Background and Editorial Policy
The Daily Trojan is the student newspaper of the University of Southern California. It is a forum for student expression and is written, edited and managed by university students.
The first edition of this newspaper was published in 1912, and over the course of its 97 years it has been recognized for continuously and consistently providing an atmosphere of free and responsible discussion and intellectual exploration of USC which has helped to both inform and entertain the university community.
While the university is the publisher of the Daily Trojan, all day-to-day operations are handled by the student editors and staff.
The editor of the Daily Trojan is nominated to the student media board by a staff election. The student media board consists of the current editor and editorial advisor of the Daily Trojan, the general manager of KSCR, the director of the Student News Service, equal representatives of the faculty of the School of Journalism and the staff of Student Affairs, the president of the Student Senate and the vice president for Student Affairs, who chairs the committee.
The editorials that run in the ‘Opinions’ section each day are the opinions of the Daily Trojan and its editorial staff. The subjects and opinions are researched, determined and written by the editorial staff. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the student body and/or university.
The unsigned column represents the view of the Senior Editors and does not necessarily represent the opinions of the Daily Trojan staff. Other commentary and opinion pieces published on the ‘Opinions’ pages are exclusively the opinions of their authors, including letters, editorial columns and cartoons.
Letters to the editor are welcomed on any topic related to USC or to the contents of the Daily Trojan. All materials submitted must be signed and include the writer’s name, year in school or position, major or department, USC identification number and a phone number and/or e-mail address where the writer may be reached. Anonymous letters and any letter without this information will not be printed.
Letters must be brief (500-600 words), and can be delivered to the offices of the Daily Trojan in Student Union 400, e-mailed to email@example.com, or sent to: Editorial Director, Daily Trojan, USC Student Union 421, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0895. Longer letters may be considered as guest columns.
Letters from groups must have the name and phone number of a contact person for the group, and should be signed by each person whose name appears on the letter.
All letters are subject to editing for space and clarity.
Forums and Comments Posting Policy
The Daily Trojan encourages readers to engage with content and respectfully express opinions in the comments section. However, we reserve the right to remove comments if they are deemed by the Senior Editorial Staff as violating the outlined policy.
We encourage commenters to submit respectful comments that are relevant and related to the article. We also encourage commenters who may feel the content of other comments is in violation of this policy to flag the comments for review by the Senior Editorial Staff.
The Daily Trojan reserves the right to disable the comment section.
Any of the following comments may be subject to removal from the website:
– Contains personally identifying information about the author or subject matter.
– Offensive or derogatory comments based on animus for race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, physical disability, medical condition, mental disability, marital status, pregnancy, veteran status, genetic information, or any other protected class.
– Incites or encourages violence or illegal behavior.
– Is determined to be spam or posted without relating to the content in the article.
– Violates copyright.
– Contains content deemed to be obscene or sexually explicit.
– Uses repeated profanity.
– Does not contribute to topics raised in the article.
– Defames a specific person or group (communicates knowingly false statements about a person or group, that injure the reputation of that person or group).
Published daily except Saturday, Sunday, examination week and university holidays by the University of Southern California in Student Union 400, University Park MC-0895, Los Angeles, California 90089-0895.
Mail subscriptions are $250 per year. Typeset by the Office of Student Publications at USC. Printed by Gardena Valley News in Gardena, Califorina.
Editorial opinions expressed in the Daily Trojan do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Southern California, its faculty or student body. Complaints concerning the editorial content of the Daily Trojan should be made to the editor in Student Union 420, (213) 740-8829. Any complaints not resolved through this means may be placed before the Student Media Board by contacting the Office of Student Publications in Student Union 400, (213) 740-2707.
Except as clearly implied by the advertising party of otherwise specifically stated, advertisements in the Daily Trojan are inserted by commercial activities or ventures identified in the advertisements themselves and not by the University of Southern California. Advertising material included herein is solely for informational purposes. Such printing is not to be construed as a written and implied sponsorship, endorsement or investigation of such commercial enterprises or ventures. Complaints concerning advertisements in the Daily Trojan should be directed to the Office of Student Publications, in Student Union 400, (213) 740-2707.
Daily Trojan Online
Reference to other websites, companies, and products on this page and elsewhere on dailytrojan.com is purely for informational purposes, and does not serve as or imply any endorsement by the University of Southern California or the Daily Trojan. The Daily Trojan and the University of Southern California, its students, agents and employees shall not be held responsible for any damages that occur as a result of the use of this website or any other sites or products referenced therein.
