What the Talon is, and What it’s Not

Since starting the Timber Creek Talon in August 2014, we’ve become a relied-upon student news service, the official Twitter account of Timber Creek High School, a driving force behind news and sports coverage at TCHS and apparently slightly misunderstood.

So, we want to explain what the Talon is, and, perhaps more importantly, what it’s not.

Who Makes up Talon

First, it’s important to note who the Talon is. Greg Janda, who teaches Journalism, Broadcasting, Newspaper and student media at Timber Creek, is the adult in charge of Talon, TCTV, TCFM and Sports Network. Kathy Beers, who teaches Photojournalism, Commercial Photography, and Yearbook, has been in charge of the award-winning The Creek Yearbook since the founding of Timber Creek. Though both Talon and Yearbook work closely together, both groups have students that help make decisions about what’s covered and what’s not.

For Talon, we list all the reporters and editors on our staff page: http://www.timbercreektalon.com/2014/08/talon-staff/

For most stories, the byline will tell you who wrote the story and give you access to their other coverage. If you see one reporter writing a lot about a certain topic, that’s likely by design — some reporters have better connections to certain topics.

If you see a TCHS Talon byline, that’s likely posted by Mr. Janda, who posts official information from administrators, testing details, or pieces where extra code is needed (like voting pieces, forms, some embed codes). If you see a Talon Editorial byline, that’s based on our editorial process, where a Talon writer or group of writers will compose an editorial, then have it reviewed by opinion editors, and eventually distributed.

On Twitter, @TCHSTalon is completely run by Mr. Janda. He serves as one Timber Creek’s campus Public Relations representatives and the campus webmaster. Information on @TCHSTalon is often provided by multiple sources, including other TCHS groups’ Twitter accounts (RT’s and Likes, Pictures), administrators, and, of course, posts by students on Timber Creek Talon.

All posts tagged with a @TCHSTalon @ symbol are seen and read by Mr. Janda and may be forwarded on to administrators as necessary.

Coverage

Our Mission Statement:
“The Timber Creek Talon is a student run news source striving to be unbiased, easily accessible and current. We are committed to ensuring every student at Timber Creek has a voice. We are by the students, for the students.”

Talon aims to cover as many groups, organizations, sports, clubs, students, teachers, community members, etc. as possible.

Sometimes we get questions about why one story was covered and another was not. It’s hard to generalize why a story is not covered, but many times there are simple reasons to why it’s not covered.

One of the main reasons is we didn’t know about the event, competition, results, awards, etc. We encourage club sponsors, student leaders, teachers, and community members to share their news tips with us via this e-mail address: tips@timbercreektalon.com

That e-mail goes to Mr. Janda and Mrs. Beers, the student editors for Talon and TCTV, and to another campus PR representative, so you’ll only need to send a single message to get your news out to those who need to know.

From there, news tips are sorted by student editors and/or Mr. Janda and Mrs. Beers to get to students for coverage. All tips are looked into and read, then students are in charge of moving forward on stories, videos, photos, or whatever the tip requires.

Sometimes a story isn’t covered because there are delays in getting information or if the event has already passed. Often, club meetings announcements get delayed due to not having enough information provided in time to post effectively.

Another challenge is that some groups do not feel Talon covers them equally. While our goal is to cover as many groups as possible, there will always be a disparity between content in different sections or about different topics. There are a multitude of reasons for why we’re unable to cover each and every activity at Timber Creek to exact same level, and Talon editors and sponsor Mr. Janda would be happy to discuss coverage choices or concerns via e-mail: editor@timbercreektalon.com

Opinions, Bias and Journalism

As noted in the Mission Statement above, Talon strives to be unbiased in the vast majority of its reporting. When there are opinion pieces published, they are located in our clearly delineated Opinion sections. Additionally, the headlines of those pieces should include EDITORIAL, OPINION, REVIEW, or another word to make certain our readers know that it is an opinionated piece.

Talon writers are students working on Journalism skills in a real-world environment, publishing to the internet. Because of this, there may occasionally be issues with the reporting, writing, editing, or some other portion.

No error posted on the Talon has ever found to be intentionally posted to damage a person, organization, program, or group. Whenever an error is found, editors note the original issue and the correction within that story.

No story ever published or even considered for coverage has been designed to damage a person, organization, program, or group. Talon members are educated about Journalism ethics, including a Society for Professional Journalist standards of “Seek Truth and Report It” and “Minimize Harm,” among others.

We strive for unbiased news, but also understand that the process of news gathering, reporting, publishing, and editorializing specific topics can give appearances of favoring specific groups. However, we hope to assure readers, through this post and other times of sharing information, that our goals are to inform the Timber Creek community, not damage it.

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