are marked for recycling. Non-paper items should be put in a separate trash can. Since there will be no food, paper cups or other food items outside the break room, most everything we deal with is recyclable. Designated trash cans are labeled for aluminum cans and plastic bottles. A recycling caddy for cans and bottles and a bucket for batteries are located in the rear lobby near the basement stairs.

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Access and security

Equipment in the publications area represents a considerable financial investment. It is everyone’s responsibility to protect it. When you see someone unfamiliar, ask him or her in a friendly manner if you can help.

If you are the last person to leave the office, make sure the lights are off and that the area is secure, and that the exterior doors are fully closed. The lights in the newsroom are on a timer but may be turned off by pushing the top left button. When the last editor is ready to leave, everyone else must leave too. A departmental supervisor or editor should be present at all times.

Working in Student Publications is a privilege and not a right. When in doubt about building security, call campus police for assistance.

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Office hours

Student Publication Office Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. During these hours, office staff will be available to assist you. If a staffer needs to take care of paperwork or get something from the business office, it should be done during these hours. If you have a request of our office staff, please try to make that request no later than 4 p.m.

On Herald production nights, the front and back doors will remain unlocked until 6 p.m. Otherwise, the doors will lock automatically at 4:30 p.m. If you need access and the door is locked, please ring the doorbell once and someone will let you in. A tune denotes the front door, while two tones is for the back door. Please envision yourself waiting outside and answer the door as soon as possible. If you’re outside, please be patient.

After hours, please press the green button to the right of the front and back doors before exiting the building or letting someone in. If the door is held open for longer than 30 seconds, the alarm may activate. This means you cannot prop the door open, hold the door open or turn the lock to keep door open.

You are not allowed to exit/enter through the side door. It is an emergency exit only. If you open this door the alarm will sound and may remain on for nine hours.

If you are here after 4:30 p.m. and the alarm is activated:

  • Contact campus police at 745-2548.
  • Please let them know if there’s an emergency or if it was human error that triggered the alarm. Ask them to deactivate it.

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The editors of the Talisman and Herald and the Herald advertising manager will be issued keys to their offices. It is the responsibility student leader to apply for and get the key from WKU’s Access Management office. The key holder must keep track of the key and not to loan it to anybody. Staff members who are issued a key and lose it will have to pay the cost of having the lock changed and the key replaced. All keys are to be returned to Access Management at the end of finals week.

Designated members of the Herald and Talisman staff will have ID cards that grant them access to the Student Publications Center. The card is the responsibility of the staffer – they are not to give it to anyone else to use. If it is lost or stolen, the staffer should report it immediately. Staffers are issued one card and will have to pay for a replacement. Cards are deactivated by office staff at the end of the semester or termination of employment.

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If an editorial board member chooses to allow a staff member access to the building after business hours, then it is that editorial board member’s responsibility to stay until the staffer leaves. Upon leaving the building, the editorial board member should ensure the building is locked and lights and equipment are off.

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Use of Equipment

The university does not, in general, provide the equipment for WKU Student Publications. Because the equipment is costly to maintain, its use by non-staff members is prohibited, and work not related to publications must be strictly limited (see Communication Systems Policy). If you need to check out equipment — laptops, iPads, iPod Touches, camera gear, etc. — see the publication adviser.

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There is a fax machine available for all staffers to use for Student Publications business only. The machine is located on the Talisman end of the newsroom near the color printer. There are fax cover sheets on the bookshelf near the fax. If there are faxes sitting in the machine, staffers should place them in the basket to the right of the machine. Staffers should also regularly check this area for faxes.

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There is one color printer/copier and one black-and-white printer located in the newsroom. There is limited access to the color printer and it should be used ONLY for Herald and Talisman business. Because our printers are costly to maintain, do not use them to print homework or class projects. A 24-hour lab is located conveniently across the street in Jody Richards Hall (formerly Mass Media & Technology Hall). Our copiers are for publications business only.

