Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

2021-2022 Editorial Policy

Mission statement

The Central Times is a student-produced publication which strives to use high-quality multimedia to provide Naperville Central High School students, parents and faculty alike with community information, entertainment and an open forum for student expression, all while continuing to practice a tradition of journalistic excellence.

Ethical Obligations 

The Central Times adheres to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, and endeavors to publish factual information for the public benefit. All Central Times staff members are expected to distinguish fact from opinion in their reporting and offer fair opportunities for all relevant sides of an issue to be explored. 

Legal Obligations

The Central Times observes the Illinois Speech Rights of Student Journalists Act of 2016, which gives student journalists free speech rights and editorial control over content. Student journalists at Naperville Central are educated to understand that they, not school officials, bear the burden of responsibility for their content choices. Furthermore, Central Times journalists acknowledge the limits to their free speech rights, which do not protect them from libelous, slanderous or obscene content, invasions of privacy, expression that violates federal or state law or content that incites students to commit an unlawful act or “materially and substantially disrupt the orderly operation of the school.”

The Central Times also observes the Naperville Community Unit School District 203 Board of Education policy 7:320 School Publications, which reaffirms legal and ethical expectations for student journalists and  school administrators.

Treatment and rights of sources

For this section, a “source” refers to any person representing themselves or a group of people who provides information relevant to a report.

Central Times reporters may not use other Central Times staff members as quoted sources in published content. 

Central Times reporters are also under no obligation to provide questions to sources prior to an interview.

All sources reserve the right to to speak with Central Times staff members off the record, meaning their identity and quotes will not be published. If a source wishes to remain anonymous, meaning their quotes will be published but their identity is not, the staff reporter must first communicate with an editor or adviser about the source’s request for anonymity. 

The Central Times reserves the right to publish the identity and quotes of any sources who agree to speak to staff reporters on the record, as well as the right to protect the identity of all anonymous sources.  Furthermore, the Central Times strives to verify, contextualize and/or correct any outdated, misleading or inaccurate information provided by a source. 

Editorial Style

The Central Times is edited according to the Associated Press style guide.

Corrections Policy

Upon noticing any inaccurate information, the editorial board will publish corrections as soon as possible regarding the inaccurate claims. Readers reserve the right to call attention to printed errors and are encouraged to highlight errors via digital communication.

All updates and corrections for factual information made to articles will be clearly labeled, and the original text of the article will remain as to provide transparency. While reporting on breaking news and/or live events, the Central Times will strive to provide the most accurate information, but may update content to reflect real time changes. 

Usage of language 

The Central Times does not publish language in print or online, including in comments, social media or video, that are obscene as determined by the Miller Test, which ascertains that the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law; or the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. 

Additionally, the Central Times reserves the right to not publish or to modify content that contains swear words or language deemed by an average person to be profane. Modification may include replacing all but the first letter of the word with hyphens (-) or replacing the word so as not to disrupt the original intent. 

Staff editorials and individual commentary

For all controversial topics, the Central Times will strive to objectively cover the facts related to a particular issue and may express any staff opinion appropriate to the situation in a staff editorial, which represents the opinion of the entirety or majority of the staff.  

The staff develops the editorial through open discussion. One or two writers, most often the Editor-in-Chief and/or Editorial section editor, draft the editorial from discussion notes. 

Columns and opinion or commentary writing represent only the opinion of the author, not of the Central Times. The Central Times does not withhold publication of opinions or commentary writing unless they violate legal statute or journalistic ethics. 

The Central Times will label all opinions, columns, reviews, editorials and other commentary clearly. 

Community Contributions

The Central Times accepts writing, photos, artwork or other media from all Central students. Any person who submits content for publication in Central Times consents to let editors edit their content for journalistic integrity and style, and for their work to be published in Central Times print issues, on the Central Times website and/or on Central Times social media pages. 

Any person who writes and researches a substantial part of a story will be included in the byline of that story. If an editor must rewrite or do large amounts of research to complete a story, he/she will be included in the byline and the original writer’s name will appear at the end of the story as a contribution. The Central Times reserves the right to not publish stories, photos or artwork submitted.

Letters to the editor

The Central Times accepts letters to the editor from all readers. Each letter to the editor must include a signature and phone number or email address when submitted. Letters submitted electronically via our website must include a valid name and email address. Letters can also be emailed to [email protected] Writers may request anonymity but must attend a conference with the adviser, Keith Carlson, and the current Editor-in-Chief. If it is deemed necessary to keep an author’s name out of print, the name will not be released in any form. The Editor-in-Chief reserves the right to edit letters for concise language, grammar and length. The Editor-in-Chief may decide which letters to publish in our monthly print edition based on space available and scope of readership affected.

Advertisement policy

Those interested in advertising and donating can contact a student business manager, managing editor, Editor-in-Chief or faculty adviser. Ad prices vary depending on the size of the ad space. All advertisers must sign a contract. The Central Times will not publish advertisements illegal to minors.

Social Media Policy

The Central Times manages public social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, which feature original posts as well as summaries of content in print or online. Central Times social media accounts will only follow past staff members, faculty advisers, public figures, educational institutions or other publications. All content posted on Central Times social media follows the same legal, ethical and style standards of all other content. 

Comment policy

All response comments posted by readers will be displayed so long as those comments can be traced to a real user, meaning a real full name and email address are provided, and the comment is relevant to the topic discussed. The moderator strives to preserve the voice of the comment author, but Central Times reserves the right to not post comments that include explicit threats to other readers, the writer or a story source; constitute obscenity or libel; or incite students or the public to break the law. Comments that act as solicitations of any kind will not be posted. All comments are approved by a moderator before being made public.

Obituary Policy

If a student or staff member dies during the school year, the Central Times will publish an obituary and may cover news associated with the death if deemed appropriate by the staff.

Role of the adviser

Faculty advisors are school staff members who support, educate and offer guidance to the staff on reporting, style and journalistic ethics. Faculty advisors do not have the right to make official editorial decisions for the publication, including what content is or isn’t published and what positions staff members assume in the Central Times. 

Website takedown policy

News published on www.centraltimes.org serves as historical documentation and should be preserved to the greatest possible extent. The Central Times will only take content down from the website if it constitutes a severe violation of journalistic ethics or legal precedent that cannot be ameliorated with corrections or a note from the editor. The Central Times reserves the right to grant or deny any request from an individual to take down content based upon the circumstances withstanding.

Editorial policy revision process

All revisions of the editorial policy must be made with the unanimous consent of the editorial board. It is mandatory for the editorial board to review and update this editorial policy within the first month of each school year.  

Additional information

All students interested in working with the Central Times may attend Friday afternoon Zoom meetings from 3:30 to 4:30, or contact a faculty advisor or editorial board member. 

The Central Times is a member of the Illinois State High School Press Association, Northern Illinois High School Press Association (NISPA), Quill and Scroll, National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA), Kettle-Moraine Press Association (KEMPA) and Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA). 

For additional details and policies specific to this newspaper’s use of social media, video and online publications, please consult Central Times online or email us at [email protected].