The student news site of Davenport West High School

WHS Today

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The student news site of Davenport West High School

WHS Today

The student news site of Davenport West High School

WHS Today


For more information contact adviser Katie Choate at [email protected].

Reach out to us on our social media:

Twitter @whs_beakneye

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Youtube WHSToday/Beak ‘n’ Eye provides news and features about West High School in Davenport, Iowa. Student editors manage this web site. It also provides exclusive content from the Beak ‘n’ Eye newspaper and the Shaheen yearbook. Our goal is to publish new stories, photos and videos every week.






“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….”

-The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

“The vigilant protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American schools.”

-Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District


The WHS Student Media Editorial Policy pertains to all WHS media, including the Beak ‘n’ Eye newsmagazine, the Shaheen yearbook, and the WHSToday web site. The full editorial policy is available on

WHS Media are the official student-produced media of news and information produced by WHS Media students. WHS Media have been established as designated public forums for student editors to inform and educate their readers and to encourage an open discussion of issues of concern to their audience. WHS Media will not be reviewed or restrained by school officials prior to publication or distribution.  However, advisers may – and should – coach students and discuss content during the writing process.

Because school officials do not engage in prior review, and the content of WHS Media is determined by and reflects only the views of the student staff and not school officials or the school itself, its student editorial board and responsible student staff members assume complete legal and financial liability for the content of the publication.



As it is essential to preserve the freedom of the press in order to preserve a free society:

  • The WHS Media will serve the best interest of the students and faculty of West High School, keeping itself free from any commercial obligations distracting from this purpose; this is defined by the media itself;
  • Any decisions affecting the publications on all levels will be made by the editorial board; the adviser is allowed to give legal advice and his/her opinion, but the final decision rests in the hands of the editorial board;
  • Only the editorial board may prevent material from being published that it judges to be in violation of the media editorial policy;
  • All media will vigorously resist all attempts at censorship, particularly pre-publication censorship;
  • All media retain the right to publish any and all material attained through an interview by a staff member of the publications staff, holding that the interviewee was made aware that the information could be published in any form at any time;
  • All student media referenced in this editorial policy are designated public forums, which means that readers are encouraged to respond to the ideas published in WHS Media by submitting letters to the editor, guest columns or interviews in follow-up stories, especially when expressing differing points of view;
  • Student journalists may use print and electronic media to report news and information, to communicate with other students and individuals, to ask questions of and consult with experts, and to gather material to meet their newsgathering and research needs;
  • Student journalists may conduct surveys and polls of students’ opinions and behaviors provided that the questionnaires are anonymous, voluntary and conducted by students, not teachers;
  • WHS Media and its staff are protected by and bound to the principles of the First Amendment and other protections and limitations afforded by the Constitution and the various laws and court decisions implementing those principles, including Iowa Code 280.22 “Student Exercise of Free Expression”;
  • WHS Media will not publish any material determined by student editors or the student editorial board to be unprotected speech — that is, material that is libelous, obscene, materially disruptive of the school process, an unwarranted invasion of privacy, a violation of copyright or a promotion of products or services unlawful (illegal) to minors as defined by state or federal law;
  • Definitions and examples for the above instances of unprotected speech can be found in Law of the Student Press published by the Student Press Law Center.



  • The editorial board will consist of all student staff editors.
  • The editorial board decides on all decisions that pertain directly the WHS media and their interests.  Controversial issues, questions about policy, and formal complaints against WHS media should be brought to the attention of the editorial board.
  • All staff members are expected to conform to the editorial board’s decisions.
  • The board should thoroughly research and discuss each topic before making a decision. Each board member shall have one vote, and a simple majority rules.
  • All members of the editorial board are expected to know their duties and jobs in the room and must understand the consequences of not fulfilling said jobs.
  • All members of the editorial board and the adviser will elect a replacement for board members who have been dismissed.
  • The student editor and staff who want appropriate outside legal advice regarding proposed content should seek attorneys knowledgeable in media law, such as those of the Student Press Law Center. Final content decisions and responsibility shall remain with the student editorial board.
  • The duly appointed editors in chief or co-editors shall interpret and enforce this editorial policy.