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A mailbox is provided for many staff members. Please check your mailbox every day.

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When a phone is ringing, answer it. When doing so, say: “College Heights Herald, this is (your name)” or “Talisman, this is (your name).” To answer a ringing phone in the newsroom, press the button designated “Pickup” on the phone closest to you, and the call will automatically ring to that phone.

When taking messages, please write the time, date and your name on the message and put it in the appropriate place.

The telephones in the publications area are for business use. Long distance service is available for business calls. Those calls should be kept as short as possible. Publications staff members may use the telephones for occasional internship and job calls. Anyone abusing that privilege may be required to reimburse Student Publications and may be suspended from the staff.

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Office Supplies

Because of its limited budget, the Office of Student Publications cannot provide classroom supplies for students. Office supplies, including Post-it Notes, pens, copy paper and the color printer, are to be used in publications-related activities only. If staffers need particular office supplies or they are running low, they will need to discuss this with their adviser or the front office staff.

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Smoking and Electronic Cigarettes

The use of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes is prohibited inside the Student Publications building. WKU policy limits the use of tobacco or e-cigarette materials to designated smoking areas. The loading dock is the only designated smoking area at the Student Publications Center.

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While we want students to enjoy their time in the newsroom, it is a place of business. Like any other professional workplace, staffers must behave in a manner conducive to business. Staff members who choose to test these rules will receive a warning and may be terminated or have building privileges suspended or revoked by their adviser or the Director.

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Professionalism includes demonstrating a mature command over the English language. Staffers should not swear in the newsroom because others might take offense to it. Writing language on the dry erase board that might be considered foul and/or offensive is prohibited. Disagreements — whether among students or between students and professional staffers — must be handled professionally; foul language has no place in a professional environment. Abusive language will not be tolerated.

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Staff members should dress and look professional while in the newsroom. This is a place of business and we have frequent visitors, including prospective students and their parents, so it is important to look appropriate at all times. Articles of clothing that project slogans or graphics that might offend any race, ethnic group, gender or sexual orientation are not tolerated in the newsroom. Remember that when you are out on campus or in the community on assignment, you represent the College Heights Herald or theTalisman. It is important to look professional.

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It’s simple: Don’t do it. Gossip destroys the morale of any organization. If you want to talk about someone, learn to speak to that person directly.

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Staff members who date each other must keep all aspects of their personal relationships out of the office.

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Personal hygiene

Working for the Herald and Talisman requires staff members to share equipment in close quarters, sometimes for extended periods. Taking care of your personal hygiene is conducive to a pleasant working environment. Please bathe, launder clothes regularly and keep your hands clean. Placing your fingers in your mouth, ears and nose and then typing on the keyboard and handling papers that others may need afterwards creates a health hazard.

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If a staffer is sick, out of respect for others who work in the office, don’t come into the office. Staffers who are out with an illness should contact their editor and let them know the status of their assignments.

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Contests and Honors

Throughout the year, Student Publications enters statewide, regional and national journalism competitions. The Herald and Talisman have a proprietary interest in the material they publish. Thus, editors are entitled to help determine which entries will represent Student Publications in contests. Awards presented to the staff as a whole or to the publication generally become the property of the publication. Individuals who win awards for work published in the Herald or the Talisman may accept the award and retain ownership of it. Awards look great on your resume and academic portfolio.

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WKU Student Publications from time to time sends students outside Bowling Green to cover events or attend conferences. These guidelines apply to all student travel for the College Heights Herald and the Talisman.


All out-of-town travel requires prior approval. You must fill out a Travel Request Form and have it approved by the editor-in-chief as well as either the publication adviser or the director. Travel without prior approval will not be reimbursed.


In general, coverage of an event that requires out-of-town travel will be limited to no more than two staffers. Exceptions must be approved by the adviser and the director.

