The Student News Site of South Hills High

The Growl

The Growl

The Growl


Mission Statement

As a student-run publication, The Growl’s mission is to provide a forum that encourages authentic voices and discussion in our increasingly diverse community. We serve as a resource for the South Hills High community and beyond to report relevant, interesting and newsworthy information. The Growl staff is committed to fostering critical thinking in our reporting as well as providing diverse student perspectives. Through these endeavors, we strive to strengthen student voices.

Freedom of Expression and Forum Status Statement

Freedom of expression and press freedom are fundamental values in a democratic society. The mission of any institution committed to preparing productive citizens must include teaching students these values, both by lesson and example. For these purposes, as well as to teach students responsibility by empowering them to make and defend their own decisions, student news media at South Hills High is a designated open forum for student expression where students make all final decisions of content. Content will not be reviewed or restrained by school officials prior to publication or distribution. Advisers may—and should–coach and discuss content during the writing process, however, the editorial board will make all decisions of content.

This philosophy aligns with California’s student free expression law (California Educ. Code Section 48907), which asserts students “shall have the right to exercise freedom of speech and of the press, including, but not limited to…the right of expression in official publications, whether or not the publications or other means of expression are supported financially by the school or by use of school facilities, except that expression shall be prohibited which is obscene, libelous, or slanderous.”

Therefore, student material published on may not reflect the opinions or policies of South Hills High, and neither school employees nor the school itself are legally responsible for their content.

To view a complete copy of  our editorial policy. and staff manual, click here

Growl Staff

Visit our Staff Page for information about the current Growl Staff.

Growl Publications Code of Ethics

This code of ethics is based on the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics with additional source material adapted from the National Scholastic Press Association’s Code of Ethics for High School Journalists.

Pillar 1: Seek truth and report it.

Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Scholastic journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. Scholastic journalists should:

  • Strive for substantive stories that produce insight, generate accountability and inspire reader interest and engagement across the breadth of the school community.
  • Support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant. Welcome diverse perspectives, including rebuttals to editorial positions.
  • Recognize a special obligation to serve as watchdogs over those in power. Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless.
  • Begin the search for truth with a neutral mind and not prejudge issues or events. Discover truth through gathering facts and perspectives.
  • Use anonymous sources only if the information cannot be obtained elsewhere, and verify this information through another known source before publishing. To provide context, explain the compelling reason — danger, retribution or significant harm — for which anonymity was granted. Consider sources’ motives before promising anonymity.
  • Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing in a timely manner. Strive for balance.
  • Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it, and use original sources whenever possible. Confirm questionable sources’ assertions before publishing them. Remember that accuracy is about more than getting the facts right; accuracy also requires putting the facts together in a context that is relevant and reveals the truth. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.
  • Engage in meaningful fact-checking with editors and peers. Gather, update and correct information throughout the life of a news story.
  • Report on the student body and its interests. Avoid reporting on student media reporters and editors unless they are legitimate newsmakers. In these cases, those student journalists should have no influence on the coverage, and any conflict of interest should be disclosed.
  • Be cautious when making promises, but keep the promises they make.
  • Identify sources clearly. The school community and public are entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources. Provide access to source material when it is relevant and appropriate.
  • Identify themselves as reporters and not misrepresent themselves when engaged in a news media task. Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information.
  • Boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience, especially as it pertains to our school community. Seek sources whose voices we seldom hear and avoid over-coverage of the same subjects or sources.
  • Examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting, be aware of their biases and confront those biases consistently to ensure fair coverage. Avoid stereotyping.
  • Label opinion, advocacy, commentary and advertising clearly.
  • Tell the truth. Never deliberately distort facts or context, including audio and visual information. Technical enhancements, such as contrast and exposure adjustments for photos, are allowed so long as they don’t create a false impression or distort the truthfulness of the image. Clearly label illustrations and re-enactments.
  • Never plagiarize or fabricate information. Always attribute sources.

 Pillar 2: Minimize harm.

Ethical scholastic journalism treats sources, subjects, peers and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect. Scholastic journalists should:

  • Balance the school community’s need for information against potential harm. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness, and student journalists have an inherent obligation to consider the impact of their reporting and the best interests of their audience.
  • Show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage. Use heightened sensitivity when dealing with sources who have experienced trauma or are in distress, and reject unreasonable intrusion by student media in their lives. Balance the public’s right to know with an individual’s right to be left alone.
  • Be sensitive to the maturity and vulnerability of young people when gathering and reporting information. Protect younger students from their own poor judgment when their comments could put themselves and others in jeopardy.
  • Know the legal rights of student journalists and balance those rights with ethical responsibilities. Having the right to say something doesn’t make it right to say it.
  • Realize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than public figures and others who seek power, influence or attention. Weigh the consequences of publishing or broadcasting personal information.
  • Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity, even if others do. Know when to show restraint in pursuing stories.
  • Be cautious about identifying students accused of criminal acts or disciplinary infractions. Avoid naming minors, but even if a student is over 18, be ready to show a compelling reason for identifying that name.
  • Consider the long-term implications of the extended reach and permanence of publications, especially on our public, digital news site.
  • Report immediately to school officials any person who threatens the safety of herself or others.

 Pillar 3: Act independently.

The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public. Scholastic journalists should:

  • Establish an open dialogue with school leaders while showing courage and perseverance in defending media where students make final content decisions.
  • Maintain a respectful relationship with school administration.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.  Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
  • Accept no gifts, favors or things of value that could compromise objectivity or credibility.  
  • Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; do not pay for access to news. Identify content provided by outside sources, whether paid or not.
  • Deny favored treatment to advertisers, donors or any other special interests (such as administrators or friends), and resisted internal and external pressure to influence coverage.
  • Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.

 Pillar 4: Be accountable and transparent.

Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public. Scholastic journalists should:

  • Explain ethical choices and processes to audiences. Encourage a civil dialogue with the school community about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.
  • Respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity and fairness.
  • Acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly. Except for minor grammatical or proofreading corrections, explain content corrections and clarifications carefully and clearly.
  • Expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within their organizations.
  • Use the power of student media judiciously, and be prepared to provide rationale for any decisions or actions taken by staff members. 
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