Go back

The All State Office and Social Media Policies


Student Publications Office Policy

All student journalists will dress in a professional manner while they are working in the department. This also includes covering stories for online and print. While covering things for The All State, students must wear staff T-shirt and have a press pass visible. If a T-shirt has not been issued, staffers must dress as if they are interviewing for a future job. If a press pass has not been issued, the adviser can produce verification of staff membership.

All conversations in the office will be professional in nature. There is to be no profanity, open discussion of sex, etc. This is a campus department, and we never know who will walk through the door. Discussions of this nature will not be tolerated period. And disciplinary action can occur if issues continue to occur.

You are not only part of The All State, but part of this department. Actions you make can have negative effects for The All State, the department of Student Publications, your adviser, and the Division of Student Affairs.

The department is open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Swipe access will be granted to editors and photographers. If you do not have access, you can only be in the office while a passholder is present. Do not leave the office by yourself at night. Leave with another staffer or call campus police for an escort to your vehicle.

I agree to the policy above.

The All State Freelance and Confidentiality Policy

*Incorporated and adapted from The Macon State Student Newspaper Handbook 2013.

As an educational institution, The All State encourages staff members to express themselves and to work to further their journalistic goals. This can include publication in national magazines, interviews in local or national news sources or other publications.

Internships at professional news organizations not considered competitors are acceptable and are encouraged. A staff member’s primary responsibility and obligation is with The All State; however, opportunities for staffers to work freelance or part time for other media (and make better money) do arise. Full-time work, however, is not permitted with a professional media outlet.

Approval to work for an off-campus medium and/or any freelance work off- or on-campus (External Affairs), must be sought from the adviser and Editor-in-Chief in advance of the commitment. It is permissible only in non-competitive media, on a staffer’s own time and should not conflict with the staffer’s obligations to The All State.

Students who work or intern at other on- or off-campus news organizations must distinguish between whom they are working for on each individual story. They cannot cover one event or issue for more than one organization. Student, however, may not work for APSU Public Relations & Marketing as it places you many ethical dilemmas.

Stories that The All State are currently working on, plan to cover, in discussion (including online messages with other staffers), are not to be shared with any other news organization. Remember, The All State gets first priority with all stories we may cover.

I agree to the policy above.

Ownership of Work Policy

*Incorporated and adapted from The Sentinel Staff Manual 2013.

Regardless if a staffer is paid or is a volunteer, The All State owns the published and unpublished work done by the staffers if the work was done as a staff assignment. All published work is copyrighted by The All State. Ownership of unpublished work may revert to the staffer upon petition to and approval of the editor in chief. The All State has unlimited use of the work. The act of voluntarily joining a publication staff indicates approval of this policy. Requests for multiple copies of published or unpublished staff-created photographs must be approved by the editor in chief with the advise of the photo editor and adviser. In all cases, copyright of reproduced published or unpublished photographs remains with The All State. Only the editor in chief is authorized to sell or otherwise transfer copyrighted material.

I agree to the policy above.

The All State Social Media Policy

*Incorporated and adapted from the Associated Press Social Media Guidelines for AP Employees 2012 revision.


All student journalists are encouraged to have accounts on social networks. They have become an essential tool for reporters to gather news and share links to published work. We recommend having one account per network that you use both personally and professionally. Staff members must identify themselves as being from The All State if they are using their accounts for work in any way. You don’t have to include The All State in your usernames, and you should use a personal image (not The All State logo) for the profile photo. But you should identify yourself in your profile as an All State staffer. Posting The All State proprietary or confidential material is prohibited. Employees may not include political affiliations in their profiles and should not make any postings that express political views.


The All State staffers must be aware that opinions they express may damage its reputation as an unbiased source of news. Student staffers must refrain from declaring their views on contentious public issues in any public forum and must not take part in organized action in support of causes or movements.

Sometimes The All State staffers ask if they’re free to comment in social media on matters like sports and entertainment. The answer is yes, but there are some important things to keep in mind:

First, trash-talking about anyone (including a team, company or celebrity) reflects badly on staffers and The All State. Assume your tweet will be seen by the target of your comment. The person or organization you’re deriding may be one a student staffer is trying to develop as a source.

Second, if you or your section covers a subject – or you supervise people who do – you have a special obligation to be even-handed in your tweets. Whenever possible, link to The All State copy, where we have the space to represent all points of view. Posts and tweets aimed at gathering opinions for a story must make clear that we are looking for voices on all sides of an issue.


Employees should be mindful that any opinions or personal information they disclose about themselves or colleagues may be linked to The All State’s name. That's true even if staffers restrict their pages to viewing only by friends.

We recommend customizing your privacy settings on Facebook to determine what you share and with whom. However, as multitudes of people have learned all too well, virtually nothing is truly private on the Internet. It's all too easy for someone to copy material out of restricted pages and redirect it elsewhere for wider viewing.


Retweets, like tweets, should not be written in a way that looks like you’re expressing a personal opinion on the issues of the day. A retweet with no comment of your own can easily be seen as a sign of approval of what you’re relaying.

Examples of retweets that can cause problems:

1. RT @jonescampaign: smith’s policies would destroy our schools

2. RT @dailyeuropean: at last, a euro plan that works

These kinds of unadorned retweets must be avoided.

