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Our role in the Brandeis community

We, as the Brandeis community newspaper, take immense pride in being the community’s source of information and elevating the voices of community members. We love connecting with groups on campus and telling people’s stories. But we also recognize that a lot of members of the community don’t know who we are or why or how we do what we do. So this is us! 

There are some general housekeeping rules we keep as a part of our ethics policy, which is a public document that can be viewed by members of the general public. If you would like to read our ethics policy, please reach out to eic@thebrandeishoot.com for a copy. 

As a newspaper, we are unable to release articles to groups or individuals prior to publishing. We can, however, disclose quotes being used by individuals in articles. If asked, writers can show the individual specific quotes that are being used. But, writers are not permitted to share any of their own writing before publication. Edits can be made after publishing if there are any factual errors. 

We cannot grant anonymity without just cause. We, as a paper, also cannot offer anonymity to anyone, it must be asked for and then we will decide whether the issue requires anonymity on a case by case basis. Granting anonymity is offered when there is a risk to the wellbeing of a source. 

We cannot record an interview with a source without explicit consent. We will ask, prior to starting the interview, for consent to record. Once articles are finished, the recordings get deleted, as they are simply for quote checking, not publication consumption. For public events, there is “no reasonable expectation of privacy,” according to the Columbia Journalism Review. This means that, at public events, we are allowed to record and take photos without asking for prior consent. This includes protests on the Rabb steps and in study spaces in the Shapiro Campus Center. We aim to ask for consent when possible, but doing so is not always possible at impromptu events. 

When we cover events, we can be found either with a press pass or a piece of Hoot merchandise. This makes us easy to identify. As journalists, we are free to cover, including to photograph, events that are open to the public. If events are being advertised on social media, platforms including Instagram and Facebook, as public events open to all community members, the paper has a right to be there, too. We cannot, however, attend closed event meetings unless we are explicitly invited by the group hosting the event.

We report on the news; we do not make the news. If a noteworthy event happens on campus, it is our responsibility to cover it, regardless of our feelings about the event or the individuals involved. As a paper, we strive to unbiasedly cover campus situations.

As a campus news source, we do not censor students unless they use targeted hate speech. We publish what we are sent in order to maintain complete freedom of speech and press on the Brandeis campus.

We understand that readers might not always agree with opinion pieces published or the way we cover campus news. We welcome any and all feedback from the community! Please reach out to the EIC email, or the individual section editors, to provide comments. The names of our section editors can be located in our masthead, both online and in print. Our writers work hard, but responding to community feedback is out of the realm of their responsibility. Our editors, though, are better to have discussions. 

We are also accessible if you want to reach out to us with any comments or concerns on our website under the contact tab. We want to hear feedback from the community, but we encourage students and other community members to use the proper feedback channels. 

Please remember that we are a club, too! We do not get paid for this. We try our best to highlight the stories that we think are most pertinent to the Brandeis community. However, as a staff of around 30 people, we are unable to always cover everything; there is simply too much going on at Brandeis for us to be at every event, sports game and protest. 

We want to be a positive resource on campus for all community members, and we would love to have more people involved with our paper. We don’t have any requirements to start writing and there is no maximum or minimum set number of articles that you must contribute to our publication. Our writers are encouraged to write as much or as little as they want with zero pressure. We also encourage community members to attend our production night on Thursday nights. Production nights are when we make our paper; they are completely open to the public if you are willing to make the trek up the stairs of the SCC to the third floor. 

We hope this provides some clarity on our existence on campus and hopefully this transparency will invite more community members to interact with us!

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