Tools and Resources

The Heights is a 102-year-old organization with a century of tradition and procedure. Below you will find details on how we operate, as well as our values and goals. We hope that this page will answer any question that you may have about our organization, but if it does not, please reach out to us at [email protected].

Community Guide

Mission Statement

The Heights mission, “For a Greater Boston College,” has not changed since our first issue was published in 1919. We strive to report any and all news pertaining to the Boston College community as accurately as possible in order to keep the community informed and to document the events at BC. The policies and procedures that guide our work can be found on our editorial policies page.

The Heights is financially independent from Boston College and it is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. We finance our operations through the sale of advertisements and from donations.

Editorial Advisory Committee

The Heights is advised by a committee of alumni who periodically review Heights articles for style, accuracy, and content, and also advise the editorial board on any improvements they deem necessary. The Heights is fully independent and student-run, and editorial decisions are made solely by the student journalists. 

Heights editors are not permitted to be members of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College, Campus Activities Board, or any on-campus political organization. Editors are barred from reporting on any subject with which they have a conflict due to either a club membership, on-campus job, or personal or romantic relationship.

 

Editors and reporters are not permitted to receive a contribution from any source. No member of The Heights is permitted to share their personal feelings about any subject publicly, on social media, or with a source. 

Every January, the incoming board contacts individuals who have been sourced in stories over the past year with a survey. The survey inquires about their experience being interviewed by The Heights, if they were reported on accurately, and what the newspaper can do to better serve the University community. 

The Heights recognizes that it is not a diverse enough organization. The organization and its current leadership are committed to addressing and rectifying these shortfalls going forward in order to better report on issues regarding diversity and inclusion. This section of the website will be updated as this issue is addressed going forward.

A diversity and inclusion report on the 2021 board and staff will be made available here once a survey has been administered in January 2021.

The Heights is a 102-year-old organization with a century of tradition and procedure. Below you will find details on how we operate, as well as our values and goals. We hope that this page will answer any question that you may have about our organization, but if it does not, please reach out to us at [email protected].

Have a tip?

News Tips: Have a news tip or an idea for a story? Email [email protected]. to request coverage of future events, contact the news editor with a detailed description of the event, including appropriate contact information.

Sports Coverage: Email the sports editor at [email protected] with information or questions related to Boston College Athletics.

Arts Events: The Heights covers artistic events both on- and off-campus, including concerts, movies, theatrical performances, and more. For more information or to request coverage of future events, email [email protected]

Local News: The metro section of The Heights looks beyond Boston College’s campus to the cities of Boston and Newton, and their surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an idea for a story or a suggestion for event coverage, contact the metro editor at [email protected]

Feature Stories: The Heights is always looking for people from the Boston College community who are doing important or interesting work. We know there are countless stories that deserve to be told, but we do not always hear about them. If you would like your story told, or if you’d like to recommend an employee, professor, or student at Boston College for a feature, email [email protected]

Editorial Policies

The Heights strives to provide its readers with complete, accurate, and balanced information. In the event that an error is published, The Heights aims to be transparent about any corrections it makes. Errors will be corrected as quickly as possible and the incorrect information will be removed from the article. A statement noting the correction will be added to the bottom of the article with the time and date that it was made. 

If an error was made on social media platforms that do not allow posts to be edited, like Twitter, we will reply to or comment on the erroneous post with updated information. If the wording was unclear or misleading but not incorrect, we will issue a clarification by more clearly explaining the information and including a note detailing how the original information was unclear. The nature of the correction or clarification will be shared in the same form as the original information, whether social media caption or post, an article, etc.

If you believe we have published erroneous content, have information that requires a clarification or correction, or have questions about The Heights’ standards and practices, you should contact the editor-in-chief at [email protected]

Our reporters will work to provide quotes from both sides of an issue to ensure our reporting is balanced. The Heights will never publish a single-source story except for extremely rare occasions, with the approval of the editor-in-chief.

Any information included in an article, ranging from photos to text, should be sourced. If a fact or photo is not sourced, please contact [email protected]

The Heights publishes quotes from named sources which it deems to be true, based on the information available. On rare occasions, when an individual’s safety is at risk or there is a threat of retaliation, The Heights will publish unnamed sources, after they have been vetted and verified by multiple editors, including the editor-in-chief. It is our goal to use anonymous stories as infrequently as possible in order to maintain transparency and trust among our readers. A story that uses an anonymous source will explain why.

