Our code of conduct in the Media Center outlines what is required to help build and maintain a respectful and safe working environment. Everyone under Annenberg Media is responsible for holding themselves accountable for their actions while working inside the Media Center or reporting outside of the university. We are expected to treat each other and the company at large with respect without violating our colleagues’ assigned responsibilities or personal space, as indicated by the guide below.
As a functioning newsroom within the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Annenberg Media requires its employees to communicate properly and behave appropriately with one another.
Blogging and Social Media
Understand what your online presence says about you and how it reflects on Annenberg Media. If you are regularly blogging or posting on social media on behalf of Annenberg Media or while mentioning Annenberg Media, identify yourself according to your role as a reporter, producer, editor or volunteer from Annenberg Media and state that the views, opinions and thoughts you publish on your own accounts do not reflect or represent the media organization. Speak respectfully about Annenberg Media, your colleagues and faculty members online. Unless given permission by a faculty member, you are not allowed to speak on behalf of Annenberg Media as a media organization. Under no circumstances are you to reveal confidential and proprietary information about Annenberg Media, including and not limited to breaking news stories that have yet to be published.
In the Media Center, relationships between multimedia journalists, volunteers and editors are to be professional. Sometimes personal relationships form outside of the Media Center or form as a result of working in the Media Center. How colleagues interact with each other outside of work is a private matter, but this cannot cause problems that affect production within the Media Center.
Please dress in business casual attire when you report to your shift in the Media Center. That means clean, professional clothing you would wear in the workplace. Jeans are acceptable. When in doubt, ask an editor or faculty member, or think about it this way: If you were asked to cover a courtroom case or interview USC interim president Dr. Wanda Austin during your shift, would your current attire be appropriate? Costumes can be worn for special and/or seasonal broadcast segments. Anchors and reporters for Annenberg TV News and See It Live are required to wear professional attire for when they are on camera. Those reporting for The Buzz or The Rundown can dress in business casual for their on-camera appearances.
Emergency Situations on Campus
For your own safety and for the safety of your colleagues, familiarize yourself with the location of the three main exits of the Media Center in case of an emergency: the clear double doors adjacent to Studio A, the door adjacent to Studio C and the clear door near the offices on the second floor of Wallis Annenberg Hall. Take the necessary and appropriate cautions for each situation regarding a shooting, earthquake or other kind of crime and natural disaster. In the case of an active shooter on campus, run from the area where the person is located and enter a safe zone where you are not surrounded by glass, and barricade the door. Call DPS Emergency at (213)-740-4321. If you are experiencing an earthquake, drop down and take cover under a desk or a table. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and stay away from furniture and equipment that might fall on you. USC offers routine active shooter training and yearly earthquake drills on campus to prepare for such emergencies.
If you need to miss your shift due to a family emergency, please notify your editor, producer or faculty adviser. You are not required to give any details when explaining your absence. If someone else who works in the Media Center tells you they are experiencing a family emergency, please only inform their editor, producer or faculty member they report to regularly. Respect their privacy and leave out details they wouldn’t be comfortable with you sharing. Stating they have a family emergency will suffice.
As multimedia journalists, volunteers and editors in the Media Center, what you get out of your shifts in terms of production directly reflects what you put into your shifts. What you can achieve in four hours differs from person to person, but it should demonstrate hard work and a dedication to storytelling by reporting on, assisting, workshopping and/or finishing a project or projects at the end of your scheduled time in the Media Center each week. Attend all of your shifts throughout the semester on time, and notify your respective desk editor in advance if you will be missing a shift. Shifts can be made up but this should be arranged as soon as possible. Communication is key in working at a newsroom and should be reflected in our productivity, which includes regularly talking to each other on Trello and Slack with story updates. For transparency, reporters should always identify themselves as Annenberg Media reporters when reaching out to sources during their shift.
Safety while Reporting On/Off Campus
Alertness is imperative for working in the Media Center. When reporting on a nearby shooting, earthquake or similar kind of emergency situation, proceed with caution and be safe at all times. Do not jeopardize your well-being to get a story. You might want to go live on social media during a drill, while one of your colleagues might want to hide from the danger presented. Everyone has their own way of reacting to these situations and that is okay, but please be mindful of your own safety and the safety of your colleagues. When reporting in an unfamiliar and/or unsafe area, travel with a reporting partner or team. Stick together at all times, and do not attempt to travel to these areas at night unless you are instructed to by an editor, producer or faculty member, or it is specified in a reporting assignment. Please follow any COVID-19 safety guidelines that are in place wherever you are reporting.
The Media Center has a no tolerance policy on sexual harassment and assault. According to USC’s Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault policy, sexual harassment involves unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; or any verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:
Submission to such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly made a condition of an individual’s employment, appointment, admission or academic evaluation, or used as a basis for evaluation in personnel decisions or academic evaluations; or
Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or otherwise adverse working or learning environment. Refer to the university’s policy for specific examples of sexual harassment.
If you are experiencing any of the following with a fellow colleague inside or outside of the physical confines of the Media Center, please report to USC’s Office of Equity and Diversity/Title IX. Additionally, notify a student manager, our executive editor and/or faculty member you are most comfortable with speaking to. The Office of Equity and Diversity can be reached at (213)-740-5086 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The office of the Title IX Coordinator, Gretchen Means, can be reached at (213)-821-8298 or email@example.com.
Suicide can affect members of the Media Center, whether they have had suicidal thoughts themselves or have been recently affected by the suicide of someone on campus, in their family or peer group. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or fear that someone in the Media Center may be suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and tell a faculty member, editor of your respective desk or close friend you are most comfortable speaking to. You are not alone. Students can also visit the Engemann Student Health Center on campus to receive counseling. Student Counseling Services include individual therapy, crisis support, psychiatric services and consultation for students who want to reach out to a student in distress, according to USC Student Health.