  • The adviser is a professional teaching staff member and is in charge of the class just as in a conventional classroom situation.
  • The adviser is a certified journalism teacher who serves as a professional role model, motivator, catalyst for ideas and professionalism, and an educational resource.
  • The adviser provides a journalistic, professional learning atmosphere for students by allowing them to decide the content for the media and ensuring the media will remain a public forum.
  • The adviser guides the media staff in accordance with approved editorial policy and aids the educational process related to producing the publication.
  • The adviser educates student journalists about legal and ethical issues, and may caution students about unprotected speech, but has no power of censorship or veto except for constitutionally valid reasons.
  • The adviser will keep abreast of the latest trends on journalism and share these with students.
  • The adviser will submit the school newspaper, yearbook, and online content produced by the students to rating services and contests in order for the school publications staff to receive feedback.
  • The adviser will forward any received correspondence and/or information to the appropriate editors.
  • The adviser will provide information to the staff about journalism scholarships and other financial aid, and make available information and contacts concerning journalism as a career.
  • The adviser will work with the faculty and administration to help them understand the freedoms accorded to the students and the professional goals of the school publications.
  • The adviser will not act as a censor or determine the content of the paper. The adviser will offer advice and instruction, following the Code of Ethics for Advisers established by the Journalism Education Association as well as the Canons of Professional Journalism. School officials shall not fire or otherwise discipline advisers for content in student media that is determined and published by the student staff.



  • The West High School administration will provide the students of WHS with a qualified journalism instructor to serve as a professional role model; adequate classroom equipment, supplies and learning materials; and adequate space for a sound journalism program.
  • Monies raised by student publications will be deposited into the appropriate publication account. Bills incurred by student publications will be verified by the adviser and paid through the district business office.
  • The WHS administration will offer equal opportunity to minority and/or marginalized students to participate in journalism programs.
  • The WHS administration is not required to view and approve publication content before publishing. Questions and complaints from readers should be shared with the student editorial board.




All content decisions will be made in occurrence to the following provisions, while keeping in mind that the overall purpose, role and goal of all WHS Media is to:

  • Inform, interpret, and entertain their viewers through accurate and factual reports, where information has been thoroughly gathered and information has been completely verified;
  • Serve as an educational laboratory experience for students on staff;
  • Be accurate, fair, and impartial in its coverage of issues that affect the school community;
  • Cover the total school population as effectively and accurately as possible;
  • WHS Media will not avoid publishing a story solely on the basis of possible dissent or controversy;
  • The staff of WHS Media will strive to report all issues in a legal, objective, accurate and ethical manner, according to the Canons of Professional Journalism developed by the Society for Professional Journalists. The Canons of Professional Journalism include a code of ethics concerning accuracy, responsibility, integrity, conflict of interest, impartiality, fair play, freedom of the press, independence, sensationalism, personal privacy, obstruction of justice, credibility and advertising.
  • The media will not publish unnecessary profanity, vulgarity or demeaning epithets in student articles.
  •  The editorial board will decide whether content is considered to be profane, vulgar or demeaning or whether it is a cultural or non-vulgar slang term.
  • The editorial board reserves the right to edit quotes for unnecessary profanity or unnecessarily offensive words; quotes that have been edited will be noted accordingly when published.
  • Staff interviewers have the right to ask a source when necessary to repeat a quote without the use of profane language.


  • All writing in the media, other than letters to the editor in the newsmagazine, will be written by students of the journalism program and will not be accepted otherwise.
  • WHS students outside of the media staffs will have the opportunity to submit writing to the media.
  • Any writing submitted from an outside source for use will be accepted upon request of the editorial board or when open opportunities arise, and will be viewed by editor in chief and adviser for verification.
  • Any material submitted from an outside source can be edited by the editorial board and must comply with this policy.
  • Writing must be the original work of the writer and not previously published in any publication unless otherwise specified by the adviser and EICs.