Code of Ethics
Revised by Spring 2023 Senior Staff
The Daily Trojan aims to provide students with vital information each day to allow them to better understand the University and its surrounding area. We rely on truthful and comprehensive reporting to serve our readers with relevant information, entertainment and analysis. Our expectation is that all staff review and abide by the Code of Ethics without exception.
As a freely distributed print and online news outlet, we rely on our reputation to earn and maintain respect from our readership. If we violate that trust, we will lose readers and, in turn, our relevance. This Code of Ethics is designed to set standards for all staff members of the Daily Trojan.
- All stories must be backed by research in the style of the section.
- We do not fabricate quotes or intentionally misrepresent the beliefs or actions of our sources.
- We do not offer prior review by sources of full drafts of stories or quotes used from interviews.
- Anonymity for sources and writers will be considered on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the managing board; a request for anonymity must be substantiated by fears of violence or retaliation. Reporters must not guarantee anonymity to a source without first checking with their editor.
- Staff members must not post on the comment boards of Daily Trojan social media accounts.
We seek perspectives from all corners of campus, accurately representing the diversity of thought and identity on campus. Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion will span our recruiting efforts, the language we use, the sources we interview and the stories we publish.
We will present new information for students that they cannot find in other sources of news. We endeavor to examine and report the full scope of an issue. We will engage readers with entertaining and thought-provoking stories that provide a richer understanding of the USC community and surrounding neighborhoods in South Los Angeles.
In reporting, we must never prioritize speed over accuracy, and we must ensure that even breaking and timely news represents the issue as comprehensively and as factually as possible.
Any and all inaccuracies and misreported facts must be corrected promptly and visibly. Corrections are reported at the bottom of the published story, detailing the scope of the inaccuracy and the time at which the correction is made.
Responsible journalism involves gathering facts and reporting them in a forthright manner. Any story that involves an insinuation of misconduct should always be supported through interviews with multiple sources. Obtaining written documentation is encouraged. Unsupported innuendo and conjecture are to be avoided.
We must balance the public’s need for and right to information against potential harm or discomfort experienced by sources and readers. The pursuit of accountability and truth must guide our reporting, and we must serve as a watchdog for the entire University community and surrounding communities.
Stories touching on sensitive topics, including violence and misconduct of any kind, must be treated with the utmost discretion and compassion for the affected individuals or groups.
The managing board will take into account the context and goal of including identifiable faces in published photographs of sensitive events.
Conflict of interest
Reporters are discouraged from covering organization(s) they are members of. We must not interview our friends or family for stories. The managing board will exercise editorial discretion to determine exceptions to this rule, such as editorial pieces written in the first person and columns.
No writer must ever use the Daily Trojan space simply to show support of a particular activity or event to which they have a personal connection without disclosing that connection to readers.
The Daily Trojan fiercely guards its independence, and while we encourage and appreciate feedback from all readers, we must not risk that independence. Reporters must never think that they “owe” a person or an organization some sort of favor.
In that respect, no Daily Trojan staff member must accept any gifts of value from sources (i.e. tickets to events not covered in the Daily Trojan, clothing or lodging). This does not include tickets to events that are covered in the Daily Trojan.
All staff members must respect and value one another’s differences, and treat others with tact, courtesy and respect.
All staff members must strive to maintain a professional environment characterized by good working relations and an atmosphere of courtesy and mutual respect. Staff members must abstain from and actively discourage all forms of harassment, including verbal, nonverbal, written or physical abuse. The Daily Trojan does not tolerate discrimination of any form, including but not limited to racism, sexism and homophobia.
Staff must never engage in acts of sexual harassment, exploitation or abuse in connection to another member of the staff or anyone outside of the newsroom. All reports of sexual or related misconduct will be considered in full confidence by members of the managing board.
Witnesses to harassment are strongly encouraged to promptly report the incident to a member of the managing board for consideration of further action.
Staff members who have questions about this code should speak with a managing team member. These are guidelines, not rules, but they will be enforced, up to dismissal from staff. Matters that cannot be resolved internally at the Daily Trojan will be referred to the Director of Student Publications, who will communicate with the Vice President of Student Affairs.
Infringement or violation of the journalistic and/or internal standards outlined in the Code of Ethics can be reported through the incident report form — under anonymity, if requested — and will be subsequently brought up with the managing board for resolution or enforcement of penalty.
