WKU Student Publications Policy Manual

All sections of this Policy Manual apply to all students working for WKU Student Publications. There also are specific sections for staff members of the College Heights Herald, the Talisman and Cherry Creative. A section for Student Publications Advertising is included in the Herald section.

What’s Involved

Student Publications

Ethics Guide

College Heights Herald

and Student Publications Advertising


Cherry Creative

AP Stylebook

Detailed indexes appear on the first page of each section.


Letter from the director

You tell the story of WKU.

In words and images, your work keeps the students, faculty and staff at Western Kentucky University informed. You keep the larger community — Bowling Green as well as alumni and friends around the globe — connected with WKU. You provide the news and information that makes our university a community.

You are an observer and a watchdog. You record and bring context to life on the Hill.

And that is an important job.

Welcome to WKU Student Publications. This is the home of the our flagship publications, the College Heights Herald and the Talisman, each of which has earned a reputation as being among the best student-run publications in collegiate journalism. And they are your publications – yours to direct and produce, and to craft with excellence. While you are a member of the staff, they are your responsibility. We’re also the home of Cherry Creative, a team of specialty storytellers launching in Fall 2018 and aimed at producing sponsored content, special sections and events surrounding the Herald and the Talisman; and Student Publications Advertising, a team of sales consultants that work with advertisers to generate revenue for our media company.

As a staff member, we hope you find our building, the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center, your home on campus. This facility opened in 2008. It was made possible by generous alumni with a passion for our student publications and the role they play in helping young reporters, photographers, editors and designers blossom into exceptional professionals. Those alumni and our publications raised more than $1 million to build our $1.7 million home. It’s our responsibility to uphold and build on that foundation of excellence – and to maintain the professional environment of Adams-Whitaker.

Through the Talisman, the Herald and their digital operations, as well as Cherry Creative and Student Publications Advertising, you have the opportunity to build the kind of experience that will give you the advantage as you pursue your career after you leave WKU. You owe it to yourself, and we all owe it to each other, to make the best of these opportunities – to learn how to research and tell accurate and compelling stories, to reach audiences across multiple platforms, to become proficient in delivering news and information to our community how they want it, when they want it and where they want it.

The Student Publications Policy Manual provides information about guidelines for dealing with legal and ethical issues as well as operations procedures and expectations for everyone in Student Publications. These guidelines were developed by a committee of students and advisers during the 1989-90 school year and were updated in 1994, 1997, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2018, 2021 and 2024.

Whether our work is in print or online, unfolded on a park bench alongside Henry Hardin Cherry’s statue or viewed on a phone or a tablet or in a computer lab, your challenge is to seize this opportunity, to make yourself the best you can be, and to uphold and exceed the tradition of excellence that is the hallmark of WKU Student Publications.

CHUCK CLARK, Director | 270-745-4206 | [email protected]

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General statement of policy

Student publications and the student press are a valuable aid in establishing and maintaining an atmosphere of free and responsible discussion and of intellectual exploration on the campus. Such publications are a means of bringing student concerns to the attention of the faculty and the institutional authorities and of formulating student opinion on various issues on the campus and in the world at large.

In the delegation of editorial responsibility to students, the institution must provide editorial freedom and financial autonomy for the student publications to maintain their integrity of purpose as vehicles for free inquiry and free expression in an academic community. An adviser to student journalists must build a climate within which learning can take place. This includes making mistakes. Student editors must reach their own balance between freedom and responsibility. Stories that are questionable should be brought to the adviser’s attention and matters about which editors lack information should be discussed with the adviser. Otherwise, editors assume responsibility for the operation of the news organization.

Institutional authorities, in consultation with students and faculty, have a responsibility to provide written clarification of the role of student publications and the standards to be used in their evaluation. At the same time, the editorial freedom of student editors and managers entails corollary responsibilities to be governed by the canons of responsible journalism, such as the avoidance of libel, indecency, harassment and innuendo. As safeguards for the editorial freedom of the campus publications, the following provisions are necessary:

  1. The student press should be free of censorship and advance approval of copy, and its editors and the adviser should be free to develop their own policies and philosophies herein set forth by the Student Publications Committee.
  2. Advisers and staff members of the student publications should be protected from arbitrary suspension and removal because of student, faculty, administrative or public disapproval of editorial policy or content. Only for proper and stated causes should editors and staff members be subject to removal.
  3. The publication should explicitly state on the editorial page that the opinions there expressed are not necessarily those of the department, the college, the university or the student body.
  4. The advisers should be freely accessible to editors and staff members; particularly they should bring their experiences in decision making to instances involving questions of taste, libel and other situations.
  5. The Student Publications Committee endorses and abides by the Canons of Journalism and the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.

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Statements By WKU Presidents

Policy Statement issued April 25, 1990, by President Thomas Meredith

Final authority as to whether material considered libelous should be printed should rest with the student editors, and a statement to this effect should be included in both the Herald and Talisman staff policies and procedures manual and the policies of the Student Publications Committee. The student editors should be charged with the responsibility of consulting with qualified legal counsel on questions of libel.

Policy Statement issued Feb. 1, 1999, by President Gary Ransdell

Our student publications are highly significant in the life of Western Kentucky University. Our publications clearly help make Western distinctive, bring national recognition to Western and define our image as an institution. I want to do everything I possibly can to help sustain and strengthen the quality of our student publications.

