Pomona College Magazine Editorial Guidelines
The essential purpose of Pomona College Magazine is to inform, engage, inspire and entertain a diverse readership -- including alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents and other friends of Pomona College -- by presenting an intimate, timely and honest portrait of the College -- its people, its programs, its history, its challenges, its resources and its mission. In the originality of its conception, in the excellence of its writing and visual presentation and in its commitment to accuracy, healthy discourse and editorial balance, the magazine endeavors to reflect the values and the quality of the institution itself. By maintaining the respect and interest of its readers, the magazine aspires ultimately to inform their opinion of the College and to strengthen their commitment to its welfare.
The staff of PCM is committed to maintaining the high standard of integrity that has always been characteristic of Pomona College and of the magazine that represents it. While the ultimate purpose of the magazine is to engage and strengthen its readers' association with the College, the institution recognizes that it can do so effectively only by earning and retaining the respect and faith of its readers. In this context, these editorial standards are set forth to give readers and contributors a clear idea of what they can and should expect from the magazine.
The editor of PCM is ultimately responsible for all decisions concerning the content of the magazine. In selecting content, the editor works in consultation with the staff and with other members of the College community with several factors in mind, including:
- a commitment to offering readers a mix of newsworthy, engaging, and thought-provoking articles about the College and its people;
- a respect and concern for the institution's history, mission and values;
- a commitment to providing balanced and timely coverage of issues;
- a concern for maintaining the institution's commitment to open discourse;
- a commitment to diversity of interest, opinion and representation; and
- a concern for readability and attractiveness of presentation.
The editor welcomes suggestions concerning content but can make no assurances regarding the use of suggested or provided material. Although no single issue of the magazine can fully reflect the diversity of the College and its family, the editor will make every effort to represent, over the course of time, the great diversity of interest, opinion, and background inherent in the magazine's readership.
Statements and opinions expressed in the magazine are those of the bylined contributors or of the editorial staff, and do not necessarily represent the official position of the College.
In covering controversial topics, the magazine will make every effort to provide balanced coverage and a representative mix of opinions, although its starting point will be a respect for the institution and its values. Since, despite all disclaimers, the magazine may be interpreted in courts of law as an official voice of the institution, when an article deals with a topic that is the subject of real, pending, or probable litigation involving the College, the editor will consult with legal counsel before proceeding with publication. In such cases, the article will be published only if legal concerns can be met without damaging the journalistic integrity of the article in question.
All articles are subject to editing by the PCM staff. As a courtesy, programs and people prominently featured in an article are usually given the opportunity to preview portions of the story that concern them in order to check the accuracy of quotes and facts. The final decision on changes to the article belongs, however, to the editor.
Words that are generally agreed to be obscene should not be included gratuitously in PCM articles, letters or notes, and will be edited out if their omission does not damage the integrity of the text. Such words will be published only when they are an integral part of a quotation, title or other cited passage that adds essential meaning or context to an article. It is not the policy of PCM to replace characters with asterisks or to otherwise disguise objectionable words.
Photographs that purport to depict an actual event should not be manipulated in any way other than cropping and correction for color, sharpness, brightness and contrast. Photographs used as illustrations of features are subject to greater manipulation, but should be labeled "Photo illustration" if they involve substantial alterations to the image that may not be obvious to the reader.
Departments of the magazine are established in order to package recurring types of information, such as letters and alumni travel opportunities, or smaller stories about areas of special interest, such as sports, college history and development. Some departments -- such as Pomona Forum, Pomona Today, Bookshelf, and Class Notes -- will appear in virtually every issue. Others -- such as Milestones, Over the Years, New Knowledge and Sports Report -- may appear intermittently, on the basis of the availability of space and of the relative newsworthiness of available stories.
The purpose of the letters column is to provide a forum for members of the extended College family -- primarily alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, donors, and others with a strong connection to the College -- who wish to engage in free and civil discourse on issues relating to the magazine and the College. It is not a forum for lobbying on unrelated issues, self-promotion, or personal attacks. PCM endeavors to print all letters to the editor from correspondents with a clear tie to the institution involving meaningful responses to previous issues of the magazine or thoughts about issues of importance to the College. When space does not permit the publication of all letters, the editor will choose which letters to publish based upon inherent interest to the readership and representation of diverse opinions. The magazine will not publish anonymous letters or letters that, in the opinion of the editor, are defamatory, level serious allegations against identifiable individuals or groups, or purport to speak for others who are not a party to the correspondence. The magazine also will not publish letters dealing with the particulars of a disciplinary action or hearing or the circumstances leading up to it. When a letter raises significant questions about a previously published article or about some aspect of the institution, an appropriate respondent may be invited to reply in the same issue. When a topic inspires an exchange of opinions, the editor may cut off debate after a reasonable period of time, usually no more than three issues after the publication of the article or letter from which the debate originated. With rare exceptions, letters should be no more than 400 words in length. All letters received by the magazine are subject to being edited for brevity and clarity.
To be included in Class Notes, information about alumni activities should be submitted to the Class Notes editor. With rare exceptions, information more than two years old will not be included. Selection of notes is at the discretion of the Class Notes editor, based upon such factors as perceived interest to classmates and frequency of previous submissions. All notes selected for inclusion are rewritten in Class Notes style and are subject to editing for length, style and clarity. Final decisions concerning the Class Notes belong to the PCM editor.
To be included in Scrapbook, photos should be submitted to the Class Notes editor with sufficient information for a caption. PCM endeavors to print as many alumni photos as space permits (up to one full page). Photos are selected for inclusion based upon photographic quality and intrinsic interest to our readers. Final selection of photos for this department is at the discretion of the editor.
PCM publishes full death notices of current and former trustees and faculty, active staff members, and alumni with a significant national reputation. The length of full death notices is normally limited to no more than 750 words. The magazine does not print survivor lists and usually does not print cause of death. Death notices of all other alumni are edited for length at the discretion of the Class Notes editor, generally no more than 150 words. The magazine will not publish a death notice without confirmation of the death from a family member or official source.
PCM accepts and publishes no advertisements.
Through fact-checking and proofing, the editorial staff of PCM endeavors to avoid publishing erroneous information. However, when an error in PCM is discovered, the editor will decide whether it is of sufficient import as to require a published correction. Corrections, when appropriate, will usually be printed in the Bulletin Board section of Alumni Voices. Errors in Class Notes will be corrected in subsequent Notes columns.