Bennington Free Press

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The Bennington Free Press is the college's student run newspaper.

Editors

Hugh Elton - Editor in Chief - helton@bennington.edu

Henry Lyon - Managing Editor - Hlyon@bennington.edu

Connie Panzariello - News Editor - Cpanzariello@bennington.edu

S. Van der Swaagh - Arts Editor - svanderswaagh@bennington.edu

Joshua Boucher - Voices Editor - jboucher@bennington.edu

Zack Franklin - Production Manager - zfranklin@bennington.edu

Max - Web Editor - snanis@bennington.edu



The Bennington Free Press is committed to bringing relevant and valuable local, domestic, and at times international issues and perspectives. These appear in our four quarterly publications as: am up-to-date picture of cultural life on the Bennington College campus and the world at large, an up-to-date reading of the pulse and opinions of the Bennington College student body, and news of important political, economic, scientific, or sports activities.

The Bennington Free Press consists of individuals in editing positions and staff writers. These members of our organization are elected or nominated by their seniority or merit. As far as membership goes in the organization of the BFP, anyone and everyone who wishes to join must submit news, art, or opinions in line with our mission. Recruitment is simple. if you are interested in journalism, or simply have something you would like to say, in print, to the Bennington College student body or the greater community, our organization will do its best to make the BFP a platform for your freedom of speech.

By delivering four publications of the Bennington Free Press to the mailboxes, and offices of most individuals of this campus, we are spreading the words of our community members. The proliferation of information is a strong tool, and oftentimes a necessary implement in enriching any community, the free press exists for this reason.

Check us out online at Benningtonfreepress.com

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BFP Ombud

Organization of News Ombudsmen

"The mission statement of The Organization of News Ombudsmen

  • 1. The news ombudsman is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the quality of journalism by encouraging respectful and truthful discourse about journalism’s practices and purposes.
  • 2. The news ombudsman’s primary objective is to promote transparency within his / her news organization.
  • 3. The ombudsman works to protect press freedom and promote responsible, high-quality journalism.
  • 4. Part of the ombudsman’s role is to receive and investigate complaints about news reporting on behalf of members of the public.
  • 5. The ombudsman recommends the most suitable course of action to resolve issues raised in complaints.
  • 6. The ombudsman is an independent officer acting in the best interests of news consumers.
  • 7. The ombudsman strives to remain completely neutral and fair.
  • 8. The ombudsman refrains from engaging in any activity that could create a conflict of interest.
  • 9. The ombudsman explains the roles and obligations of journalism to the public.
  • 10. The ombudsman acts as a mediator between the expectations of the public and the responsibilities of journalists."

"Ideally, the ombudsman is a journalist or media expert assessing the journalistic product on a full-time basis, as a house critic, rather than operating as a PR officer in order to try and earn the commitment of the public.


In order to remove the existing skepticism in society, a news ombudsman needs to be able to operate fully independently. He has no connections with the editors and does not participate in editorial consultations. He tests the journalistic products against prevailing ethical standards and shares his analyses and unfettered judgement with the public.


When journalistic processes and products are tested against ethical standards, these standards must be open and accessible to the public, for example, through the media’s web site. The ombudsman must specify such standards in his publications. The ombudsman’s own methods must also be transparent; his statute must be public.


Another essential requirement is that the ombudsman or readers’ editor must be easy to reach and approach. The newspaper or broadcasting company must publish his e-mail address, telephone number and office hours in a clearly visible manner in the colophon and/or on its home page.


In order to promote worldwide uniformity in the role of news ombudsmen, the ethical code (Mission Statement) of the Organization of News Ombudsmen (ONO) is recommended as the basis for his operations. It should be noted in this respect that the uniqueness of each news medium, manifested in medium type and target group, can lead to certain adjustments and supplements to such a standard code.


Should an ombudsman preferably be some one from the editorial ranks? Or is an external ombudsman given preference? Some one who used to be a (general) editor has the advantage of being familiar with the editorial culture. An outsider can adopt a fully independent position, especially when appointed for a limited period of time. That is why a structure involving an editor-in-chief publishing a letter or responding to questions once a week is not ideal. Although his recommendations carry more weight in terms of policy than those of an ombudsman or readers’ editor, there is no independent and critical review.


Especially this independence is essential. In addition, the candidate must be someone who is well acquainted with journalistic practices and the prevailing customs and standards. Someone who enjoys the confidence of the editors and the general editors. In order to be credible in the eyes of the readers or viewers, he will need to adopt a critical attitude towards the editors. This implies that he will continually test the journalistic processes and products against the journalistic and ethical principles and standards of the medium concerned.


The position of a news ombudsman is still delicate, particularly among fellow journalists at the ombudsman’s own medium, who feel uncomfortable with a professional critic (“the copy police”) of their product. Full independence of a news ombudsman can aid in internal acceptance.


The public needs to have low-threshold access to some one who takes their comments and complaints seriously and who challenges the editors to give chapter and verse. This will contribute greatly to the transparency of journalism and self-regulation in the media sector."