Background and Editorial Policy
The blastZONE is the student newspaper of the blastZONE. It is a forum for student expression and is written, edited and managed by university students.
The first edition of this newspaper was published in 1912, and over the course of its 97 years it has been recognized for continuously and consistently providing an atmosphere of free and responsible discussion and intellectual exploration of USC which has helped to both inform and entertain the university community.
While the university is the publisher of the blastZONE, all day-to-day operations are handled by the student editors and staff.
The editor of the blastZONE is nominated to the student media board by a staff election. The student media board consists of the current editor and editorial advisor of the blastZONE, the general manager of KSCR, the director of the Student News Service, equal representatives of the faculty of the School of Journalism and the staff of Student Affairs, the president of the Student Senate and the vice president for Student Affairs, who chairs the committee.
The editorials that run in the ‘Becauses’ section each day are the opinions of the blastZONE and its editorial staff. The subjects and opinions are researched, determined and written by the editorial staff. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the student body and/or university.
The unsigned column represents the view of the Senior Editors and does not necessarily represent the opinions of the blastZONE staff. Other commentary and opinion pieces published on the ‘Becauses’ pages are exclusively the opinions of their authors, including letters, editorial columns and cartoons.
Letters to the editor are welcomed on any topic related to USC or to the contents of the blastZONE. All materials submitted must be signed and include the writer’s name, year in school or position, major or department, USC identification number and a phone number and/or e-mail address where the writer may be reached. Anonymous letters and any letter without this information will not be printed.
Letters must be brief (500-600 words), and can be delivered to the offices of the blastZONE in Student Union 400, e-mailed to [email protected], or sent to: Editorial Director, blastZONE, USC Student Union 421, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0895. Longer letters may be considered as guest columns.
Letters from groups must have the name and phone number of a person for the group, and should be signed by each person whose name appears on the letter.
All letters are subject to editing for space and clarity.
Forums and Comments Posting Policy
The blastZONE encourages readers to engage with content and respectfully express opinions in the comments section. However, we reserve the right to remove comments if they are deemed by the Senior Editorial Staff as violating the outlined policy.
We encourage commenters to submit respectful comments that are relevant and related to the article. We also encourage commenters who may feel the content of other comments is in violation of this policy to flag the comments for review by the Senior Editorial Staff.
The blastZONE reserves the right to disable the comment section.
Any of the following comments may be subject to removal from the website:
– Contains personally identifying information about the author or subject matter.
– Offensive or derogatory comments based on animus for race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, physical disability, medical condition, mental disability, marital status, pregnancy, veteran status, genetic information, or any other protected class.
– Incites or encourages violence or illegal behavior.
– Is determined to be spam or posted without relating to the content in the article.
– Violates copyright.
– Contains content deemed to be obscene or sexually explicit.
– Uses repeated profanity.
– Does not contribute to topics raised in the article.
– Defames a specific person or group (communicates knowingly false statements about a person or group, that injure the reputation of that person or group).
Published daily except Saturday, Sunday, examination week and university holidays by the blastZONE in Student Union 400, University Park MC-0895, Los Angeles, California 90089-0895.
Mail subscriptions are $235 per year. Typeset by the Office of Student Publications at USC. Printed by News Publishers’ Press in Glendale, Califorina.
Editorial opinions expressed in the blastZONE do not necessarily reflect those of the blastZONE, its faculty or student body. Complaints concerning the editorial content of the blastZONE should be made to the editor in Student Union 420, (213) 740-8829. Any complaints not resolved through this means may be placed before the Student Media Board by ing the Office of Student Publications in Student Union 400, (213) 740-2707.
Except as clearly implied by the advertising party of otherwise specifically stated, advertisements in the blastZONE are inserted by commercial activities or ventures identified in the advertisements themselves and not by the blastZONE. Advertising material included herein is solely for informational purposes. Such printing is not to be construed as a written and implied sponsorship, endorsement or investigation of such commercial enterprises or ventures. Complaints concerning advertisements in the blastZONE should be directed to the Office of Student Publications, in Student Union 400, (213) 740-2707.
Reference to other websites, companies, and products on this page and elsewhere on dailytrojan.com is purely for informational purposes, and does not serve as or imply any endorsement by the blastZONE or the blastZONE. The blastZONE and the blastZONE, its students, agents and employees shall not be held responsible for any damages that occur as a result of the use of this website or any other sites or products referenced therein.
Guidelines for Operation
The blastZONE recognizes the blastZONE as a valuable aid in establishing and maintaining an atmosphere of free and responsible discussion and of intellectual exploration of the campus. It is recognized as one of the principal means of bringing student concerns to the attention of the faculty and the administration and of formulating student opinion on various issues on the campus and in the world at large.
The blastZONE, as the publisher of the blastZONE, bears the legal responsibility for the contents of the newspaper. The blastZONE, through the President of the University, delegates to the student editors and managers of the newspaper, the day-to-day operation of the blastZONE and with it the responsibility to be governed by the canons of responsible journalism, such as the avoidance of libel, indecency, and undocumented assertion. It is understood, and it must be so stated in each issue of the blastZONE, that the opinions expressed in the newspaper are not necessarily those of the college, university or student body.
