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UPPS 02.04.01 - Student Media Policies and Procedures

Student Media Policies and Procedures

UPPS No. 02.04.01
Issue No. 5
Effective Date: 10/14/2013
Next Review Date: 4/01/2017 (E4Y)
Sr. Reviewer: Director, School of Journalism and Mass Communication


    1. We are committed to maintaining an extremely high standard of education in service to the public and private sectors, including those communication industries that provide employment opportunities for our students. This UPPS assures that participation in student media facilitates the development of appropriate skills through established and supervised laboratory procedures and assists campus organizations, staff, and faculty in working effectively with student media.

    2. We are committed to cultivating relationships with external constituencies including alumni, private-sector entities and organizations, institutions of higher learning and government - through advisory boards, conferences, individual and institutional memberships, public lectures and dissemination of information about the institution.

    3. This UPPS establishes separate advisory committees for The University Star and KTSW-FM in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication to provide guidance in the overall operation of student media outlets and to assist in the selection of student executives of those respective outlets.

    4. These procedures, which also extend to any online services provided by these student media outlets, are designed to assure that Texas State’s student media maintain the highest possible standards of quality, service, ethics, and legality in accordance with recognized professional guidelines, while simultaneously fulfilling their obligations as educational vehicles for Mass Communication students and as informational vehicles for the university community.

    5. The UPPS also assures student staff members and advisers will enjoy the freedoms of press and speech without prior restraint as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and the Courts. Student media will provide a channel for various publics to provide feedback.


    1. The School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s student media outlets include The University Star and KTSW-FM radio, along with their respective services. The University Star is a designated public forum and its student staff members decide and are responsible for news, advertising, and editorial content. KTSW-FM radio is a designated limited public forum since the university reserves the right to establish and enforce policies regarding the station’s music programming, news, advertising, and editorial content. The station’s managers and directors have authority, but the station’s general manager and faculty advisor may enforce university and station policy as they pertain to the station’s operation.

    2. Texas State University is the publisher of student print and electronic medium. The publisher provides financial support to student editors who retain control of content. The Board of Regents, Texas State University System, is the licensee for KTSW-FM.

    3. The publisher’s representative for print medium is the director of Student Publications; the chief administrative officer of KTSW-FM is the general manager. These positions are the official advising positions for student media.

    4. Underwriting refers to contributions made to broadcast stations in exchange for broadcast announcements or promotional activities.


    1. The University Star and KTSW-FM will have separate student media advisory committees. These advisory committees will include:

      1. The appropriate student media sequence coordinator along with another school faculty member appointed by the director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication;

      2. The dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication or his or her representative;

      3. KTSW-FM general manager or the director of Student Publications as appropriate for each advisory committee;

      4. One undergraduate student, appointed by the vice president for Student Affairs; and

      5. Up to five professional media members in the appropriate media field.

    2. The Student Media Advisory Committee will have the following authority and responsibilities:

      1. Review and make recommendations regarding the operations of student media outlets.

      2. Maintain an active interest and assist in making and implementing decisions in matters of educational programs and personnel evaluation.

      3. Meet at least one time annually and at such other times as deemed necessary by the director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

      4. Meet and provide feedback with the chief student representative of student media.

      5. Review and recommend policies pertaining to news, advertising, underwriting, production, recruitment and training, and other routine operations based on annual reports presented by the student staff members, general manager and the director of Student Publications.

      6. Review and recommend resolution of complaints that the chief student executives and faculty advisers have not resolved. Complaints will follow the university’s normal appeal process. The nature of any complaint will determine the appropriate appeal process.

      7. Make recommendations to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication faculty on matters pertaining to academic credit for student media work and the integration of academic curriculum into student media.

      8. Make recommendations to faculty advisers and the school pertaining to policies regarding recruitment and training.

      9. Assist, where and when appropriate, in planning to keep student media and publication’s equipment up-to-date and secure.