The Heights conducts the following types of interviews:

On the record: The source participates in a recorded interview where the information they provide is included in the article and directly attributed to them.

Not for attribution: A source participates in a recorded interview which is then included in a published article, but the source is only referenced using identifiers such as “a junior pre-med student” or “a sophomore baseball player,” for example.

Anonymous: A source participates in a recorded interview and the information is included in a published article, but without identifying the source in any way.

Off the record: The source participates in an interview with The Heights which is not recorded, and none of the information provided is included in a story. If a source wishes for a statement or entire interview to be off the record, they must indicate so beforehand. Information cannot be retroactively designated as off the record.

The Heights does not issue retractions.

The Heights publishes a dateline when the story was not reported from campus. If the event took place in another location, but was covered via video stream from campus, no dateline will be included. If a contributor to a story is in a different location from the reporter who is bylined on the story, it will be noted at the bottom of the story.

A source may request to see any quotes, paraphrased content, or information attributed to them prior to publication, but they cannot alter them. For non-time sensitive stories, a source will have 24 hours from the time they received the information to raise any concerns. A source may not review an article in its entirety prior to publication. Reporters also should not provide questions to interview subjects in advance of an interview, though if the source requests it, reporters may share what the general focus of the interview will be.

Journalism is not a black and white industry. Heights editors must often make decisions regarding sensitive material based on agreed upon journalistic policies which are in practice at large, reputable publications. In cases where there is not an outlined policy, a section editor will consult the managing editors and the editor-in-chief to reach a decision, and the editor-in-chief will make the final call.

Submissions and Opinions Policies

A group of Heights editors who are committed to participating in the consistent writing of editorials meet weekly to discuss campus and local issues. The editorial board always consists of the president, managing editor, opinions editor, and deputy managing editor.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Heights Editorial Board and are the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the objectivity of our publication, editors on the Editorial Board are not involved with the reporting of articles on similar topics.

Members: Owen Fahy, Maddy Romance, Lauren Wittenmyer, Maggie DiPatri, Grace Mayer, Rachel Phelan, Eric Shea, Maggie Leahy, Olivia Franceschini, and Gabriel Wallen.

The Heights welcomes op-eds from anyone in the Boston College community for our online publication as well as print publications during the academic year. Op-eds may be about anything, but must be original written exclusively for The Heights. You are not required to be an expert on the topic you are writing about it, but do include any personal background you have with the topic. Op-eds are generally accepted when the writer is able to provide a unique perspective or expertise on a topic that regularly scheduled Heights columnists have not.

The Heights may not print every op-ed. Op-ed submissions should cite all information used by the author, and should be signed. Anonymous op-eds will only be accepted on extremely rare occasions, at the discretion of the president, only after he or she knows the identity of the writer. Op-eds signed by a whole organization will only be accepted on rare occasions. Any facts and quotes in op-ed pieces will have to be verified by The Heights, and sources will have to be named in the piece. Only on extremely rare occasions may quotes and sources be anonymous, and if they are, the source’s identity will have to be shared with the president, and The Heights will have to verify the quote with that source.

Op-eds should be between 500 and 900 words. Longer or shorter pieces may be considered.

The Heights will not print any op-eds that contain personal attacks. The Heights will not print any promotional pieces.

Op-eds do not reflect the views of The Heights editorial board. They are an opportunity to share the diverse voices of the BC community.

Op-eds may be submitted to [email protected]. Please send your op-ed in the body of the email, and include your connection to BC, class year, school (if applicable, i.e. CSOM, MCAS), and contact information.

All letters to the editor are to be under 500 words and must be in response to something published in The Heights, preferably within the last 14 days. LTEs generally seek to respond to a specific article, column, or editorial. LTEs addressed to third parties, such as the administration or a student group, will not be accepted. All letters must be signed by an individual or a list of individuals, not by a group. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Those who submit an LTE should disclose any personal connection to the subject matter written about.

LTEs may be shortened for print, and they will be fact-checked and edited for clarity by Heights editors. Writers will be consulted on edits, time allowing. Not all LTEs will be printed.

The Heights has bi-weekly columnists who write about campus life, politics, and humor, among other things. Columnists are BC students, and they are occasionally former Heights editors. Applications for columnists are accepted at the beginning of every semester. For more details, email [email protected].

Cartoons are designed and created by Heights graphics editors. People from the BC community are welcome to submit guest cartoons. Submissions can be sent to [email protected]