The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

About The Rubicon

Mission Statement: We strive to capture the spirit of the community through its stories while inspiring deeper conversations. Above all, we stand for integrity in our pursuit to inform and engage our readers.

Equity and Inclusion Statement: Coverage about sensitive and difficult topics is an essential part of our job. We examine and reflect on personal and institutional biases to mindfully report on the community. We aim to amplify all voices, including underrepresented and marginalized voices, with care and respect. We seek to be representative and inclusive in our processes, in content published in The Rubicon (print and online), Ibid yearbook, Iris: Art + Lit, and social media channels, and within our publications classroom.

The Rubicon is the student news organization of St. Paul Academy and Summit School. We operate as a public forum for student expression, produced and edited for students by students.

  • 1712 Randolph Ave.
  • Saint Paul, MN 55105
  • [email protected]
  • (651) 696-1459

Director of Publications: Kathryn Campbell, CJE

Ethics Codes:  The Rubicon staff studies the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, the ONA Social Newsgathering Ethics Code, and the NSPA Model Code of Ethics for HS Journalists and makes policy and story decisions based on these ethical standards.

Advertising:  The Rubicon does not accept advertisements.

Anonymous Sourcing: we use discretion when reporting on issues involving student safety. Although it is always preferable to use names when reporting, there are times when it is necessary to protect those we report on. In every case, the reporter will know who the source is and will verify the information shared.

If anonymous sourcing is determined to be in the best interest for student safety, the use of grade level (ninth grader, sophomore, junior, senior) as a name designation will be the preferred method of anonymity. Use of gender pronouns (he, she, they) will be avoided. When reporting on multiple students of the same grade level, and in a story where exclusive use of grade level as a designation would be confusing, use of pseudonyms may be explored. No name of a current student will be used.

Anonymous sourcing is not used in instances that would excuse behavior consequences or if the name of a source is unknown.

Bylines: Bylines credit the individual who conducted interviews, drafted, revised and fact-checked  an assigned story. Double bylines are given to joint effort assignments.In the case of joint effort stories, bylines are listed alphabetically by last name. In print, stories that include supplemental materials from another reporter include a credit at the bottom that states “Additional reporting provided by” and the reporter’s name (online, this circumstance is considered a joint effort).  All bylines include the writer’s role on staff in a title line below the credited journalist’s name.

Standard bylines are given to contributing writers, their status stated clearly below their names.

Because editorials represent the staff’s voice and a collaborative editing process, no byline credit is given. Because of the short form nature of news-in-briefs, mini-editorials, arts briefs, and sports shorts, these are also not byline credited work.
Comments are welcomed on most stories at The Rubicon online. The Rubicon hopes this promotes thoughtful discussion. We do not permit or publish content including: Libel or defamatory statements, comments that advertise or try to sell to the community, any copyrighted, trademarked or intellectual property of others, the use of profanity. Comments will be moderated, but not edited, and will post after they are approved by the Director of RubicOnline.  It is at the discretion of the staff to close the comments option on stories.

Conflict of Interest: The Rubicon news and Ibid yearbook avoid conflicts of interest while also honoring the fact that our reporters are involved in the school and local community beyond their work on staff. Staff members avoid writing about students, teachers, student clubs, affinity groups, and organizations that they are closely involved with. The reporter is always responsible for disclosing conflicts of interest, and if a conflict of interest comes to light after publication, it does not warrant removal of the story. If it is in the best interest of a source to be interviewed by a close friend in the case of a sensitive topic, the interviewer will not write the story—they will solely conduct the interview. Unavoidable conflicts of interest are specifically mentioned at the top of the story. Photographing news events is never a conflict of interest. In effect as of 2/22/24

Name / Pronoun Use: In our student publications, it is a priority for us to be fair to the lived experience of our sources and our community. While we may clarify use through school records like Veracross, we use the name and pronouns reported to us in interviews and on surveys by the individual we are reporting on. To that end, each interview begins with a request to say and spell the person’s name and to share the pronouns they would like to see published in the story, and the reporter is transparent about where the story will be published. We do this because we understand that there are people who exist in different spaces using different names and pronouns: people may choose one set of names and pronouns with friends, or in class, or at home, and choose to use different names and pronouns when being reported on in a public forum. We honor and respect an individual’s right to choose the places where they are out and where they prioritize safety, relationship or privacy by using other names and pronoun choices. If a mistake is made in the course of reporting, a correction will be posted with a print or online story per the corrections policy. The yearbook may include multiple names and pronouns based on when an individual’s name and pronoun information was shared with staff; yearbooks cannot be edited for names and pronouns after signature printing. No changes will be made to archive stories in any publication.

Opinion:  Editorials articulate the collective opinion of The Rubicon staff, while mini-editorials, opinions pieces, arts reviews, and columns belong to the author of works published in the Opinion section.

Photo credits: Whenever possible, members of our staffs take and use our own photos. Ownership of those photos belongs to the individual, and all photos are printed with consent of the photographer. The staff prioritizes use of student-generated content in all instances. When it is not possible, a photo from SPA Smugmug or an external source—either public domain, creative commons, or fair use—will be used.

Illustrations. Illustrations are attributed to the artist. If a photo is combined with an illustration, or manipulated in any way, it is labeled as “Photo Illustration” and is attributed to the illustrator.

For credits on The Rubicon online: Any photo taken by a current publications staff member is credited with their name and linked to their staff profile. Submitted photos are credited “Submitted by” and include the name of the person who submitted the photo. In some cases, interactive elements embedded on the site cannot be credited where they are. These images are cited appropriately, in italics, at the bottom of the story.

Submission Guidelines (and Contact Us form): Opinions are welcomed as Letters to the Editor, Submitted Opinions, or a cartoon and may be published in the print or online edition.  Letters to the Editor should not exceed 400 words and Submitted Opinions should not exceed 650 words and may be edited for style. All pieces must be submitted with full name.  Cases of fraud and impersonation are prohibited and will be reported to the Dean of Students and the Discipline Committee.  Letters, opinions, and cartoons can be mailed to us, e-mailed to [email protected], or submitted through RubicOnline here.

Takedown Policy: Freedom of the Press is guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and all SPA Publications make decisions based on these free speech rights. If stories have factual errors or were published with critical context missing during the decision-making process, the editors may decide to correct or update a story per the corrections policy; however, complete stories are not taken down from the website or removed from a publication regardless of request. Taking action to remove content would be censorship of the publication. As for publication images, journalists follow a code of ethics and policy manual when it comes to coverage. Unlike the student social media policy, reporters do not have to ask permission to take photos of students or to post photos on our web and social media sites because they are used to report school news and not for personal, social use.

In order for a photo take-down request to be considered:

  • The person requesting must be the only person featured in the photo
  • Group photos will not be altered to accommodate requests
  • If it is the only photo with the story, images might be substituted if possible

The staff may decide to take down photos if they determine that a photo violates journalism ethics. We will consider requests to remove tags from stories or photos on the website, if the presence of the tag poses professional harm or causes a safety risk for the person tagged. Because tags on social media can be managed via personal privacy settings, the responsibility for keeping or removing those tags belongs to the user of personal accounts. Takedown requests will not be considered for digital archives of print publications.

Updates and Corrections:  At times, online stories will be updated as new information surfaces, and verified inaccuracies will be corrected. When this occurs, the line “This article has been revised to reflect the following update:” will be published at the bottom of the story with the date of the most recent revision and details of the change.