    1. University Star Editor-in-Chief Selection:

      All currently enrolled Texas State University students are eligible to apply for editor-in-chief of The University Star (the student must be enrolled during his or her term of office). The term runs from the beginning of the first summer session to end of classes in the spring semester. A committee consisting of the director and assistant director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication along with the journalism sequence coordinator, and at least one media professional familiar with journalism, will select the editor-in-chief from an applicant pool prior the end of each spring semester. The director of Student Publications, who serves as the faculty adviser to the publication, along with the current editor-in-chief will have ex-officio roles during the interview process. Among the qualifications for editor-in-chief are experience working in a student newspaper environment or professional newsroom for at least one fall or spring semester, strong writing and oral communication skills, ability to work in a diverse environment, thorough knowledge of Associated Press style, and strong interpersonal and organizational skills to lead a student staff to meet daily deadlines.

    2. KTSW Station Manager Selection:

      All currently enrolled Texas State University students are eligible to apply for the position of station manager of KTSW (the student must be enrolled during his or her term of office). A committee consisting of the director, an assistant director and head of the electronic media sequence of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and at least one media professional familiar with radio will select the station manager from the applicant pool prior to the end of the spring semester. The KTSW general manager, who serves as the faculty adviser to KTSW, and the current station manager will serve in an ex-officio capacity during the interview process. Qualifications for consideration include grade point average, prior experience at KTSW or other broadcast operation, strong interpersonal communication, and leadership and organizational skills to lead a student staff.


    1. Participation in the student media is open to any qualified student at Texas State. Staff members may include students who are paid part-time employees, students who are enrolled in courses requiring participation in the media outlets, and student volunteers.

    2. The duly appointed student chief executives of student media outlets are responsible for directing their staffs toward the goal of excellence under the guidance of industry ethical standards.

    3. These student executives assume the primary staff leadership role in student media efforts to enlighten, educate, inform, and entertain their audiences - students, faculty, staff, and administration of Texas State along with readers and listeners in the application of various circulation and Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) license standards, according to student media operations.


    1. All student media advisers are faculty members in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and all report through the normal administrative lines of accountability of the school, college, and university.

    2. The school Personnel Committee and director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication are responsible for the appointment, supervision, and evaluation of faculty advisers according to policies and procedures established by the school, college, and university.


    1. In their operations, Student Publications will strive to ensure that:

      1. Basic principles of integrity, responsibility, fairness, and accuracy are met, as well as the principles in the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi, College Media Advisers and the Associated Collegiate Press.

      2. All audiences are informed, educated, enlightened, and entertained by journalistic methods consistent with professional practices.

      3. News coverage is as fair and comprehensive as possible.

      4. Students involved in the publications are given the opportunity to develop skills of communication and to express opinions through the various laboratory functions.

      5. The ideals of academic excellence are kept in mind and excellence in writing and reporting is stressed.

      6. Students are taught to recognize and avoid publishing material that is obscene, defamatory or libelous.


    1. In their operations, KTSW-FM will strive to ensure that KTSW-FM:

      1. Serves as an academic laboratory for students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, providing an outlet for the development and dissemination of programming consistent with accepted professional practices and promotional and underwriting activities used to support radio station operations.

      2. Operates in the public interest, convenience and necessity, meeting the needs of the determined target audience and the community of license. Because the licensee is held responsible for programming on the radio station, Texas State may take such steps as it deems necessary to reserve KTSW-FM for its intended purpose. Such steps will include:

        1. Conducting a meeting with the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, the dean of the College Of Fine Arts and Communication, the director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication electronic media sequence coordinator, and the KTSW-FM general manager to discuss the issue at hand.

        2. Receiving feedback from administrative personnel to aid in developing a strategy to resolve the issue at hand.

        3. The KTSW-FM general manager is responsible for implementing the strategy arrived at by stated parties to resolve the issue at hand.

        4. The KTSW-FM general manager is responsible for implementing action in accordance with FCC rules and regulations.

      3. All student administrators and staff of KTSW-FM accept their responsibilities as citizens and members of the university community, to exercise with diligence the trust placed in them and to respect the rights of others. Mutual acceptance and commitment to these obligations will provide an environment conducive to learning, creativity, and development of community support.

