As publisher, I worked on the leadership team of North by Northwestern for several years and often with many editors-in-chief and lead magazine editors.
While North by Northwestern had a style guide assembled over years of editors’ contributions, one of my frustrations was that we did not have a consistent set of editorial policies. Unlike a style guide, editorial policies help to guide and determine decision-making by editors on larger issues, often involving ethical and legal considerations.
Towards the end of my tenure as publisher, I wrote a set of editorial policies derived from:
- my experience handling sensitive issues for North by Northwestern;
- discussions with previous North by Northwestern editors;
- stories from peers at Northwestern and other large university publications and anecdotes from Medill professors and alumni;
- consultations with present and former North by Northwestern editors and contributors.
I also reviewed
- the BuzzFeed News standards and ethics guide;
- the BBC editorial guidelines; and
- the Washington Post policies and standards.
The editorial policies were immediately useful to subsequent North by Northwestern staff after I stepped away from the publication, as it was consulted by editors and other student leaders in helping determine the coverage of sensitive issues in the North by Northwestern magazine.