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Our Response to Pitt-Greensburg’s New Media Guidelines

by The Insider Staff

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, we received a direct message on Twitter from Pitt-Greensburg’s official account stating the following:  

“Moving forward – with regards to using photos on social media, please ensure that all photos show that subjects are: 

  • Wearing face coverings covering both their nose and mouth. This INCLUDES subjects who are: outside, off campus, even alone. 
  • Six feet or more apart. Please keep in mind angles and perspective: subjects may appear to be less than 6 feet apart, even if they were appropriately distanced. EVERYONE pictured needs to be masked and distanced. If you require access to stock photos of students/employees adhering to this protocol, PLEASE CONTACT ME – we have them available for your use. 

If for special circumstances you must use a photo of a special event/situation from prior to the pandemic, please include the following language in the caption of your photo: “Some photos in this publication were taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and may not reflect current health and safety guidelines.”” 

You can read screenshots of the direct message in full here and here.  

First, we want to emphasize to our readers that we will not be abiding by these guidelines. This isn’t necessarily applicable to us this semester, as we’re operating remotely and not regularly taking photographs on campus. Regardless, we want you all to know that we will only publish photos which accurately represent the story we’re covering. 

Our job is to use an objective method of reporting to share the truth with students.  

This means we will not deliberately pose our subjects to make them appear as if they’re following these guidelines if they were not doing so prior to us taking the photo. 

Additionally, of course, we will not purposely manipulate our photography to make it appear that people are not following these guidelines if they were prior to us taking the photo.

Second, please remember that we are student-run, student-written, and entirely independent. Although you can join our staff for academic credit, we are not affiliated with nor funded by the University.  

The University can require that its affiliated organizations follow these guidelines but asking that we do so is a violation of our First Amendment rights as a free press.  

We were previously funded by the Student Government Association (SGA), like campus clubs, but this is no longer the case. We separated from SGA because their requirements for club funding placed undue stress on our staff. We were not receiving enough funding to justify the time it took to meet their requirements, so we are now entirely self-funded. The only revenue we make is from advertising on our Wordpress site. 

Our only obligation is to you, our fellow students and readers. 

When you’re looking at photos published on social media by the University or its affiliates, remember that they’ve been required to follow these rules. Thus, the images you see may not be an accurate depiction of their subjects, and they may be posed or staged.

If you are a student (or member of any organization) that cannot publish photos you’ve taken on campus because you’re afraid of violating these guidelines and facing repercussions, please contact us. If there are instances of students breaking social distancing or mask rules on campus, it is important that our community knows. 

Thank you for trusting us to be your source for news. We promise to only publish content that accurately depicts the stories we cover. 

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Editorial: We Need to Build Bridges, Not Break Them. – The Insider

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