The benefits of student media
LUU believes that effectively run Media Groups provide a vital means of reflecting the student voice. Media Groups also provide challenging and rewarding opportunities for our members, enhancing the student experience and providing an opportunity for skills development.
The purpose of media groups can be summarised as follows:
- To produce student publications/programming that is originated by students for students.
- To act as a forum for student debate, reflecting as accurately as possible campus life and the views of LUU members.
- To act as a platform for members to gain skills and experience in the organisation and distribution of media publications and outlets.
- To produce, as accurately as possible, content which informs and entertains its audiences with truth and fairness at its forefront.
An up to date list of the responsible individuals from each Media Group will be published annually on the LUU website.
Code of conduct and ethical standards
Student media groups are subject to the scrutiny of the law but will also adhere to their relevant professional code of conduct:
- Press Complaints Commission
- National Union of Journalists
- Copyright Law, Privacy Law
In line with the above the following principles are highlighted for the purposes of clarity:
Media Groups will not comment or report on the personal lives of any students, including elected representatives unless it is in the public interest to do so in which case the public interest reason will be formally recorded by the Media Group and logged with the Development Co-ordinator.
Media Groups will not comment or report on LUU members of staff, unless it is in the public interest to do so in which case the public interest reason will be formally recorded by the Media Group and logged with the Development Co-ordinator or Student Activities Manager
Media Groups will adhere to LUU policy and the Freedom of Expression Protocol. Groups can however comment or report on ideas and policy and can hold elected representatives to account. Where Media Groups criticise an elected representative they will offer that elected representative the right to reply in the same output. Comment should be requested, where possible, at least three working days in advance of the publishing/broadcasting date. If all reasonable effort has been made (email, telephone and by appointment) and still no comment is provided then the media group may proceed as usual.
Individual members of Media Groups shall not hold themselves out to speak on behalf of their group by reference to their position title or otherwise without the express written permission of the responsible person. A detailed list of all Media group representatives should be provided to the Media Development Coordinator each year before output begins.
• When researching potential articles/news stories Media Groups will be sensitive to making use of information gained via Social Media.
• In addition, as members of the wider University community, Media Groups will take account of the University’s values of Community, Integrity, Inclusiveness and Professionalism and to work within the spririt of the Partnership Agreement.
• These principles must be taken into account for any communication that comes from the media groups, whether through print, broadcast, Twitter, Facebook, websites or any other form of digital and social media.
When considering all of the above it is the responsibility of the Media Development Coordinator to ensure that all codes of conduct and ethical standards are briefed and updated with the Media groups and that any relevant training is provided. However, all editors, stations managers and presidents are accountable for the media output from the relevant societies.
Responsibility for media content and output
LUU is ultimately responsible for the content and output of its Media Groups.
Three of our Media Groups, Leeds Student, LSR and LSTV are responsible for the vast majority of media output and therefore represent the greater relative risk to LUU. It is the responsibility of the Media Development Coordinator to ensure all professional codes and the LUU Media Policy are briefed and understood by the Leeds Student Editor and LSR and LSTV Station Managers. These named representatives are then accountable for all relevant media output and should ensure compliance.
Complaints about content and/or output will be dealt with under the process outlined below. However any subsequent discipline against the LSR Station Manager, as a result of such a complaint, would be dealt with under LUU staffing procedures, and not under the Student Disciplinary Procedure. The Leeds Student Editor, as an elected representative, shall be held accountable to the student body as detailed in LUU bye laws.
For all other media groups, responsibility to adhere to relevant professional codes will still lie with the Editor or President (as detailed in the list of responsible individuals that will be published on the LUU Website). They will also be supported by the Development Co-ordinator for Media Groups. However any failure to act appropriately will, for these groups, be dealt with solely under the LUU Student Disciplinary Procedures.
The Development Co-ordinator for Media Groups will review the job descriptions and roles of the leaders of all Media Groups on an annual basis. The responsibilities of student media journalists will also be reviewed annually. These reviews will take place in the third term and a report will go to the Activities Executive for question and review.
The terms of this policy are without prejudice to LUU’s right to discipline any individual member, in accordance with the provisions of bye-law #16 “Disciplinary procedures”.
Certain topics present a particular risk for Media Groups to cover in their output. Media Groups will consult the Media Development Coordinator and LUU’s nominated Legal Expert before releasing output on these topics. A list of these topics will be reviewed each year by the Activities Officer, Leeds Student Editor, the Leeds Student Radio and Leeds Student TV Station Manager, Media Development Co-ordinator and Legal Expert and then agreed by the LUU Media Assembly. Media Groups must consult the Media Development Coordinator who will advise on consultation with the Legal Expert when creating output on these topics. Current list is in Appendix One and will be agreed and updated annually.
In the case of printed media this consultation means seeking advice from the Legal Expert in advance and, where the Legal Expert advises, ensuring the final copy is approved by the Legal Expert prior to publication.
In the case of broadcast media this consultation means seeking advice from the Legal Expert prior to broadcast.
When a Media Group consults the Legal Advisor they must notify the Media Development Co-ordinator who will keep a log of all consultations and outcomes.