Campus Media Statement of the Society of Professional Journalists — signed Jan. 6, 2009, by President Gary Ransdell

Student media are designated public forums, and free from censorship and advance approval of content. Because content and funding are unrelated, and because the role of adviser does not include advance review of content, student media are free to develop editorial policies and news coverage with the understanding that students and student organizations speak only for themselves. Administrators, faculty, staff or other agents shall not consider the student media’s content when making decisions regarding the media’s funding or faculty adviser. 

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WKU Student Publications is one of the most success student journalism enterprises in the country. Together, our student-led divisions have amassed 47 national Pacemaker awards, the nation’s highest honor for student-run media.

Founded in 1925, the College Heights Herald is the main source for news about WKU for students, faculty and staff, as well as for those interested in the university. The Herald is recognized as one of the best college news organizations in the country. The Herald has received the national Pacemaker Award from the Associated Collegiate Press a total of 23 times: 1981, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2017, 2018, 2021 and 2022 for the print edition and in 2010, 2020 and 2022 for WKUHerald.com, and 2023 for multiplatform work and for innovation. The Herald was inducted into the ACP Hall of Fame in 1989, and was recognized in 2022 as the sixth most successful student media organization in the history of the ACP Pacemaker Awards.

The first issue of Jan. 29, 1925, announced the newspaper’s beginning. “This newspaper was born at one of the greatest chapel exercises ever heard on College Heights, on Thursday, Jan. 22, and the acclaim with which the announcement was received would have stirred the heart of every former student and filled every atom of his body with renewed vibration of school loyalty and patriotism …”

The Herald began as a broadsheet but was a tabloid most of its life. The paper converted from letterpress to offset in 1968 and became a twice-weekly publication in 1969. In August 2002, the Herald returned to its broadsheet size, and the staff began sending the paper electronically. The Herald was among the first college news organizations with a website, launched in 1994. The Herald revamped its website, WKUHerald.com, and began posting news daily, as well as using multimedia techniques in coverage. It launched its first mobile phone application in spring 2011, and phased out apps in 2016 in favor of a responsive website that works on smartphones, tablets and desktops. The Herald moved to weekly publication in January 2018 in order to increase the focus on its growing digital presence. In March 2020, the Herald launched an email newsletter, delivered daily Monday-Friday during the spring and fall semesters and weekly during summer and winter breaks. In its first year, the email newsletter quickly grew to more than 25,000 subscribers and became the Herald’s primary means to distributing news. In Spring 2021, the Herald began a transformation with a complete redesign and returned to the tabloid format in which it had published much for much of its life. In Fall 2021, with the growth of the highly successful daily newsletter and content on WKUHerald.com, the print edition was transformed into a monthly publication focused on enterprise in a newsmagazine format. The Herald became a true magazine format in 2022-23.

The Talisman was founded in 1924 as the official yearbook of Western Kentucky State Normal School, later Western Kentucky State College and, since 1966, Western Kentucky University. Talisman was published continuously until 1996, and returned with the 2003 yearbook. It started winning national awards in the 1970s and was the only recipient of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Trendsetter Award until it was discontinued. The Talisman has won national Pacemaker awards 22 times — in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1995, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016 for the yearbook; 2016, 2017 ans 2022 for its website, WKUTalisman.com; and 2020 for Talisman magazine. The Talisman was inducted into the ACP Hall of Fame in 2009, and is among The Pacemaker 100, the 100 most successful student media outlets in the history of the ACP Pacemaker Awards.

The 2016 Talisman was its final edition as a yearbook. Beginning in Fall 2016, the Talisman became a magazine focused on the life and culture of WKU, Bowling Green and Southern Kentucky and issued twice a year — late in fall and spring semesters. Its accompanying website, WKUTalisman.com, is a thriving venue for popular culture material related to life at WKU.

Herald and Talisman writers and photographers contribute significantly to the WKU School of Media & Communication’s long history of top finishes in the William Randolph Hearst Foundation overall national championship among accredited undergraduate programs.

Cherry Creative was launched in Fall 2018 as a branded-content studio to help businesses and other clients reach the WKU community through our publications, special events, sponsored content, special sections and other novel means. It was among several key recommendations implemented from a student-run brainstorming team that studied the future of the College Height Herald during the Fall 2017 semester. Separate from the newsrooms, Cherry Creative gives students experience working directly for clients, who can review and approve their work. Cherry Creative was awarded the first-ever Innovation Pacemaker from Associated Collegiate Press in 2020 for its WKU Graduate Gallery project, which generated significant revenue during the first several months of the global coronavirus pandemic, which closed the university to in-person classes during the Spring 2020 semester. Cherry Creative also is responsible for our largest revenue-generating efforts, including View of the Hill magazine for incoming freshmen, the WKU Housing Fair and the Best of the Hill Festival.

At the same time as Cherry Creative was launched, the former Herald advertising staff was spun off into its own student-led division, Student Publications Advertising. Through this area, students interested in media sales learn how to act as consultants, studying clients’ needs and preparing recommendations for advertising across all of the platforms and publications of WKU Student Publications, as well as selling events and special sections produced by Cherry Creative.

Cherry Creative and Student Publications Advertising were honored in 2024 with the Student Media Business Pacemaker, the first time the business side of Student Publications has been so honored.

Significantly, WKU is the only Kentucky university with multiple student-led media — the College Heights Herald and the Talisman — included in The Pacemaker 100 from Associated Collegiate Press.

Since 2020-21, our four student-led divisions have won 10 Pacemakers, more than any other university in the nation during that time period.

Updated April 2024

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What’s Involved

Basic Housekeeping


Other Information


College Heights Herald section

Talisman section

AP/Herald Stylebook

Available online

Detailed indexes appear on the first page of each section.

General Information

The general guidelines and ethical standards in this policy manual apply to all students who work on publications at WKU under the supervision of the Office of Student Publications. Each publication should develop its own operating procedures and job descriptions.


As an administrative unit, the Office of Student Publications reports to the Provost’s Office in the WKU Division of Academic Affairs. Although it is under Academic Affairs, Student Publications is not part of any academic college or program. As such, Student Publications is independent of the WKU School of Media & Communication, which reports to the dean of Potter College of Arts & Letters. Student Publications acts as a laboratory where students take principles they learn in the classroom and apply them in a real-world situation; as such, the School and Student Publications work closely together to the benefit of students. A Student Publications Committee, with representatives from across the university and a professional journalist, serves the primary duty of selecting the editors-in-chief of the Talisman and the College Heights Herald. Student Publications also has a professional advisory board composed of professionals in journalism and related industries and including both alumni and non-alumni.


To work at WKU Student Publications, a person must be a full-time student or must be taking all of the hours needed to complete graduation requirements. Graduate students with a graduate assistantship are prohibited from working at Student Publications, in addition to their assistantship, by the university. All staff members must be in good standing with the university; anyone on academic probation shall be suspended until demonstrating a level of academic progress satisfactory to his or her area’s student leader and adviser. No one on probationary status may be paid.

Staff selection/removal

The editor-in-chief of each publication (College Heights Herald and Talisman) is selected by the Student Publications Committee, based on a formal application and interview. To seek the top position in either publication, an applicant must be on the staff, in good standing with the university and have a grade-point average of at least 2.5. Upon approval by the Student Publications Committee, the editor will select other editorial staff members, in consultation with advisers and the Director of Student Publications. The top student leader on each of our business-side operations (Cherry Creative and Student Publications Advertising) are selected by the operation’s adviser on the professional staff in consultation with the Director of Student Publications.

Financial basics

The Office of Student Publications has overall responsibility for maintaining fiscal accountability. As an administrative unit, the office receives a budget from the university for salaries of the professional staff, office supplies, postage and other operating expenses. The Herald does not receive a direct allocation from the university; its budget is revenue-dependent. In other words, the news organization must generate its own money. The primary source of revenue, of course, is advertising. The Talisman receives an operating budget from the university. Because the budget is allocated from university revenue, the Talisman is heavily subsized. Both publications are distributed to WKU students, faculty and staff free of charge.

Student Publications Advertising and Cherry Creative are funded jointly by the Talisman and the Herald, and any commissions are paid out of revenues from advertising sales.

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Student Publications Committee

The committee will be an advisory body for student publications. It will serve as a buffer between the administration on one hand and the publications’ constituencies on the other.


The Student Publications Committee has 11 voting members, which includes a representation of faculty, staff, students and a professional journalist. It consists of:

  • The director of the School of Media & Communication. (Ron DeMarse)
  • A representative from the WKU Division of Enrollment and Student Experience, nominated by the vice president for that area. (Bryson Davis)
  • A representative from the WKU Community Affairs area, nominated by the leadership of that area. (Alicia Carter)
  • Three faculty or senior staff members to represent academic or academic-related areas appointed for renewable three-year terms, one nominated by the University Senate, two nominated by a three-member executive committee appointed by the Student Publications Committee chair. (Bob Hatfield, Aaron Hughey, Martha Sales)
  • Four student members to represent the diversity of the campus community appointed for staggered two-year terms: one nominated from the WKU Student Government Association, and three nominated from faculty/staff members on the Student Publications Committee.
  • A professional representative of the Kentucky Press Association, appointed by the KPA. (Tom Caudill)
  • The current editors-in-chief of the College Heights Herald and the Talisman (nonvoting) and the director of Student Publications (nonvoting).


  1. Meets each semester, usually in October/November and March/April. Any member of the committee (voting and nonvoting) may ask the executive committee to convene a special meeting for a stated cause, but must give a three-day notice. The Executive Committee includes the chairperson, secretary and Director of Student Publications.
  2. During the spring meeting, selects the College Heights Herald editor-in-chief for the upcoming fall semester and the Talisman editor-in-chief for the upcoming academic year. At the fall meeting, selects the editor-in-chief of the Herald for the upcoming spring semester. Has the authority to remove an editor-in-chief with the concurrence of the Director of Student Publications.
  3. Receives reports at its meetings on financial operations of the publications, including budgetary status and issues, revenues and expenses of revenue-dependent operations, unpaid accounts receivable, equipment purchases and financial forecasts to ensure that the Herald and Talisman at all times operate according to the standard university accounting and financial procedures. At the first meeting following the end of the previous fiscal year, a report on the previous year’s finances will be provided.
  4. Reviews complaints that have not been resolved by the editor-in-chief, advertising manager or other involved staff members. Complaints should be submitted in writing. The committee will develop procedures for resolving complaints.
  5. Reviews staff policy and procedures and job descriptions upon request.
  6. Does not serve as an editorial board.

Way Forward Advisory Board

The Way Forward Advisory Board’s mission is to help chart the path for WKU Student Publications. The committee is appointed by the director, with input from others on the professional staff, to make recommendations on direction for WKU Student Publications with respect to journalism, business needs, publication development, technology and other matters as the advisory board sees fit. There is no set number of members, but members shall include alumni and non-alumni experts in their fields.

This board generally meets once a semester, typically around homecoming and in April. Meetings can be held in person and/or by electronic means.

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Professional Staff Job Descriptions

Director of Student Publications

Chuck Clark | [email protected] | 270-745-4206

The Director of Student Publications has overall administrative responsibility for the College Heights Herald, the Talisman and other student publications and ventures that might be undertaken under the auspices of the Office of Student Publications. The director:

  • Ensures that all student publications under the director’s supervision maintain the highest professional standards. This includes in-house training sessions, as well as attendance at professional meetings and seminars.
  • Oversees all financial transactions and maintaining fiscal responsibility for the Office of Student Publications including the Herald, Talisman and special scholarship and development accounts.
  • Secures the necessary equipment and supplies for the publications, including maintenance contracts and maintaining a perpetual inventory.
  • Works closely with advisers and the Student Publications business office to ensure regularity of publications and an orderly transition of student editors, subeditors and managers.
  • Provides advice on such legal matters as libel, invasion of privacy, open meetings law, open records law, obscenity and ethics.
  • Develops an annual advertising rate structure, including setting salaries and commission rates, distribution of accounts and revising advertising contracts as needed.
  • Negotiates all necessary contracts, including written specifications for printing, mailing and distributing, marketing and keeping staff manuals updated.
  • Prepares annual budgets for the Office of Student Publications, signing all purchase requisitions and adhering to all University fiscal procedures.
  • Works with Business Office in overseeing the payroll for students who are paid on part-time payroll, weekly time sheets or as independent contractors (writers, photographers, artists, circulation) and commissioned advertising staff.
  • Serves as a non-voting member of the Student Publications Committee.
  • Works closely with editors of professional publications in the placement of interns and graduates and in improving student recruitment efforts.
  • Strengthens relationships with WKU’s publications alumni through an annual Homecoming event, a formal alumni association and a regular schedule of newsletters and other activities.
  • Ensures that student staff members are properly recognized for their work by encouraging entry in competitions that would bring attention to students and their publications and publicize their accomplishments within and outside the department.

Assistant director

Sam Oldenburg | [email protected] | 270-745-3055

The assistant director is the No. 2 in authority on the professional staff and assists the director in all operations of WKU Student Publications, in addition to his/her advising responsibilities.

College Heights Herald adviser/multiplatform news director

Carrie Pratt | [email protected] | 270-745-4591

The Herald adviser is an advocate and resource for the College Heights Herald on all its platforms — print, web, mobile, social media any any other format that the student-run news outlet might adopt. The adviser is available for the editor-in-chief, the editorial board and other Herald staff members as needed, assisting with legal and ethical matters, offering advice on journalism issues and helping direct the transition of the Herald from a print-centric operation to one that operates on and maximizes the strengths of multiple delivery platforms. The Herald adviser also supervises students who distribute the printed edition of the Herald.

Talisman adviser/specialty publications manager

Sam Oldenburg | [email protected] | 270-745-3055

The Talisman adviser serves as an advocate and resource for the student staff and attends weekly editorial board and full staff meetings, along with specific staff meetings as needed. The adviser supports the editor-in-chief with tasks like distribution of the Talisman, senior and underclassmen portraits, content development, news judgment and legal matters. Also serves as adviser to the Cherry Creative branded-content studio. The adviser also manages equipment rentals available to the photo staff. The adviser is available during production and communicates with the printer to ensure quality once the files are received. They also critique the publication often and provide instruction for improvement. The adviser prepares files for competitions and submits the budget to the director.

Sales manager/advertising adviser

Wes Orange | [email protected] | 270-745-6285

The sales manager and advertising adviser develops advertising and revenue plans and projections, and makes adjustments as warranted; trains student advertising consultants; takes a leading role in maintaining strong client relationships and recruiting new clients; and directly supervises the student advertising manager. The sales director also works with the director and others on the professional staff to develop new lines of revenue, such as web design or specialty advertising publications, designed to keep WKU Student Publications financially healthy.

Operations coordinator

Sherry West | [email protected] | 270-745-2651

The operations manager oversees all budgets and all financial transactions, as well as recordkeeping, for WKU Student Publications. The operations manager also is responsible for student payroll and for ensuring generally smooth operations at WKU Student Publications, and consults regularly with the director on all financial and operational matters.

Office associate

Tracy Newton | [email protected] | 270-745-2653

The office associate provides customer service to students, visitors, alumni, advertisers and others who come into contact with WKU Student Publications, either in person or by phone. The office associate also makes daily deposit of all receipts. which includes posting of all payments to AdPro; is responsible for all payment authorizations for student payroll; maintains an adequate inventory of supplies; assists in the efficient day-to-day operations for WKU Student Publications; and coordinates special events.

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Parking policy

Parking behind the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center is reserved for WKU Student Publications vehicles and for people doing business with us.

Students are not permitted to park in any of the four Student Publications spaces for any reason during business hours.

Business space

During business hours — 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday — NO STUDENT OR STAFF PARKING IS PERMITTED in any space reserved for Student Publications business. Customers using the business space must sign in at the Business Office.

Office vehicle spaces

The three spaces designated for Student Publications vehicles adjacent to the loading dock are reserved for WKU Student Publications vehicles only, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you park there, we will ask that your vehicle be towed.

Loading zone

The loading zone behind the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center will be strictly enforced by WKU Parking and Transportation Services. The space is limited to commercial delivery vehicles and the time limit for parking is 10 minutes. If a student or staff member risks parking in the loading zone, he or she must be in the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center and available to move the vehicle at all times. Under no circumstance will a student be allowed to park in the loading zone for longer than 10 minutes during business hours, or to park there and leave the premises.

No overnight parking is allowed in the Loading Zone under any circumstances, as this space must be open for overnight deliveries.


WKU Parking and Transportation Services will issue a $100 citation and/or have a vehicle towed for violating the rules. If your vehicle is ticketed and/or towed for misusing the spaces at the back of the building, we will not intervene.

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Office policies

Use of the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center is a privilege. Students are expected to follow office policies or may have building privileges revoked.

Basic housekeeping

We have a steady stream of visitors through the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center. It is the responsibility of each person who works in the office to keep the quarters as clean as possible.

In particular, keep desktops clean by throwing away or filing materials when you have finished with them. Desks are not to be locked. This is a shared space by all staffers, so limit personal items on your desk. Never remove clips from any bound volume. The bound volumes are stored in cabinets in the basement. If you remove a bound volume from the basement, you must returned it when you are finished.

If you have food or drink in the building, you must take care to not soil furniture or floors. We prefer you to take your meals in the break room, not at a desk in the newsroom. Absolutely no food or drink is allowed in the conference room without prior approval of the Director of Student Publications.

There is to be NO tape or push pins used on walls. Push pins are to be used only on the panels on the desks; this use should be limited. We are proud of our furniture so help us keep it clean and looking nice. There is no sleeping in the office. Keep your shoes off of all furniture and do not sit on desks or stand on chairs.

Possession of alcohol, drugs or firearms in the building is prohibited (see Drug and Alcohol Policy). No smoking, including electronic cigarettes, is permitted anywhere on campus, including in or around the Student Publications Center. All smoking, including electronic cigarettes, must be done off campus.

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Conference room policies

The conference room should be used only for meetings of our student-led divisions or the professional staff. There is to be no eating in the conference room without permission of the Director and only approved lidded cups or water bottles will be allowed. The conference room must be kept neat and clean of papers and trash.

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Basement usage

Unless you are in a meeting or in need of an old Herald or Talisman, then you should not be in the basement. Under no circumstances are you to go through any of the filing or storage cabinets. The basement is not a place to store your personal belongings.

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Bicycles are not permitted inside the building. A bicycle rack is located at the rear of the building where your bicycle can be secured.

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Break room policies

The break room is available for your use. When you are done, clean up. Do not leave cups and containers lying around; if you do and they are thrown away, do not complain. Do not leave rotten food in containers in the refrigerator or keep food in there for long periods of time. This is not your personal refrigerator. Items in the refrigerator are the property of the person who brought them; they are not community property. Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink for someone else to take care of. Do not leave food in the sink, either. If you make a mess in the sink or on the counter, clean it up. If you spill something, clean it up. This includes the microwave. There are cleaning products located in the cabinets. If you have trouble finding them, ask.

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Pets are not permitted in the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center unless approved by the director. Professionally trained service dogs and certified therapy animals are not considered pets.

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Put only paper in the blue or gray trash cans that are marked for recycling. Non-paper items should be put in a separate trash can. Food waste should be disposed of in trash cans outside. Designated trash cans are labeled for aluminum cans and plastic bottles. A recycling caddy for cans and bottles and a bucket for batteries are located in the rear lobby near the basement stairs.

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Access and security

Working in Student Publications is a privilege and not a right. Student leaders (editorial board members) have access to the Adams-Whitaker Student Publications Center around the clock via their key cards. Any student leader in the building outside of normal business hours is responsible for anyone in the building at that time. When the last student leader in the building leaves, it is that person’s responsibility to make sure the building is empty.

If you are the last person to leave the office, make sure the lights are off and that the area is secure, and that the exterior doors are fully closed and locked. The lights in the newsroom are on a timer but may be turned off by pushing the buttons beside the green lights on the panels at the front and rear entrances to the building. When the last editor is ready to leave, everyone else must leave too. A student supervisor or editor should be present at all times that students are in the building.

Equipment at WKU Student Publications represents a considerable financial investment. It is everyone’s responsibility to protect it. When you see someone unfamiliar, ask him or her in a friendly manner if you can help.

When in doubt about building security, consult a member of the professional staff or call campus police at 270-745-2548 for assistance.

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Office hours

Student Publication Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. During these hours, office staff will be available to assist you. If a staffer needs to take care of paperwork or get something from the business office, it should be done during these hours. If you have a request of our office staff, please try to make that request no later than 4 p.m.

Front and back doors to the building will, on most nights, lock automatically at 4:30 p.m. If you need access and the door is locked, please ring the doorbell once and someone will let you in. A tune denotes the front door, while two tones is for the back door. Please envision yourself waiting outside and answer the door as soon as possible. If you’re outside, please be patient.

After hours, please press the  button to the right of the front and back doors before exiting the building or letting someone in. If the door is held open for longer than 30 seconds, the alarm may activate. This means you cannot prop the door open, hold the door open or turn the lock to keep door open.

You are not allowed to exit/enter through the side door. It is an emergency exit only. If you open this door the alarm will sound and may remain on for hours.

If you are here after 4:30 p.m. and the alarm is activated:

  • Contact campus police at 745-2548.
  • Please let them know if there’s an emergency or if it was human error that triggered the alarm. Ask them to deactivate it.

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If a student leader has a private office, that student may acquire a key to that office from WKU Access Control in the police department. But be aware that if you get a key, you are responsible for it. The key holder must keep track of the key and not loan it to anybody. Staff members who are issued a key and lose it will have to pay the cost of having the lock changed and the key replaced. All keys are to be returned to Access Control before the end of finals week.

Designated members of the Herald, Talisman, Student Publications Advertising and Cherry Creative staffs have ID cards that grant them access to the Student Publications Center. The card is the responsibility of the staffer – they are not to give it to anyone else to use. If it is lost or stolen, the staffer should report it immediately. Staffers are issued one card and will have to pay for a replacement. Cards are deactivated by office staff at the end of each semester or at termination of employment.

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If a student leader chooses to allow a staff member access to the building after business hours, then it is that student leader’s responsibility to stay until the staffer leaves. Upon leaving the building, the student leader should ensure the building is locked and lights and equipment are off.

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Use of Equipment

WKU Student Publications maintains a small inventory of computers, cameras, lenses, lighting and other equipment solely for the use of students who work at Student Publications. Any equipment must be signed out through your adviser.

The university does not, in general, provide the equipment for Student Publications. Because the equipment is costly to maintain, its use by those who are not on staff is prohibited. Staff members’ use of any Student Publications equipment not related to their work at Student Publications must be approved specifically by their adviser.

Damage done to equipment because of abuse, careless or negligence while it is checked out is the financial responsibility of the student who signed out the equipment. It is your responsibility to ensure equipment is in good working order when you check it out, and we recommend doing so with the adviser who is assisting you. Costs for repairs for damage to equipment while it is in your care is your responsibility.

See also Communication Systems Policy.

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Faxing, if needed, is available in the Student Publications front office.

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Each copy produced on our printers in the building costs us. There is one color printer/copier located in the newsroom. There is limited access to the color printer and it should be used ONLY for Student Publications business. Because the printer is costly to operate, do not use it to print homework or class projects.

Our printers and copiers are for publications business only (for example, printing page proofs). Each student has a university printing account, which you must use in a lab for personal copying or printing. A 24-hour lab is located conveniently across the street in Jody Richards Hall (formerly Mass Media & Technology Hall).

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A mailbox is provided for many staff members. Please check your mailbox every day.

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When a phone is ringing, answer it. When doing so, say: “College Heights Herald, this is (your name)” or “Talisman, this is (your name)” or “Student Publications, this is (your name).” To answer a ringing phone in the newsroom, press the button designated “Pickup” on the phone closest to you, and the call will automatically ring to that phone.

When taking messages, please write the time, date and your name on the message and put it in the appropriate place.

The telephones in the publications area are for business use. Long distance service is available for business calls. Those calls should be kept as short as possible. Publications staff members may use the telephones for occasional internship and job calls. Anyone abusing that privilege may be required to reimburse Student Publications and may be suspended from the staff.

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Office Supplies

Because of its limited budget, the Office of Student Publications cannot provide classroom supplies for students. Office supplies, including Post-it Notes, pens, copy paper and the color printer, are to be used in publications-related activities only. If staffers need particular office supplies or they are running low, they will need to discuss this with their adviser or the front office staff.

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Smoking and Electronic Cigarettes

The use of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes is prohibited everywhere on the WKU campus, including inside or around the Student Publications building.

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While we want students to enjoy their time in the newsroom, it is a place of business. Like any other professional workplace, staffers must behave in a manner conducive to business. Staff members who choose to test these rules will receive a warning and may be terminated or have building privileges suspended or revoked by their editor, adviser or the Director.

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Professionalism includes demonstrating a mature command over the English language. Staffers should not swear in the newsroom because it is offensive. Writing language on the dry erase board that might be considered foul and/or offensive is prohibited. Disagreements — whether among students or between students and professional staffers — must be handled professionally; foul language has no place in a professional environment.

Abusive language, regardless of whether curse words are used, will not be tolerated.

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Staff members should dress and look professional while in the newsroom. This is a place of business and we have frequent visitors, including prospective students and their parents, so it is important to look appropriate at all times. Articles of clothing that project slogans or graphics that might offend any race, ethnic group, gender or sexual orientation are not tolerated in the newsroom. Remember that when you are out on campus or in the community on assignment, you represent the College Heights Herald, the Talisman, Student Publications Advertising or Cherry Creative. It is important to look professional.

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It’s simple: Don’t do it. Gossip destroys the morale of any organization. If you want to talk about someone, learn to speak to that person directly.

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Staff members who date each other must keep all aspects of their personal relationships out of the office.

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Personal hygiene

Working for the Herald, the Talisman, Student Publications Advertising and Cherry Creative requires staff members to share equipment in close quarters, sometimes for extended periods. Taking care of your personal hygiene is conducive to a pleasant working environment. Please bathe, launder clothes regularly and keep your hands clean. Placing your fingers in your mouth, ears and nose and then typing on the keyboard and handling papers that others may need afterwards creates a health hazard.

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If a staffer is sick, out of respect for others who work in the office, don’t come into the office. Staffers who are out with an illness should contact their editor and let them know the status of their assignments. During health emergencies, appropriate actions such as safe distancing and mask-wearing may be required as a condition of using the facilities.

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Contests and Honors

Throughout the year, Student Publications enters statewide, regional and national journalism competitions. The Herald, the Talisman, Cherry Creative and Advertising have a proprietary interest in the material they publish. Thus, student leaders are entitled to help determine which entries will represent Student Publications in contests. Awards presented to the staff as a whole or to the publication generally become the property of the publication. Individuals who win awards for work published by one of our divisions may accept the award and retain ownership of it. Awards look great on your resume and academic portfolio.

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Student Travel Policy

WKU Student Publications from time to time sends students outside Bowling Green to cover events or attend conferences. These guidelines apply to all student travel.


All out-of-town travel requires prior approval. You must fill out a Travel Request Form and have it approved by the editor-in-chief as well as either the publication adviser or the director. Travel without prior approval will not be reimbursed.


In general, coverage of an event that requires out-of-town travel will be limited to no more than two staffers. Exceptions must be approved by the adviser and the director.

TRANSPORTATION. Transportation to and from the venue will be covered from the publication’s budget, if funding is available. The mode of transportation (ground or air) will be at the discretion of the adviser. Mileage for any one assignment will be paid for one vehicle at the university reimbursement rate. If a student chooses to take a second vehicle rather than share a ride, no mileage may be claimed for the second vehicle. When using air travel, receipts completed by the vendor must be obtained for any necessary ground transportation such as taxis or shuttles.

LODGING. The publication will pay for one hotel room for coverage of an event that requires an overnight stay. In the case of a male and female staff member being assigned to cover an out-of-town event, the publication will pay for two hotel rooms.

MEALS. The publication will reimburse actual expenses for meals for no more than two staffers for a single event, not to exceed $30 per day per person, unless approved by the director. Students must turn in itemized receipts to be eligible for reimbursement for meals. NO ALCOHOL IS PERMITTED.


The number of students attending a conference at the expense of WKU Student Publications will be determined by the director and the advisers.

DEPOSIT. Students traveling to conferences will be required to make a $100 deposit in order to attend any conference paid for by WKU Student Publications or the publication itself. The deposit will be returned to the student in full at the conference location. If the student does not make the trip for any reason, the deposit shall be forfeited.

AIR FARE. The publication or WKU Student Publications may cover, or subsidize a portion of, airfare for a student traveling to a conference as long as that student will be returning to WKU Student Publications the following semester. Exceptions are at the discretion of the director. If a student for whom airfare has been purchased fails to make the trip for any reason, the student must reimburse WKU Student Publications for the amount Student Publications paid toward the airfare.

REGISTRATION AND LODGING. The publication or WKU Student Publications will cover registration and all, or a portion of, lodging costs at conferences for all students approved to attend. Shared rooms will be required.

MEALS. Students traveling on behalf of Student Publications to conferences must pay for their own meals and other expenses beyond airfare, lodging and registration.

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Communications Systems Policy

Effective: May 15, 2003

Updated: January 14, 2011

Communication Systems refers to Internet access, e-mail, computers, telephones and/or voice mail provided in Student Publications for work-related purposes only by employees of the Office of Student Publications, the College Heights Herald, the Talisman, Student Publications Advertising or Cherry Creative. Use of discriminatory, derogatory or offensive language, written or spoken, is prohibited. Any voice mail, e-mail or other communications sent or received via the Communications Systems must be appropriate for the workplace. Do not transmit anything in an e-mail message that you would not feel comfortable having posted on a bulletin board for all to see. Remember: The recipient of your message may send it to people that you did not want to see it.

Occasional, incidental use of the Communications Systems for personal reasons is permitted, provided that such usage does not interfere with normal work activities. All such personal use is subject to and must be in compliance with this policy and all other applicable policies and may be prohibited in the future.

You must obey copyright and other intellectual property laws when using the Communications Systems. Those laws prohibit the reproduction and distribution of the intellectual property of others, including movies, musical recordings, photographs, illustrations and software, unless you have authorization from the copyright owner or if it constitutes “fair use.” There should not be any illegal or copyright infringed material on Student Publications computers, including but not limited to music and movie files, software and illegal serial numbers and cracks.

Personal computers, such as laptops, may be used in the Student Publications offices but employees may not use this access to gain or trade copyrighted material.

Only properly licensed and Student Publications-sanctioned software may be used on the Communications Systems. You may not download or install any software or hardware products onto the computers without prior approval of a member of the professional staff.

All users waive any right to, or expectations of, privacy in use of the Communication Systems, and Student Publications and/or the university reserves the right to monitor any use to prevent system misuse, ensure compliance with legal regulatory requests and enforce this and other policies.

Users should print out all e-mail messages sent or received which would normally be retained for business purposes and place them in an appropriate file.

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Alcohol, drug and conduct policy

Effective: Sept. 24, 2002; Updated: May 19, 2008

See also Removal of News Content from Digital Databases

To sustain the moral values, high ethical standards and the overall professionalism and integrity of the College Heights Herald, the Talisman, Student Publications Advertising and Cherry Creative, their employees (defined here as anyone who regularly contributes to the newspaper, magazine or agency) recognize that they should abide by appropriate standards of conduct.

WKU Student Publications holds WKU athletes, coaches, student leaders, staff and faculty to a high standard based upon their status as “public figures.” Because of this perceived status, the Herald has published stories – rather than including the items in the regular listing of police reports – when athletes have received DUIs and/or have been cited or charged with crimes such as the possession of drugs or stolen parking permits.

Consequently, WKU Student Publications employees also must hold themselves to those higher standards and should refrain from conduct that reflects adversely upon the Herald, Talisman, Advertising and Cherry Creative or that adversely affects their ability to effectively perform their duties at WKU Student Publications.

Alcohol, drugs prohibited

Student Publication employees may not bring alcoholic beverages or any form of illegal drug into the Adams-Whitaker Student Publication Center, nor may they permit any persons accompanying them to possess alcohol or illegal drugs.

Student Publications employees may not enter the office if they are intoxicated or inebriated or have consumed any amount of alcohol or drugs that would alter their thought process, slur their speech or cause them to engage in disruptive behavior.

Student Publications employees shall not drink when working on an assignment. Even after the interviews, photos and/or sales are completed, the employee shall not engage in behavior that would adversely reflect on the Herald, the Talisman, Advertising or Cherry Creative.

Reporting, due process

Should a Student Publications employee violate any of these conditions, he or she will be required to meet with his or her division’s student leader, who will decide if the behavior warrants an unpaid suspension or removal from the staff. If placed on suspension, the employee may return to the staff, but the employee is not guaranteed that he or she will return to the same position.

Should a student leader violate one of the policies, he/she will be required to meet with the full editorial board and notify them within 48 hours thereof. He/she will then meet with the adviser and the Director of Student Publications to determine if behavior warrants any disciplinary action. If the editor-in-chief of the College Heights Herald or the Talisman is involved in such an incident, all of the above applies; additionally, the matter will be referred to the Student Publications Committee for consideration of whether the incident warrants suspension or removal of the editor-in-chief. Incidents involving the Cherry Creative director or Student Publications Advertising manager will be handled the same as other leaders, with the exception of the editors-in-chief, in that the ultimate action will be determined by the adviser and the Director of Student Publications.

Should a Student Publication employee receive a DUI charge, any charge or citation related to public intoxication or any charge related to the possession, distribution or abuse of illegal drugs, that staff member is obligated to notify his or her area’s student leader as soon as possible, in no case longer than 48 hours from the incident. That employee may be subject to an unpaid suspension of a minimum of 30 days or removal from the staff. If the employee is suspended, reinstatement will be effective only after a meeting with the immediate supervisor and the editor-in-chief and a determination by the editor that the employee is willing to abide by this policy and uphold the integrity of WKU Student Publications.

Should an employee fail to report his/her arrest or citation to the editor-in-chief and the arrest/citation is discovered later, that employee shall be removed from the staff. In an instance involving the editor-in-chief, the editorial board, in consultation with the adviser, shall institute sanctions that may include, but are not limited to, suspension or a recommendation to the Student Publications Committee for removal.

Application of Policy/Confidentiality

This policy is the internal operating policy of Student Publications and is not intended to be a part of or supersede any policies of the University. Any actions taken in accordance with this policy shall be separate from any University action.

News Coverage

Herald, Talisman, Advertising and Cherry Creative employees are held to a higher standard than regular students because of the nature of their jobs. But they aren’t necessarily public figures. If a staff member is arrested for a DUI or other drug- or alcohol-related crime, or for any other crime, that staff member must inform his or her student leader. The charge against that staff member will be included in the crime reports. Otherwise, depending on the nature of the arrest or charge, no other coverage may be necessary. If the staff member who is arrested is a member of the editorial board or a highly visible position, a more prominent story will be published.

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Revised February 2013, July 2021. This appears elsewhere as a form you must fill out and sign.

As a condition of being a member of the College Heights Herald, Talisman, Student Publications Advertising or Cherry Creative staff, I hereby understand and agree that the Western Kentucky University Office of Student Publications has joint copyright to any work subject to copyright that I create or prepare and submit for publication in either the Herald or Talisman, for any medium, including items not published or otherwise used.

Such rights shall be granted to Student Publications in perpetuity, allowing publication of my work in projects created or commissioned by WKU Student Publications in any medium.

Additionally, Student Publications may allow my work to appear in third-party publications in order to promote WKU Student Publications. The Office of Student Publications will not distribute my work to other WKU offices and departments for uses unrelated to Student Publications.

For the purpose of use of this material by Student Publications, I understand that I will be compensated for a work one time only.

I understand that I will retain resale rights for my work, allowing me to sell my work to approved third parties, including but not limited to other WKU offices and departments.

I understand that I must receive written approval from the current editor-in-chief of my assigning publication, student leader of my division or the Director of Student Publications before selling work originally created for the College Heights Herald or Talisman to another publication. I will not, under any circumstances, be permitted to sell my work to any publication in direct competition with the Herald and/or Talisman. Likewise, when on assignment for the Herald or Talisman, I understand that I am obligated to submit my work first to the assigning publication before submitting the work to any other party.

Additionally, work published in a third party must credit the student publication that I work for in addition to myself. For example, “AP photo by John Doe via College Heights Herald” or “By John Doe, College Heights Herald.”

The term “work” includes articles, photographs, illustrations, cartoons, designs and any other creative work. A “work” shall be considered to be one article, one photograph, one illustration, and likewise. Multiple stories in a package or multiple photos in a take will be considered to be multiple works.

Furthermore, if the Herald wishes to publish work originally used by the Talisman in the same academic year, or vice versa, the publication wishing to republish the content must receive written permission from the current editor-in-chief of the assigning publication.

Finally, I understand that I retain all rights to use my work for my own personal portfolio or for entries for contests, scholarship programs, internship programs and job searches. Such rights include publishing my work to a personal blog or online portfolio, as well as sharing work with story subjects after publication. I will not be required to seek permission from an editor for such uses of my work; however, I will not allow such use to reflect poorly upon the image and brand of the College Heights Herald, Talisman or WKU Student Publications.

I understand that if I breach any portion of this agreement I will, at minimum, be suspended from staff for the longer of either two weeks or two deadline cycles.

  • Sign to indicate that you understand the agreement and don’t have any questions.