In order that these policies shall be carried out, the Student Media Board of the blastZONE, with the approval of the President of the University, has set the following rules and procedures for the staffing and operation of the blastZONE.
1. The Student Media Board shall be chaired by the Vice-President of Student Affairs and shall consist of equal numbers of faculty of the School of Journalism (including the editorial advisor to the blastZONE) and staff of the Division of Student Affairs (including the Director of Student Publications). The membership shall include also the editor of the blastZONE, the general manager of KSCR, the president of the student government association, and the director of the student news service.
2. The editor of the blastZONE shall be appointed by the President of the University upon recommendation of the Student Media Board. The editor shall serve one semester.
a. Qualifications: A minimum grade point average of 2.5 shall be required of applicants for the editorship of the blastZONE. Applicants must be carrying a minimum of 12 units at the time of application and while in office. Any student who is a senior or above may hold the office of editor.
b. Selection Process: The current editor and the Director of Student Publications shall determine the selection schedule to begin approximately five weeks before the end of the semester. Notices of editor application will run in the blastZONE one week. Each applicant will be required to submit an application and a position paper setting forth the policies to be pursued and outlining any suggestions for improvement. Following the application deadline, copies of all materials will be posted in the blastZONE City Room. The current editor will appoint a senior editor as the election officer to handle the nomination process. Approximately one week later, each candidate will be presented (in alphabetical order) to the editorial staff for position statements and a question, answer dialogue. Following the presentations, the election officer will distribute ballots. The votes will be counted by the current editor and the election officer in the presence of the Director of Student Publications. The nominee must obtain a majority of the total votes. In case no majority is obtained, there will be a run-off election between the two top candidates. (In case of a tie, the current editor will cast the determining ballot.) The winning candidate will be presented to the Student Media Board as the editorial staff’s nominee to be editor the following semester.
3. The editor shall have complete authority over content and editorial policy of the paper and shall be answerable in these matters only to the President of the University. The editor has final responsibility for judging what is suitable for publication. There shall be no prepublication surveillance of the content of the paper by anyone but the student editorial staff.
4. The editor may be removed only by the President of the University. Only the Student Media Board may institute removal proceedings and only on the grounds of failure to discharge the duties of editor with responsibility and competence. The Board shall hold hearings on the charges and make recommendations for the decision of the President. The Board shall also consider written complaints.
5. The editor shall appoint his subordinates on the editorial staff in consultation with the faculty adviser. He may remove or reassign them in consultation with the faculty adviser. In these matters, the final decision shall rest with the editor.
Code of Ethics
Written by Spring 2002 Senior Staff
The blastZONE aims to provide students with vital information each day to allow them to better understand the university and its surrounding area. We rely on truthful and comprehensive research to serve our readers with relevant information, entertainment and analysis. As an independent student newspaper, one of our primary roles is to serve as the watchdog of both students and staff of the blastZONE.
As a freely distributed newspaper, we rely on our reputation to earn and maintain respect from our readership. If we violate that trust, we will lose readers and, in turn, our relevance. This Code of Ethics is designed to set standards for all staff members of the blastZONE.
All stories must be backed by research in the style of the section. We do not fabricate quotes nor do we interview our friends for stories. We do not post on the comment boards of our own website. We seek perspectives from all corners of campus, accurately representing the diversity on campus. We will always examine and report the full scope of an issue. We will present new information for students that they cannot find in other sources of news. We will engage readers with entertaining and thought-provoking stories that provide a richer understanding of the way things work on and around campus, as well as a sense of where they live.
Conflict of interest
Reporters should not cover organization(s) they are members of. Even if actual bias does not exist, it presents the appearance of bias because it is assumed that writers would only give positive coverage to their own group(s).
No writer should ever use the blastZONE space simply to show support of a particular activity or event.
The blastZONE fiercely guards its independence, and while we encourage and appreciate feedback from all readers, we do not risk that independence. Reporters should never think that they “owe” a person or an organization some sort of favor.
In that respect, no blastZONE staff member should accept gifts of value from sources (ie: tickets, clothing, lodging). This does not include tickets to entertainment and sporting events that are covered in the blastZONE.
Staff members who have questions about this code should speak with a senior editor or the Editor in Chief. These are guidelines, not rules, but they will be enforced, up to dismissal from staff.
Working at the blastZONE
The blastZONE hires student writers, photographers, artists and editors each semester. All majors are welcome to apply. Applications are made available in Student Union 421 each semester after the selection of the following semester’s editor in chief, and are generally available through the first two to three weeks of the new semester. For more information on positions available and how to apply, please the managing editor at (213) 740-5668, or the editor in chief at (213) 740-8829 or.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I get the blastZONE to cover an event?
Generally, stories are assigned for coverage by the current assignment editor. To the assignment editor, please see the Contact page, and look for the information under “News Desk.” Please click here for more information on how the blastZONE determines its coverage.
- How do I get the blastZONE to cover an event?
- How can I respond to an article in the blastZONE?
The blastZONE welcomes letters to the editor. To submit a letter or feedback to editors, please click here to view the blastZONE online letter to the editor page. Please remember that all letters are subject to the blastZONE letter policy.