This is the ninth post in a series intended to help you draft or improve your student media staff’s publications manual. Posts in this series will run on Wednesdays throughout the summer. The posts’ titles will start with “Pub Manual 101″ and include the Pub Manual 101 logo.
Student journalists have one full-time job, and it’s not in the newsroom.
Being a journalist is secondary to their primary role of being a student.
Because of that, I am a stickler about the academic progress of the student journalists I advise.
I monitor their class attendance and their grades. I also inform their professors that I want to know immediately if any student journalist says he or she is missing class for a student media-related assignment, which, in my mind, is an unacceptable excuse.
In determining what the required GPAs should be, the editors reviewed the student government requirements, then made their policy stricter. Their reasoning was that they should be above reproach from the student group of which they see themselves as the greatest watchdogs.
Our Student Publications grade point policy reads:
Student Publications are an academic function at Oklahoma City University. As such, being a member of the Student Publications staff is meant to supplement academic learning by providing a hands-on environment in which to study journalism. Student Publications positions should be considered a privilege, and come secondary to academic study. Student Publications-related activities are never to be used as an excuse for missing classes/assignments unless the activity is approved by the adviser and (s)he requests that professors excuse the absence. All students desiring a position on the Student Publications staff must maintain at least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average. Those desiring an editorial board position must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average. Any student who falls below the required GPA at any time during his/her academic tenure must meet immediately with the adviser. Any student who is found to be below the required GPA who does not immediately request a meeting with the adviser may be terminated. The adviser may give suspensions and/or probationary periods on a case-by-case basis. The editor-in-chief will be made aware of any student whose grades fall below the acceptable level via the adviser. However, the adviser will not discuss specific grades or grade point averages with the editor-in-chief, as students’ academic records are private documents.”
I hope you can use our grade point policy to guide the creation of a policy of your own. There is a reason they’re called “student journalists.” They’re students first, journalists second… just until they graduate.
Let’s Talk Nerdy!
Does your student media staff have a grade point policy? How was it set? Please share it below.