The University Communications team should also have an input in certain situations. Those situations and the procedure to be followed will be reviewed and agreed annually by the Director of Communications in the University, the Director of Development at LUU and the relevant committee President, Editor or Station Manager. The current procedure is outlined in Appendix Two.
Online content – websites and blogs
Where groups frequently publish copies of their publication or host blogs, their website must include the following disclaimer:
“The information and views provided in these web pages are not those of Leeds University Union. They are those of LUU <name of group>”
Furthermore, where groups regularly engage in debate through their webpage the following statements should be posted on the page as guidance to contributors:
“Please make contributions civil and tasteful and constructive. No disruptive, offensive or abusive behaviour. No unlawful or objectionable content. Unlawful, harassing, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, racially offensive or otherwise objectionable material is not acceptable.”
“Offensive content brought to the attention of the Editor/Station Manager will be dealt with at the discretion of the responsible person; this may include exercising the right to remove reported content.”
Plagiarism and Copyright
LUU Media Groups do not permit acts of Plagiarism and breaches of copyright by their members.
Use of images, audio, text and video by an LUU Student Media Group.
By submitting a photo, text or video to an LUU Media Group authors are agreeing to give an unlimited, perpetual, royalty free licence of any and all rights subsisting in the photo or video for use by LUU and all LUU media groups for any and all purposes that LUU and the LUU Media Groups may consider appropriate within the terms of this policy (including, without limitation, for use on websites and in published material, and for sale to the University and certain selected student groups.)
Use of images, audio, text and video from other sources
LUU Media Groups only reproduce images with permission of the person/company that holds the copyright or those that are copyright free.
Each Media Group will have in place and publish on the LUU website a complaints procedure that will outline how they will deal with complaints in line with the LUU Complaints Procedure detailed in bye-law (15).
All Media Groups’ complaints procedures shall be reviewed annually. Feedback on media publications and output should be encouraged by all groups and each group should make it clear how complaints can be made.
The responsibility for investigating a complaint shall rest with the Editor, Station Manager or President. However they must, on receipt of a complaint, inform the Development Co-ordinator who will oversee the process.
If the complainant is unhappy about the response to a complaint, responsibility for further investigation will pass to the Student Activities Manager, or their nominee.
If the complaint concerns an interpretation of a failure to adhere to LUU policy, then the issue will be considered at the next available meeting of the Activities Executive who will decide:
• Whether or not to uphold the complaint,
• Any appropriate remedial action required by the Media Group e.g. a published apology,
• Referral to the appropriate disciplinary procedure for further investigation and action.
If the complaint raises a legal concern, e.g. defamation, then legal advice will be sought from LUU’s Legal Expert and their advice will be final.
In addition to the above section on Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards, the LUU Legal Expert needs to be involved in the following list of topics before the story is printed or broadcast. The Editors of the media groups are responsible for making sure that they contact the Legal Expert and their line manager on any of the topics below.
1. Student landlords and other businesses providing services for students.
2. Celebrity "bad news" stories, e.g. a celebrity may have taken out an injunction to stop them being named.
3. Insolvency of any business.
4. Criticism of individuals within university management
5. Criticism of how university departments are run.
6. The naming of any members of the university/ group of students or individuals that could have an impact on their safety – e.g. naming or otherwise enabling the identification of people because they hold extreme beliefs or are involved in work that some disagree with.
7. Financial Services Regulatory issues - e.g. whether organisations are acting unlawfully in offering credit to students
8. Stories that relate to Race / Sexuality / Religion, for example, stories that relate to a defined group within the university or union clubs and societies.
9. Anything involving ongoing police investigations, criminal proceedings in court etc.
10. Stories relating to banned organisations, political organisations banned by LUU, or other organisations that incite or promote hate.
These principles must be applied to any communication that comes from the media groups, whether through Twitter, Facebook, Websites or any other form of digital media. Any broadcast that is recorded and accessible must also get authorisation, even if the original broadcast has already gone out.
The University Communications Team is there to advise and support the media groups on stories and information relating to University and general HE issues.
The Communications team should always have the opportunity to see and comment on any story relating to the topics highlighted below:
Criticism of individuals within university management
Criticism of how university departments are run
The naming of any members of the university/group of students or individuals that could have an impact on their safety. E.g. because they hold extreme beliefs or are involved in work that some people may disagree with.
The main contact in the University Communications team will be Sarah Ward, tel: 343 6699, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where possible the University contact will be given three working days to feed back on any relevant articles or broadcasts. This will be coordinated by the Media Development Coordinator but communication will be directly with the Editor or Station Manager.
The Editor or Station Manager shall consider all feedback before publishing or broadcasting, seeking further advice and guidance from the Media Development Coordinator or the University contact, as required.
If the University Communications team can demonstrate to the reasonable satisfaction of LUU senior management and relevant Editor or Station Manager that a story;
(a) Is likely to bring the University or the student body into disrepute without good reason; or
(b) Is likely to expose an individual or group of individuals from within the University’s staff or the student body to a risk of harm to their personal safety;
Then the Director of Development, LUU, the Director of Communications, University of Leeds, and the relevant Editor or Station Manager shall work together in good faith to agree whether to pull or amend the story as necessary. In such cases, the decision taken by these three representatives shall be final.
Definition: The Legal Expert is an identified legal contact that has been appointed by LUU.