  • All published editorials represent the consensus of the newspaper editorial board and will not include a byline.  They should be labeled as staff editorials.
  • The newspaper editorial board, which consists of the newspaper staff ’s student editors enrolled in the class, will determine the content of the editorial subject matter. The views stated in editorials represent that of a majority of the editorial board. Bylined columns or reviews represent only the opinion of the author.
  • All members of the appropriate staff may submit editorial ideas to the newspaper editorial board.  Editorials may criticize, praise, inform or interpret current events and issues.
  • The media will not publish any material for which there is evidence that the author is using the paper for inappropriate personal gain.
  • The media will endeavor to provide a chance for comment on all sides of a critical issue in the same edition.


  • Controversial issues will be covered when they are timely and relevant to readers.
  • All sides of the issue will be presented and reviewed so as to refrain from any editorial bias, with the exception of quoted opinions.
  • In news, all sides of a school, community, city, state, national, or international political issue will be presented factually so as to inform rather than promote or endorse.
  • The WHS media will not publish material that is obscene, libelous, copyrighted or invasive of privacy.
  • If legal or ethical questions persist, the issue will be brought to the editorial board, which must consider the following questions before publication of the piece:
    • What is the concern?
    • Who might be hurt by the material, and how?
    • Is the information accurate and complete? Are any important points of view omitted?
    • What reasons would you give for running the material?
    • How would you feel if the story was about you or a friend?
    • Is running the material worth the risk?  What are the alternatives?


  • All articles, graphics, photos, art, columns, pages, reviews, and other material creatively conceived, with exception to staff editorials, mug shots and cut-outs, will be bylined or credited with the producer’s name.
  • All bylined writers will be held accountable for their work.
  • If more than one person has contributed creatively to a work, they should be given credit with a byline or the phrase “additional reporting by.”


  • WHS Media will give their priority to covering school news and students at West High.
  • Major district issues and news will be priority over school news (these major issues will be decided by the editorial board).
  • The media will cover community, state, national, and international news if it is directly relevant to the school community; these stories should include a local angle.
  • The media will strive to provide coverage to all school organizations and functions whenever newsworthy.
  • When faced with the undesirable news such as student or faculty crimes, the publications will endeavor to publish the facts correctly, explain the issue, and put a stop to any speculative stories that inevitably develop.


  • Any current student, staff member, faculty member or building administrator who dies during the year will be recognized in the school media.
  • The media will publish factual information (date of birth, date of death, survivors, organizations, hobbies, interests) in a 300-word obituary including one mug shot if possible in the Beak ‘n’ Eye and
  • The school media will work to obtain permission from the deceased’s family before publishing any information regarding the cause of death. If permission is not granted, the editorial board reserves the final say in publication of cause of death. Suicide will not be listed as a cause of death.
  • The school media will treat all deaths in a tasteful, respectful way.
  • An issue, or portion of an issue, should not be dedicated to or in memory of the deceased.
  • Any current student, staff member, faculty member, or building administrator who dies during the year will be recognized in the school yearbook.
  • The school yearbook will publish factual information (date of birth, date of death, survivors, organizations, hobbies and interests) and one 1” x 2” mug shot if possible in a 1/8 page space.


  • All cutlines (captions) will record the “who, what, when and where” plus and other necessary information in the photo in sentence style.
  • All photographs must be captioned and bylined, with the exception of mugs and cutouts.
  • Bylines are required on all online photos and galleries.
  • Artwork represents the interpretations of the artist, not necessarily of the staff or WHS.
  • Any photographs that contain any inappropriate attire or actions must be reshot.
  • The publications will not publish any photos, illustrations etc. that unfairly ridicule, demean, or misleadingly represent any individual or group.  Libel, obscenity, and invasion of privacy laws apply to photos and illustrations.
  • Electronic manipulations changing the essential truth of the photo or illustration will be clearly labeled if used. This should not be done for news photos.
  • Contributed photos may be used by permission of the original photographer or owner. Copyrighted material may not be used without written permission.


