Integrity in Broadcasting Statement

G1.21 Integrity in Broadcasting Statement

The Board of Governors of Missouri State University is licensee of both radio and television broadcasting stations.  This statement is intended to give guidance to the Administration of the University and to the management of the University's stations, and to articulate the policy of the Board with regard to integrity in broadcasting.

  1. Integrity should be an essential characteristic of every activity undertaken by this institution.  The Board directs that program decisions be made by professionals, on the basis of integrity and intellectual honesty, and in keeping with the spirit of this document.  We recognize that the University's broadcasting activities benefit the University only if they are perceived to be of quality, integrity, and honesty.  Therefore, undue influence by any University official or by individual members of the Board on the program decisions of professionals is to be avoided as an erosion of editorial integrity, and any such interference in the editorial integrity of the professional staff is to be reported to the Board of Governors.
  2. We operate broadcasting stations as a part of the public affairs mission of this institution, not as a part of the public relations apparatus of the University.  While we hope to encourage Missouri citizens and opinion leaders to think well of this University, we intend for that opinion to be a result of the quality, integrity, and inherent value of our program services.
  3. We recognize that the primary responsibilities of any broadcast licensee are service to the public and meeting needs of the communities served by the licensee's stations.  Serving public needs takes precedence over all else, including service to the University itself.
  4. We recognize that controversial issues are at the core of many important educational activities.  We therefore urge the managers of our broadcast properties not to shy away from presentation of controversial issues.  We also recognize that few such issues can be neatly compartmentalized and that there may be many shades of opinion which are at the root of the controversy.  We expect that controversial-issue programming will be balanced in the long run.  Although we expect that some listeners and viewers may object to one or more positions expressed in such programming, we find value in challenging listeners and viewers to expand their understanding, for we believe that subtlety and ambiguity are often the essence of important issues.
  5. As an important part of this institution's public affairs mission, we believe it is essential that the citizens of Missouri be able to participate fully and intelligently in the political process.  We urge the managers of our broadcasting stations to allow significant presentation of the views of participants in the political process and for discussion of issues of importance to wise governance of this State.  We require that such presentations be fair and impartial, and that time for participants be allocated in accordance with the highest professional standards and in accordance with the law.
  6. While the University has the primary responsibility for the fiscal integrity of its stations, we recognize the need for support from the audience, from business, and from other sources.  We require that our managers conduct all fundraising activities with the highest degree of integrity and professionalism.  Precautions are to be taken to protect the privacy of donors.  While we value public and business support, we believe it is appropriate that no donor or group of donors should be allowed to influence the program decision-making of the professional staff.
  7. We encourage the staff of our broadcasting stations to participate in community groups, service clubs, charitable activities, and other endeavors which will bring them into contact with members of the public so that they will be more fully aware of community issues and concerns.
  8. In any case in which issues of integrity arise, we urge the management of our broadcasting stations to consult with professional peers and with leaders of public broadcasting organizations to assure that such issues are appropriately resolved in the public's interest and in the interest of public broadcasting generally.  We urge University administrators to respect the judgment of public broadcasting professionals in evaluating the performance of our stations and our professional broadcasting employees.
  9. Because the Board of Governors is the licensee and therefore has primary responsibility for the operations of the stations whose licenses we hold, we require that an annual report be presented to the Board, and that an updated Long-Range Plan for the operations of our stations be presented on an annual basis.
  10. We urge the administration and the broadcasting staff to consult with respected public broadcasting professionals to provide an annual evaluation of the operations of our stations, and that a report of such external review be presented annually to this Board. (Board Policies No. 29-01; Bd. Min. 7-20-01.)