Guidelines for Operation
The University of Southern California recognizes the Daily Trojan as a valuable aid in establishing and maintaining an atmosphere of free and responsible discussion and of intellectual exploration of the campus. It is recognized as one of the principal means of bringing student concerns to the attention of the faculty and the administration and of formulating student opinion on various issues on the campus and in the world at large.
The University of Southern California, as the publisher of the Daily Trojan, bears the legal responsibility for the contents of the newspaper. The University of Southern California, through the President of the University, delegates to the student editors and managers of the newspaper, the day-to-day operation of the Daily Trojan and with it the responsibility to be governed by the canons of responsible journalism, such as the avoidance of libel, indecency, and undocumented assertion. It is understood, and it must be so stated in each issue of the Daily Trojan, that the opinions expressed in the newspaper are not necessarily those of the college, university or student body.
In order that these policies shall be carried out, the Student Media Board of the University of Southern California, with the approval of the President of the University, has set the following rules and procedures for the staffing and operation of the Daily Trojan.
1. The Student Media Board shall be chaired by the Vice-President of Student Affairs and shall consist of equal numbers of faculty of the School of Journalism (including the editorial advisor to the Daily Trojan) and staff of the Division of Student Affairs (including the Director of Student Publications). The membership shall include also the editor of the Daily Trojan, the general manager of KSCR, the president of the student government association, and the director of the student news service.
2. The editor of the Daily Trojan shall be appointed by the President of the University upon recommendation of the Student Media Board. The editor shall serve one semester.
a. Qualifications: A minimum grade point average of 2.5 shall be required of applicants for the editorship of the Daily Trojan. Applicants must be carrying a minimum of 12 units at the time of application and while in office. Any student who is a senior or above may hold the office of editor.
b. Selection Process: The current editor and the Director of Student Publications shall determine the selection schedule to begin approximately five weeks before the end of the semester. Notices of editor application will run in the Daily Trojan one week. Each applicant will be required to submit an application and a position paper setting forth the policies to be pursued and outlining any suggestions for improvement. Following the application deadline, copies of all materials will be posted in the Daily Trojan City Room. The current editor will appoint a senior editor as the election officer to handle the nomination process. Approximately one week later, each candidate will be presented (in alphabetical order) to the editorial staff for position statements and a question, answer dialogue. Following the presentations, the election officer will distribute ballots. The votes will be counted by the current editor and the election officer in the presence of the Director of Student Publications. The nominee must obtain a majority of the total votes. In case no majority is obtained, there will be a run-off election between the two top candidates. (In case of a tie, the current editor will cast the determining ballot.) The winning candidate will be presented to the Student Media Board as the editorial staff’s nominee to be editor the following semester.
3. The editor shall have complete authority over content and editorial policy of the paper and shall be answerable in these matters only to the President of the University. The editor has final responsibility for judging what is suitable for publication. There shall be no prepublication surveillance of the content of the paper by anyone but the student editorial staff.
4. The editor may be removed only by the President of the University. Only the Student Media Board may institute removal proceedings and only on the grounds of failure to discharge the duties of editor with responsibility and competence. The Board shall hold hearings on the charges and make recommendations for the decision of the President. The Board shall also consider written complaints.
5. The editor shall appoint his subordinates on the editorial staff in consultation with the faculty adviser. He may remove or reassign them in consultation with the faculty adviser. In these matters, the final decision shall rest with the editor.
Working at the Daily Trojan
The Daily Trojan hires student writers, photographers, artists and editors each semester. All majors are welcome to apply. Applications are made available in Student Union 421 each semester after the selection of the following semester’s editor in chief, and are generally available through the first two to three weeks of the new semester. For more information on positions available and how to apply, please contact the managing editor at (213) 740-5665, or the editor in chief at (213) 740-8829 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I get the Daily Trojan to cover an event?
Generally, stories are assigned for coverage by the current assignment editor. To contact the assignment editor, please see the Contact page, and look for the information under “News Desk.” Please click here for more information on how the Daily Trojan determines its coverage.
- How can I respond to an article in the Daily Trojan?
The Daily Trojan welcomes letters to the editor. To submit a letter or feedback to editors, please click here to view the Daily Trojan online letter to the editor page. Please remember that all letters are subject to the Daily Trojan letter policy.