  • Concerns about errors in the school media may be submitted though the adviser; the phone number to the publication room is 563-723-5600 ext. 202;  and e-mail is [email protected].
  • The editorial board retains the right to determine whether, in fact, an error has been made.
  • Known and or found errors that are brought to the attention of the school media will be addressed regardless if realized by author, audience, or staff member.
  • Staff members will strive to correct errors prior to publication; however, if the editorial board determines a significant error is printed, the editorial board will determine the manner and timeliness of a correction.
  • The editors and adviser determine major corrections.
  • If changes are made to a web story once a story has been posted, the change will be noted along with the date and time the change was made.


  • The publications will not accept advertising for products that are illegal for students to purchase and/or use.
  • Students whose photographs appear in an advertisement of the publications are required to sign a model release form, as well as their legal guardian if they are under legal age of consent.
  • The publications will not run advertising without a proper signature on the advertising contract, which explains terms of payment, content, size, publishing dates, includes attached layout which explains the terms of payment, content, size.
  • The publications will not accept personal ads or classified advertising.
  • All ads need to be approved by editorial board; the board reserves the right to deny advertising that it believes to be offensive, false or misleading, or not age-appropriate.
  • The publications will cease to publish advertising of any advertiser that does not meet payment obligations specified in school contact.
  • If a published advertisement is incorrect in substantive content, a reduced price or corrected run will be negotiated.
  • Web ads appear in a specified section of the web site and randomly rotate through the area each time the page is refreshed.
  • Advertisers who specifically purchase web ads, as opposed to being given the complimentary one, will have their ad appear more frequently in the designated area.
  • Advertising that appears in the WHS Media is not necessarily endorsed by the media or its staff members, editorial board, adviser, or the school district.
  • All ads are billed quarterly unless alternative arrangements are made with the adviser.
  • Unpaid bills will be assessed a 1.5% late fee per month and further advertising may be cancelled.


  • Students will update the web site throughout the week during the school year. While less frequent, updates will be made to the site during breaks.
  • The newspaper will be printed on tabloid size paper with at least 8 pages per issue or in newsmagazine format with at least 16 pages. The number of pages can however be altered if need be under the decision of the adviser and/or editorial board.
  • The school newspaper will be distributed free of charge to all students according to a distribution schedule approved by the adviser and editors. Newspapers will be distributed every four weeks, unless specified otherwise by the adviser and editorial board.
  • Current copies of the school newspaper will also be displayed in the library, main office, guidance office and in Room 202.
  • Advertising revenues and fundraising are to be used to pay for the school media printing costs, supplies and other media expenses.  The school district also contributes annually to the newspaper fund based upon the rate of $4 per student enrolled at West High.
  • All budget surpluses are to be used for future production of the school media.
  • The school newspaper does not accept subscriptions; however, the print edition is available online at
  • Total press run each issue is approximately 2,100 unless specified otherwise by adviser or editorial board.
  • Exchange publications are received and displayed in journalism laboratory.
  •  The school yearbook will be sold at a cost to be determined by the adviser and yearbook editorial board from registration until March 1. Extra copies of the book will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Total press run of the yearbook will be determined by the adviser and yearbook editorial board.


  • Senior portraits must be taken by company specified by yearbook staff.
  • All senior portraits must arrive to the yearbook staff by the posted date given to the yearbook staff by the senior portrait photographer.
  • Any senior who fails to get their yearbook portrait taken by the senior photographer contracted by the yearbook staff, will not be pictured in the yearbook senior section.
  • Portraits provided by the school photographer will be used for students in grades 9-12 and for the faculty members. Because of plant deadlines and the possibility of students missing portrait day, the yearbook staff is not responsible for unavailable portraits of students.
  • The section/grade placement of student portraits will be determined by the student’s first semester status.
  • Grade designations will only be changed with written permission by student, student’s parent, and a member of the administration.
  • Photo omissions will only occur for students or faculty with written permission by the student and a member of the administration.
  • Editorial board reserves the right to review or omit questionable or inappropriate portraits.
  • Names in mugs section will appear as supplied by the student during portrait day unless otherwise requested.
  • Portraits will consist of one individual only. No other persons or props are permitted.


  • Any groups with school sponsors are eligible to take a group photo for the yearbook.
  • Yearbook will cover school sponsored, board approved, and established clubs/sports. The editorial board will review all other sports or clubs.
  • Editorial board reserves the right to review or omit questionable or inappropriate portraits.
  • Portraits will consist of group members and sponsors only. Props are not permitted without prior approval.
  • Face painting or signs are not permitted in group portraits.