However, we can judiciously retweet opinionated material if we make clear we’re simply reporting it, much as we would quote it in a story. Introductory words, colons and quote marks help make the distinction:


1. Jones campaign now denouncing Smith on education. RT @jonescampaign: smith’s policies would destroy our schools

2. Big European paper praises euro plan. RT @dailyeuropean: at last, a euro plan that works

These cautions apply even if you say on your Twitter profile that retweets do not constitute endorsements. Many people who see your tweets and retweets will never look at your Twitter bio.


It is acceptable to extend and accept Facebook friend requests from sources, politicians and newsmakers if necessary for reporting purposes, and to follow them on Twitter.

However, friending and “liking” political candidates or causes may create a perception among people unfamiliar with the protocol of social networks that The All State staffers are advocates. Therefore, staffers should try to make this kind of contact with figures on both sides of controversial issues.

We should avoid interacting with newsmakers on their public pages – for instance, commenting on their posts.


The All State staff are encouraged to link to The All State content in all formats. They can also link to content from other media organizations, except if the material spreads rumors or is otherwise inappropriate. Be mindful of competitive and corporate issues as you post links; we compete vigorously with other news organizations, but you should think twice before you tweet or post anything that disparages them, as this may affect perceptions of your objectivity.

Staffers should link to content that has been published online, rather than directly uploading or copying and pasting the material.

Here are some guidelines on live-tweeting:

− News events (press conferences, sports events, etc.) that are being broadcast live: The All State staffers are welcome to live-tweet these events. However, when major news breaks, a staffer’s first obligation is to provide full details in story form and alert editors of the news. After providing this information and handling any other immediate work, the staffer is then free to tweet or post information about the news development.

− Exclusive material: The All State must have the opportunity to publish exclusive text, photo and video material before it appears on social networks. Once that material has been published, staffers are welcome to tweet and post a link to it on The All State or other platforms.

− Incremental reporting threads: The All State staffers should never share on social networks incremental information that, if closely held, could lead to important, exclusive content.

− Other content: Other material you have gathered may be shared on social networks. This includes material we commonly refer to as “cutting room floor” content — material that is not needed for a specific product. 


It can be difficult to verify the identity of sources found on social networks. Sources discovered there should be vetted in the same way as those found by any other means. If a source you encounter on a social network claims to be an official from a company, organization or government agency, call the place of business to confirm the identity, just as you would if a source called on the phone.

You must never simply lift quotes, photos or video from social networking sites and attribute them to the name on the profile or feed where you found the material. Most social media sites offer a way to send a message to a user; use this to establish direct contact, over email or by phone, so you can get more detailed information about the source.

Use particular caution if you find a social networking page or feed that appears to belong to a person who is central to a story, especially if you can’t get confirmation from that person. Fake accounts are rampant in the social media world and can appear online within minutes of a new name appearing in the news. Examine the details to determine whether the page could have just as easily been created by somebody else.

Many athletes, celebrities and politicians have verified Twitter accounts, identified by a white-on-blue check mark on the profile page, which means Twitter has determined that the account really does belong to that person. However, Twitter’s verification process has been fooled, meaning we should still do our own checking with the newsmaker.

Also, before you quote from newsmaker’s tweets or posts, confirm who is managing the account. Is it the famous person? His or her handlers? A combination? Knowing the source of the information will help you determine just how newsworthy the tweet or post is and how to characterize it. 

To include photos, videos or other multimedia content from social networks in our news report, we must determine who controls the copyright to the material and get permission from that person or organization to use it. Any exceptions must be discussed with the editor in chief and adviser. 


The All State is strongly in favor of engaging with those who consume our content. Most feedback we receive is constructive, and any substantive criticism of our content should be taken seriously, however it may be phrased.

A thoughtful note from a reader or viewer that leads to a correction by us deserves an email or tweet of thanks (try to avoid repeating the original error). If someone offers a businesslike criticism of a story or image but has their facts wrong, it’s good to reply, time permitting, to clarify the facts.

However, it’s best to avoid protracted back-and-forth exchanges with angry people that become less constructive with each new round. Abusive, bigoted, obscene and/or racist comments should be flagged immediately for review by the editor in chief.


  1. Any response we make to a reader or viewer could go public. Email and direct Facebook and Twitter messages may feel like private communications, but may easily find their way to blogs and political pressure groups, attorneys and others. In the case of a story or image that stirs significant controversy, the editor in chief is likely the best person to reply, rather than the person who created the content.
  2. II. Any incoming message that raises the possibility of legal action should be reviewed by the Student Press Law Center before a response is made.


Staff are welcome to retweet and share material posted by The All State accounts on social networking sites. We ask that The All State staff refrain from liking or commenting on official posts and chats. These accounts are official, public-facing channels of communication, and we want to reserve the comments and the interactions for the public, not for journalists to talk among themselves in a publicfacing spot. It can be off-putting for an average Facebook user to click on a post and see conversations between colleagues or virtual insider pats on the back.


Twitter allows us to delete tweets we’ve sent. Deletion, however, removes the tweet only from Twitter and perhaps some other Twitter clients. Tweets of ours that have been retweeted or reposted elsewhere will still remain publicly visible. If you believe a tweet should be deleted, contact the editor in chief to discuss the situation.


Erroneous tweets or other social media posts need to be corrected as quickly and transparently as errors in any medium. This applies to The All State-related tweets or posts on personal accounts as well.

The thing to do is to tweet or post that we made a mistake and explain exactly what was wrong. 

I agree to the policy above.