Thank you for reading The AS Review! We are writing you this letter as part of our effort this year to increase our transparency, accountability and openness with all of you. The Review plays an interesting role in the Associated Students, and functions quite differently than other student-produced publications at Western. Perhaps it is easiest to begin by plainly stating what we are.
We are the official newspaper of the Associated Students of Western Washington University, produced by a staff of seven students, with guidance from a staff adviser. The funding for our annual operating budget comes out of the student fees that all of you pay each quarter along with your tuition. Our primary audience is Western students. We have a dual role as a publication: we cover news and issues that we feel are interesting to our readers, and we also publicize AS events, clubs and organizations. We have a direct connection with the AS Board of Directors. Members of the board work closely with the editors of the Review to guide the direction of the paper, hire new staff and set funding levels. We do report objectively on official actions by the board, but in the interest of transparency, our relationship should be made clear. We support and promote all events, clubs and organizations that are involved with the AS.
As journalists, we are committed to reporting the truth and holding ourselves to the ethical standards set by the Society of Professional Journalists. The SPJ Code of Ethics tells reporters to seek truth and report it, minimize potential harm to those involved in our stories, act independently (and to fully disclose unavoidable conflicts of interest, such as our connection to the board) and to be accountable. If a mistake is made in an article, we will issue a correction or clarification as soon as possible. If necessary, we will release a follow-up article to provide better context. Also, we will always apologize for mistakes and show humility.
Another major reason for our existence is to act as a forum for students to voice their opinions in their own words. This can be done through guest columns, artwork and letters to the editor. We are open to all opinions, even those that run against our own. The only submissions we will not accept are those that are lewd, vulgar, offensive or personally attack an individual or organization. The final decision on what ends up between these pages is up to the editors.
In order to help us keep these promises, the staff of the Review has taken the Tao of Journalism pledge, a voluntary commitment to abide by the principles of transparency, accountability and openness. You will see the pledge seal printed in this paper from now on. The pledge was started by the Washington News Council, an independent, non-profit organization that promotes fair, accurate and balanced news reporting in Washington state.
We are proud to be able to print the Tao of Journalism seal in our publication. Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions, or would like to make submissions, our office is located in the AS Publicity Center in Viking Union 411. We can also be reached by phone at (360)650-6126, or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The AS Review staff
For more information on the Tao of Journalism, see www.taoofjournalism.org or www.wanewscouncil.org.