Take the pledge

22 Feb

Tomorrow [Feb. 23] is the designated “National TAO of Journalism Sign-up Day” as part of Scholastic Journalism Week. Why should student publications take the pledge?

Short answer: free temporary tattoos for your staff, and the potential to win 45words swag! [more on that later]

Longer, actual answer: Your publication–I hope–already practices the three TAO principles: Transparency, Accountability, Openness. But in our increasingly digital age, displaying this seal, online or in print, differentiates you from the latest town blogger who employs not-so-journalistically-sound methods.

It lets your readers know that they can trust you to provide objective news, and that you will be held accountable for any errors. It shows your administrators that your staff employs the same standards as professional journalists and adult bloggers do. And it tells your staff that you, the adviser or editor, take journalism seriously.

The pledge takes three minutes, max, to fill out; student publications should use this form. And it takes just another two minutes to snap a picture of your staff signing it, then upload it to the SJW Flickr page, just like these California student journalists did.

If you enter your staff’s picture, you could win 45words shirts or buttons. Your picture needs to be pretty good, though–my editors are really, really ridiculously good looking. At the very least, everyone who signs the pledge will get temporary tattoos.

Check back tomorrow for one student editor’s opinion on what TAO means for her staff.

Questions? Comment below, or contact us on Facebook or Twitter.

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