TRANSPORTATION. Transportation to and from the venue will be covered from the publication’s budget. The mode of transportation (ground or air) will be at the discretion of the adviser. Mileage for any one assignment will be paid for one vehicle at the university reimbursement rate. If a student chooses to take a second vehicle rather than share a ride, no mileage may be claimed for the second vehicle. When using air travel, receipts completed by the vendor must be obtained for any necessary ground transportation such as taxis or shuttles.

LODGING. The publication will pay for one hotel room for coverage of an event that requires an overnight stay. In the case of a male and female staff member being assigned to cover an out-of-town event, the publication will pay for two hotel rooms.

MEALS. The publication will reimburse actual expenses for meals for no more than two staffers for a single event, not to exceed $30 per day per person, unless approved by the director. Students must turn in itemized receipts to be eligible for reimbursement for meals. NO ALCOHOL IS PERMITTED.


The number of students attending a conference at the expense of WKU Student Publications will be determined by the director and the advisers.

DEPOSIT. Students traveling to conferences will be required to make a $100 deposit in order to attend any conference paid for by WKU Student Publications or the publication itself. The deposit will be returned to the student in full at the conference location. If the student does not make the trip for any reason, the deposit shall be forfeited.

AIR FARE. The publication or WKU Student Publications will cover a portion or all airfare for any student traveling to a conference as long as that student will be returning to WKU Student Publications the following semester. Exceptions are at the discretion of the director. If a student for whom airfare has been purchased fails to make the trip for any reason, the student must reimburse WKU Student Publications for the full cost of the airfare.

REGISTRATION AND LODGING. The publication or WKU Student Publications will cover registration and lodging costs at conferences for all students approved to attend. Shared rooms will be required.

MEALS. Students traveling on behalf of Student Publications to conferences must pay for their own meals and other expenses beyond airfare, lodging and registration.

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Communications Systems Policy

Effective: May 15, 2003

Updated: January 14, 2011

Communication Systems refers to Internet access, e-mail, computers, telephones and/or voice mail provided in Student Publications for work-related purposes only by employees of the Office of Student Publications, the College Heights Herald or the Talisman. Use of discriminatory, derogatory or offensive language, written or spoken, is prohibited. Any voice mail, e-mail or other communications sent or received via the Communications Systems must be appropriate for the workplace. Do not transmit anything in an e-mail message that you would not feel comfortable having posted on a bulletin board for all to see. Remember: The recipient of your message may send it to people that you did not want to see it.

Occasional, incidental use of the Communications Systems for personal reasons is permitted, provided that such usage does not interfere with normal work activities. All such personal use is subject to and must be in compliance with this policy and all other applicable policies and may be prohibited in the future.

You must obey copyright and other intellectual property laws when using the Communications Systems. Those laws prohibit the reproduction and distribution of the intellectual property of others, including movies, musical recordings, photographs, illustrations and software, unless you have authorization from the copyright owner or if it constitutes “fair use.” There should not be any illegal or copyright infringed material on Student Publications computers, including but not limited to music and movie files, software and illegal serial numbers and cracks.

Personal computers, such as laptops, may be used in the Student Publications offices but employees may not use this access to gain or trade copyrighted material.

Only properly licensed Student Publications-sanctioned software may be used on the Communications Systems. You may not download or install any software or hardware products onto the computers without prior approval of a member of the professional staff.

All users waive any right to, or expectations of, privacy in use of the Communication Systems, and Student Publications and/or the university reserves the right to monitor any use to prevent system misuse, ensure compliance with legal regulatory requests and enforce this and other policies.

Users should print out all e-mail messages sent or received which would normally be retained for business purposes and place them in an appropriate file.

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Alcohol, drug and conduct policy

Effective: Sept. 24, 2002; Updated: May 19, 2008

See also Removal of News Content from Digital Databases

To sustain the moral values, high ethical standards and the overall professionalism and integrity of the College Heights Herald and the Talisman, their employees (defined here as anyone who regularly contributes to the newspaper or yearbook) recognize that they should abide by appropriate standards of conduct.

