Law + Ethics
In class our adviser drills the values of law and ethics daily. She constantly reminds the Legend staff of proper photos usage, citation and interviewing properly. Boone Publications is associated with Florida Scholastic, Columbia Scholastic and National Scholastic Press Associations and Quill and Scroll. To hold our national award-winning standard within these entities it is important for us to stay ethical and within the law. As a whole Legend yearbook and BoonePubs.com pay for a subscription service to Tribune News Service (formerly MCT Campus) to stay within copyright laws when needing a photo for coverage of national and world events.
As a Legend staff we focus a lot on keeping our photos ethical and of journalistic standard. We aren't a fashion magazine or a Google images photo book. When Legend staffers and editors place and edit photos for pages a value of adjustments are made. Levels, sharpening and a color mode are typical changes. Our adviser and editors enforce this significantly because if photos are altered too much they fall into the category of "photo illustration" and aren't ethical.
In the upcoming Legend 2017 editors decided on a 40 percent tinted background on spreads to go along with our theme (see left). Our main goal wasn't to decorate the page, but use them for emphasis on quoted text within the page.
When we first started constructing them I was concerned about just pulling images off Google. However, as long as we practiced proper use of the Fair Use Doctrine, which says you're allowed to use a photo for limited and reasonable uses as long as the use does not interfere with owners’ rights or impede their right to do with the work as they wish, then we'd be okay. Our adviser and editors made sure we were within these parameters.
Photography is a huge part of a spread. This photo to the right represents proper use of an ethical photo illustration. Olivia Page, Student Life editor, and I went to take photos of a transgender student who converted from a girl to a guy, but still dances with girls. I took two photos: one in a traditional female costume and the other in a traditional male costume. Then, using Photoshop, I blended the two together. This photo is an "illustration" but for an intended purpose. I brought the writer's story into the photograph to visually express the verbal, while keeping proper ethics in mind.
Writing and Interview Policies
Legend staffers and editors conduct interviews on a daily basis. From interviewing to writing we all must practice ethical interviewing, proper writing and non-libel reporting. Our staff handbook outlines how to handle libel claims.
- Receive all threats and demands politely and without comment. If someone gets insistent, say the matter is out of your hands
- Gather all facts and contact your adviser immediately
- Do not admit fault or error on your or anyone else's part
- Do not defend what has been done. There is a human tendency to be apologetic or defensive when someone is angry, but this may worsen the situation
- Do not release interviews, pictures or audio tapes to anyone
- Do not discuss what you did with anyone your adviser or legal counsel
- Do not wait until you have made a mistake. Do not be shy to ask questions