The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

Policies and Procedures

Mission Statement

Harker Aquila publishes news, features, and editorials in an unbiased and professional manner and serves as a public forum for the students, faculty and staff of The Harker School. We seek to provide timely, inclusive and varied coverage of both the individuals and events in our community as well as both national and international news stories that impact us. We strive to represent all areas of our community, emphasizing diversity and equity both inside and outside our publications. 

I. Student Media and Expression Guidelines, adopted from the Student Press Law Center

Student journalists should:

  1. Make content and assignment decisions for the student-run publication
  2. Publish professional content following standards of accuracy, objectivity and fairness
  3. Provide timely, inclusive and varied coverage of our community
  4. Edit content for grammar, spelling and punctuation accuracy, according to the AP Stylebook
  5. Verify all facts and the accuracy of quotations in our materials
  6. In the case of editorials or letters to the editor, evaluate the need for additional comments or opinions and provide the space 

We do not protect or publish media that: 

  1. Contains libel or defamation
  2. Is obscene or graphic
  3. Violates state or federal law
  4. May cause “a material and substantial disruption of school activities”

For a full collection of our staff guidelines and policies, see an abridged version of our Harker News Journalism 2023-24 Staff Manual.

II. Corrections

If you find an error on Harker Aquila, you can email us at [email protected], DM us @harkeraquila on social media (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) or reach out to any member of the Aquila strategic team. 

Corrections made to articles are described at the end of each article in italics. 

III. Editorials

Editorials are the published opinions of the Editorial Board of Harker Aquila and the Winged Post. Editorials will not be published with bylines. The opinions expressed by the Editorial Board are not necessarily those of the Harker School administration, faculty, students, or community.

IV. Takedown Requests

Takedown requests will be considered by the strategic team in accordance with journalistic standards, and requests can be emailed to [email protected] with the subject line “Takedown request – [Your name]” and the link to the article. Your request will be considered by members of our strategic team for validation. 

When ethical questions arise, staff members will refer to the National Scholastic Press Association’s Code of Ethics for High School Journalists and the McCormick Foundation’s Protocol for Free and Responsible Student News Media for guidance. Both were created to help guide students in the direction of responsible journalism.

V. Anonymity

As a staff, we remain judicious in our requests for, approval of, and verification of anonymously­-sourced material. Anonymity will only be granted when the quoted information is necessary and cannot be obtained through named sources and when a student’s or source’s civil, academic, legal, or personal safety may come into question if their name is published.

Editors-in-chief must approve anonymous interviews before the scheduled interview. Requests for anonymity may only come from the source in question, through the reporter writing the story. Neither the reporter nor the interviewee may assume that anonymity is requested or granted. Editors-in-chief will grant anonymity requests on a case-by-case basis. 

Again, anonymity will only be granted when a student’s civil, academic, legal or personal safety is at risk.

VI. Story Pitching Process

Prior to monthly story assignment cycles, staff members send in pitches on story ideas, and section editors and the strategic team assign stories. 

Community members can send in story ideas at at any time, and staff will take suggestions into account when assigning stories.

VII. Pronouns

Reporters are required to ask all sources for their pronouns at the start of each interview, along with asking for permission to record, name and position when relevant, to avoid assuming a source’s pronouns. Sources are not required to share their pronouns if they are not comfortable doing so. 

VIII. Racial and Ethnic Identifiers

Reporters will ask sources for their racial and/or ethnic identities when mentioning racial and/or ethnic identities that would be relevant to the article topic, such as coverage of Black History Month. Sources are not required to share their racial or ethnic identities if they are not comfortable doing so. 

To avoid the “marking” of certain races or ethnicities while omitting other ones, reporters will ask all sources in an article for their racial and/or ethnic identity if racial and/or ethnic identities are being included in the article. 

We refer to the AP Stylebook for race-related coverage.

VIII. Original Work Policy

Reporters will not use AI or other generative sources to create journalistic work including text, audio or visual content unless approved by Ms. Huang and Mr. Oliver and credited appropriately.

IX. Obituary Policy

In the case of the death of a current student or faculty or staff member, the news publications will work to publish an accurate obituary without explicit details. In the case of the death of an alum, the Office of Communication will instead publish the obituary.

X. Prior Review

Harker Aquila does not allow sources or other non-journalism members to preview articles or other content for approval before publication. However, reporters may occasionally check paragraphs and quotes with sources for accuracy.

XI. Role of the Advisers

An adviser’s job is to guide students in the practice of accurate, fair and ethical journalism, and to ensure that they have access to and understanding of the legal background of American journalism, including key legal decisions involving journalism and First Amendment issues. This core training also includes an understanding of journalism ethics. Choices about using anonymous sources are included as part of legal and ethical training. The adviser will not create content for any student publication directly.

XII. Use of Cookies

Our site is hosted by Student Newspapers Online, an organization that provides news sites for schools across the country and owned by TBP Productions, LLP. The site collects “usage information” about your activities on the site including usage data, IP address and web browser information not linked to your Personal Information. It uses standard technology such as “cookies” for information on how you use the site, including how often you use it, the pages you view, and where you go after you leave. This information is also unattached to your Personal Information.

XIII. Photo Policy

The journalism staff strives to capture campus events and community activities to share the stories of Harker students and staff. We work to generate high-quality photos that portray our community in a respectful and accurate light. We reserve the right to first publication of our photos, which includes any photos captured using journalism gear: cameras, multimedia equipment and press credentials. 


  1. Takedown
    Takedown requests will be considered by the strategic team in accordance with journalistic standards and requests, they can be emailed to [email protected] with the subject line “Takedown request – [your name]” and the link or attachment of the photo.
  2. Sharing
    Share requests will be reviewed by journalism advisers on a case-by-case basis and they will contact the editors-in-chief of the respective photographer’s publication. Please send the photos in question to Ms. Huang or Mr. Oliver via email with “Share Request” in the subject line.
    At the conclusion of a sports season (fall, winter, spring), advisers will approve the release of batch photo folders. TALON editors-in-chief will review the season photos at the following dates and may reserve selects for publication.
  3. Credit
    All photos should be credited properly: “Harker Journalism” + Reporter full name. On social media, tag BOTH the respective publication & reporter.

XIV. Copyright

All content on Harker Aquila is strictly protected by copyright laws. Contact [email protected] for questions about content usage.

If you believe that Harker Aquila or any user has infringed your copyright in any material way, please contact us at [email protected].