WKU Student Publications holds WKU athletes, coaches, student leaders, staff and faculty to a high standard based upon their status as “public figures.” Because of this perceived status, the Herald has published stories – rather than including the items in the regular listing of police reports – when athletes have received DUIs and/or have been cited or charged with crimes such as the possession of stolen parking permits.

Consequently, WKU Student Publications employees also must hold themselves to those higher standards and should refrain from conduct that reflects adversely upon the Herald and Talisman or that adversely affects their ability to effectively perform their duties for the Herald or Talisman.

Alcohol, drugs prohibited

Student Publication employees may not bring alcoholic beverages or any form of illegal drug into the Adams-Whitaker Student Publication Center, nor may they permit any persons accompanying them to possess alcohol or illegal drugs.

Student Publications employees may not enter the office if they are intoxicated or inebriated or have consumed any amount of alcohol or drugs that would alter their thought process, slur their speech or cause them to engage in disruptive behavior.

Student Publications employees shall not drink when working on an assignment. Even after the interviews, photos and/or sales are completed, the employee shall not engage in behavior that would adversely reflect on the Herald or Talisman.

Reporting, due process

Should a Student Publications employee violate any of these conditions, he or she will be required to meet with the editor-in-chief, who will decide if the behavior warrants an unpaid suspension or removal from the staff. If placed on suspension, the employee may return to the staff, but the employee is not guaranteed that he or she will return to the same position.

Should the editor-in-chief violate one of the policies, he/she will be required to meet with the full editorial board and notify them within 48 hours thereof. He/she will then meet with the adviser to determine if behavior warrants any disciplinary action.

Should a Student Publication employee receive a DUI charge, any charge or citation related to public intoxication or any charge related to the possession, distribution or abuse of illegal drugs, that staff member is obligated to notify the editor-in-chief within 48 hours of the incident. That employee may be subject to an unpaid suspension of a minimum of 30 days or removal from the staff. If the employee is suspended, reinstatement will be effective only after a meeting with the immediate supervisor and the editor-in-chief and a determination by the editor that the employee is willing to abide by this policy and uphold the integrity of the Herald and Talisman.

Should an employee fail to report his/her arrest or citation to the editor-in-chief and the arrest/citation is discovered later, that employee shall be removed from the staff. In an instance involving the editor-in-chief, the editorial board, in consultation with the adviser, shall institute sanctions that may include, but are not limited to, suspension or a recommendation to the Student Publications Committee for removal.

Application of Policy/Confidentiality

This policy is the internal operating policy of Student Publications and is not intended to be a part of or supersede any policies of the University. Any actions taken in accordance with this policy shall be considered confidential, internal, personnel matters, and shall be separate from any University action.

Herald Coverage

Herald and Talisman employees are held to a higher standard than regular students because of the nature of their jobs. But they aren’t necessarily public figures. If a staff member is arrested for a DUI or other drug- or alcohol-related crime, that staff member should inform the editor-in-chief. The charge against that staff member will be included in the crime reports. Otherwise, depending on the nature of the arrest or charge, no other coverage may be necessary. If the staff member who is arrested is a member of the editorial board or a highly visible position, a more prominent story will be published.

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Other Things

College Heights Media

College Heights Media is a specialty publishing agency created in 2012 with a twofold purpose: To create additional opportunities for students to gain experience in a real world publishing setting, and to generate revenue to support WKU Student Publications and our flagship products, the Talisman and the College Heights Herald.

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Marketing Manager

WKU Student Publications employs two student Marketing Managers, one for the College Heights Herald and one for the Talisman, to promote those publications and Student Publications in general. These promotions include special events, open houses, advertisements, distribution, sales and other efforts. The marketing managers report to the publication adviser.

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