Editorial policies

Editorial policies are reviewed every term by the incoming editor-in-chief, but the following general policies apply, unless amended by the editor.

Editorial Board

The Orion’s editorial board consists of ten people: the editor-in-chief, managing editor, news editor, opinion editor, sports editor, features editor, chief copy editor, photo editor, video editor and online editor.

The editorial board usually meets after The Orion’s critique on Wednesday evening. Section editors share what their writers plan to produce for the following week, and other editors should make suggestions, point out potential problems and raise any objections they might have.

The editorial board also decides the subject and stance of the editorial for the coming week. If there is disagreement about which stance the newspaper should take, then a vote will be taken, and the opinion editor or a designee will write an editorial supporting the majority view.

Letters to the Editor

Letters and commentaries may be delivered to The Orion, Plumas Hall, Room 001. Deadline is Friday at 5 p.m. Letters are also accepted by e-mail and go directly to the opinion editor at [email protected]

Letters to the editor should be limited to 250 to 350 words, must include writer’s name and phone number (for verification) and are subject to condensation. Submissions must include the writer’s year in school and major. The Orion does not publish anonymous letters, letters that are addressed to a third party or letters that are in poor taste.

Commentaries should be limited to 500 to 700 words and are subject to editing for length and clarity. Submitters should include their full name and phone number with their submissions.

The opinions expressed by The Orion’s columnists do not necessarily reflect those of The Orion or its staff.


An inaccuracy is never knowingly published. If any error is found, The Orion is obligated to correct the error as soon as possible, regardless of the source of the error. A consistent location for the publication of corrections is recommended. It should be clearly and prominently labeled as a correction.

Online content policy

Just as The Orion cannot remove an article that has been printed on newsprint, neither will it remove an article once it has been published on theorion.com. If an article on the website contains an error, The Orion will strive to make the necessary corrections, which should be added to the original story file with the date of the correction appended. Requests to remove entire articles, change names or otherwise alter online content on the Web site should be submitted to the editor-in-chief for review. As a news source that wants its information available to the public, The Orion will also not grant requests to remove articles from search engines.

False Identity, Stolen Documents, Eavesdropping

In the ordinary course of reporting, no staffers shall misrepresent themselves as anything other than representatives of The Orion. In extraordinary circumstances, when the editor-in-chief judges that the information cannot be obtained in any other way and the value of that information to the readers is important, the editor may authorize a misrepresentation. Staffers may not steal or knowingly receive stolen materials. Except in situations judged by an editor as extraordinary, a staffer shall not record an interview or meeting without the interviewee’s permission or the obvious placement of a arecording device (not hidden) at the start of the interview or meeting, in which case the interviewee or newsmakers do not object and are aware of the presence of the recording device. Committing an illegal act to eavesdrop on a source is not allowed. California law on the use of recording devices should be a reporter’s guideline on recording.

Granting and Preserving Confidentiality to Sources

A reporter should not promise confidentiality to a source without the permission of the editor-in-chief. Confidentiality should only be given if there is a real danger that physical, emotional or financial harm will come to the source if his or her name were revealed. The editor should have all the facts and the source’s name before the decision is made. The editor should know of any laws pertaining to confidentiality and disclosure before a decision is made. A reporter should make every attempt to get the same information from another source who agrees to be named since the goal is to attribute all information to a specific source for all stories.

Anonymous Sources

Generally, anonymous sources are not used in stories. Information that comes from an unnamed or unknown source should not be used unless it can be verified through another, known source.

If two independent sources verify the information and both are unnamed, an editor may decide to publish the information with careful consideration of the need for immediacy and the news value of the information. The source may be identified generally as one associated with an agency to give some degree of credibility to the information. (See confidentiality.) The danger exists that the reader may not believe the information if sources are not named; the publication’s credibility may suffer; information obtained later from a named source and verified may disprove the information given by the unnamed or unknown sources.

Ownership of Work

Regardless if a staffer is paid or unpaid, the publication has exclusive rights to use any published or unpublished work (print or online) done by a staffer if the work was done as a staff assignment. All published work is copyrighted by The Orion, thus The Orion has unlimited rights to use the work. Ownership of all work, published or unpublished, is retained by the staffer, but use outside the publication (while on staff) should only be done with the approval of the editor-in-chief. The act of voluntarily joining the staff indicates approval of this policy.

Policy Violation Investigations, Probation and Termination

While employment violations should be judged in context and on a case-by-case basis, there are several policy violations where termination of a student employee should be considered, including plagiarism, copyright violation, conflict of interest, consistent absence from staff meetings without notice, presenting oneself or one’s work in a manner that infringes on The Orion’s credibility, violations of the university’s Student Conduct Code (including sexual and racial harassment), and theft or willful destruction of The Orion or Chico State property.


Free advertisements

Occasionally, Orion managers may deem it appropriate to offer organizations free advertising to support charitable causes, etc. However, free advertising should be granted very rarely. The editor-in-chief, business manager and art director must unanimously approve any decision to run a free ad. Ideally, such ads should come to The Orion already designed so that staff time is reserved for serving paying customers. If appropriate, any such ad should recognize The Orion as a sponsor of an event.

Advertising acceptability

Alcohol – The Orion does not limit advertisements that offer or show alcohol as long as the advertisement is not targeting minors and is not obscene, as defined by the editor-in-chief.