    2. All students, administrators and staff will adhere to FCC guidelines as well as local, state and federal laws.

    3. Obscene content is determined when the content meets all three of the following guidelines:

      1. An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,

      2. The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable State law; and,

      3. The material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

    4. KTSW-FM will not broadcast material that the FCC defines as indecent. The FCC defines broadcast indecency as “language that depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory activities or organs.” In addition, Texas State may prohibit programming that solicits or promotes unlawful conduct.

    5. Each July, the KTSW-FM general manager will forward to the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs and the TSUS Office of General Counsel the name of the communications law firm in Texas assisting with filings and advice on regulatory matters. This notification will include the hourly rates for the counsel and an estimator of charges for the next fiscal year. The general manager will notify the TSUS Office of General Counsel and the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs prior to any change to another communications law firm.

    6. FCC regulations require the filing of periodic reports about membership to the Board of Regents, licensee of KTSW-FM. To expedite this process, University News Services will provide to the KTSW-FM general manager:

      1. Any changes in the membership of the Board

      2. The Board title of each board member

      3. The names and addresses of new members

      4. The occupation of new members

      5. Any ownership interest of one percent or more in any other broadcast station held by a board member

    7. The general manager will maintain KTSW-FM daily operating procedures in the KTSW-FM Student Operations Manual, in accordance with policies and procedures outlined in this UPPS. Each KTSW-FM student staff member will receive this manual either in printed or electronic form.


    1. In performing their duties, student staff members of media outlets are expected to follow local, state and federal laws as well as rules of the school, college, and university. A student who fails to follow applicable laws or rules is subject to disciplinary action. Disciplinary action from the director of Student Publications or the KTSW-FM general manager includes warning, suspension, and permanent suspension from the student media outlet.

    2. Student media staff members, who feel wrongly disciplined, may appeal that action by written notice to the director of Student Publications or the KTSW-FM general manager within seven days of the action taken. Each media outlet has established internal policies for hearing these appeals. Claimants may appeal those decisions by following the university’s appeal process (see UPPS No. 07.10.06, Procedures for Students Seeking Resolution or Reporting University- Related Complaints).


    1. To provide students experience in broadcast sales and to provide supplemental funding, KTSW-FM may seek underwriting donations for program support and promotion from local businesses or other potential donors.

    2. Student underwriting representatives of KTSW-FM may accept only checks from station underwriters. Checks will be receipted in the Office of Student Business Services, first floor, J.C. Kellam Building, the same day or not later than the close of business on the next working day (see UPPS No. 03.01.05, University Income Recognition and Associated Cash-Handling Procedures). Student underwriting representatives may sign underwriting agreements on behalf of electronic media outlets.

    3. Student underwriting representatives of KTSW-FM may receive compensation based on a commission, according to broadcast industry standard practices. Alternatively, representatives may receive hourly compensation or compensation based on a combination of the two systems.

    4. KTSW-FM will maintain an Underwriting Agreement Form for use in scheduling underwriting acknowledgment spots and promotional events. The form will include the name, address and telephone number of the underwriter, the price of the underwriting or promotion and directions for scheduling the underwriting or promotion.

    5. KTSW-FM will maintain a record of underwriting donations including the name, address and telephone number of the underwriter and the amount of the underwriting donation. The outlets will also maintain a record of the underwriting announcements aired to acknowledge the underwriting donation.

    6. When student underwriting representatives are paid by commission, they will report the commissions to the KTSW-FM general manager on a Sales Commission Worksheet. The Sales Commission Worksheet will show the commission rate. The representative will submit the amount of commission due to the university Payroll and Tax Compliance Office, by the same due date as that for student hourly employees, on a standard commission form and include the name and student ID number of the student recipient, total sales, and the amount of commission paid.


    1. Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:

      Position Date
      Director, School of Journalism and Mass Communication April 1 E4Y
      Director, Student Publications April 1 E4Y
      KTSW-FM General Manager April 1 E4Y

    This UPPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

    Director, School of Journalism and Mass Communication; senior reviewer of this UPPS

    Dean, College of Fine Arts and Communication

    Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs