My name is RaeAnne Alexander, and I am enthusiastic to be Editor-in-Chief of The Kaleidoscope for the upcoming school year. I am passionate about editorial freedom, uncompromising coverage and principally, providing a platform for students to openly express their opinions. As such, I feel a great need to acknowledge any claim that may contradict this mission.
An Instagram account titled @uabforequity posted a submission on Tuesday, April 11 that made several concerning claims against The Kaleidoscope, including that our outlet suppresses and censors student voices. Additionally, the statement criticized our editorial policies.
The Kaleidoscope is a fiercely independent student-led organization. Our editorial staff has the final say in what content we publish, and any suggestion that upper administration can interfere with that process is unequivocally false. The primary mission of this outlet is to provide news and information that is of significant interest to the UAB community.
That being said, there are practices we must follow to maintain our integrity and credibility as a student news outlet. While we are happy to accept opinions and letters to the editor, contributed work must have “accuracy of facts, professionalism in writing style, relevance to audience and overall appeal of the argument,” per our own handbook. Any statements of fact must be supported by a source. Sources must be provided to the editor or reporter at the time of submission. Failure to do so will result in the submission not being published. This allows the public to make their own judgments about the information being presented and is essential for us to keep our integrity as a news outlet.
Our handbook also outlines our policy on anonymous sources, which is that “anonymous sources are not permitted unless permitted by the Editor-in-Chief.” When we publish a piece anonymously, our outlet must take full ownership and liability over any claims made in that article. It is in the readers’ best interest to have the most information about the source so that they may independently discern the source’s reliability and motivations. For those reasons, we follow the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics in reserving anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere. In the rare case that anonymity is granted, we must be able to reach out to additional sources to verify any claims and information. If we cannot find additional sources, we cannot publish that story.
Any work submitted to The Kaleidoscope is edited for brevity, clarity, tone and style. We follow the industry standard Associated Press Stylebook. Before publishing, we will work with the author to ensure they are content with these edits.
We understand the importance of lending a voice to the student body and the power of advocacy. We want to tell powerful stories, and following the above policies ensures we do so without spreading misinformation or causing harm. If you have a story you’d like to tell, I invite you to email me at [email protected]. We are always looking for new members and contributors. I am also happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.