  • Letters to editor will be printed in the opinion section of the newspaper or on the web site.
  • Guidelines to write letters to the editor will be printed every issue in the opinion section of the paper and available online at
  • Letters to the editor may be submitted to Mrs. Hansen’s mailbox, Room 202 or emailed to [email protected].
  • Letters to editor usually should not exceed 300 words, must be signed and must include writer’s address and phone number for verification.
  • Letters to the editor will be verified by a member of the editorial board to determine the authenticity of the writer.
  • No material will be printed where content is libelous, obscene, invasive of others’ privacy, or encouraging physical disruption of school activities.
  • The WHS Media editorial board reserves the right to withhold a letter, column or other submission and/or return it for revision if it contains unprotected speech or grammatical errors that could hamper its meaning. Deadlines for letters and columns will be determined by each year’s student staff, allowing sufficient time for verification of authorship prior to publication.
  • All letters to the editor become the property of the school newspaper upon receipt and will not be returned to the author.
  • Online comments will require a name and an e-mail address that are verifiable.
  • Online comments will automatically post.
  • Alerts will be sent to staff editors each time a comment is posted to the site.
  • Online comments that are found in violation of the editorial policy will be removed as quickly as possible. Violators may be banned from further postings.
  • Personal attacks and name-calling are not allowed.


  • Reviewers must have experience in the area in which they are reviewing.
  • All reviews will be bylined and all reviews will be expressed opinions of authors; the editorial board and newspaper staff does not express opinions on the subject matter.
  • The purpose of all reviews will be to evaluate and inform, not to promote.
  • The editorial board will determine if the evaluative criteria in a review is valid depending on whether the event or item being reviewed is professional or amateur in nature.
  • All members of the WHS media may submit review ideas to the editorial board.
  • All reviews must first be reviewed by the opinions editor prior to publishing.
  • All reviews need to be reviewed and printed in a current and timely manner.


  • Social media such as Facebook and Twitter will be used in an engaging, timely way to promote WHS Media and its published content to the WHS community.
  • The editorial board reserves the right to remove comments that violate any provisions outlined by this policy.
  • Information posted on social media platforms should be held to the same standard as all other reporting in terms of information gathering and fact checking.
  • The official social media accounts should avoid the promotion of events and remain objective, reporting what is fact. Reporters using personal social media to cover events should do the same.
  • Information gained through social media channels should be verified through multiple channels before passing it along to others.
  • Audience engagement through social media should be done in a professional manner.
  • Staff members using applications to post updates to social media accounts should have separate applications for their personal account and for the school media accounts. This will limit the chance of a post being sent from the wrong account.
  • Transparency is important. Mistakes made on social media posts should be corrected as soon as possible and any deleted posts should be acknowledged in subsequent postings.


  • The goal of WHS Media marketing is to promote and expand the media viewing audience.
  • The publicity team will work with all aspects of the media.
  • Contests are run by members of the staff and they are regulated by the school’s marketing team and EICs.
  • Every contest must have its own set of rules, which will be posted, in a place visible to the student body and contest participants.
  • All contest rules will be posted online.
  • All contest rules are to be tailored and agreed upon by the editorial board before start of contest.
  • Members of media staffs will not be allowed to enter or win contests put on by the publicity team.
  • The publicity team will work to attend all major events held by the district or school intended to promote student involvement in extracurricular activities.
  • All media events or important dates known by adviser, staff members or editorial board will be passed along to the Director of Marketing.
  • The Director of Marketing will work to create a marketing team for each new event.
  • Ad trade-outs are regulated by the Business Manager and Director of Marketing.
  • The Director of Marketing will work with the web team to promote the publication through outside sources such as Facebook or Twitter.


  • Sources will be able to have quotes read back at the time of interview or at reporter’s initiative.
  • Sources will not be able to arbitrarily demand to read the reporter’s completed story and then perform editing tasks on that story.
  • The media reporters will endeavor to include the name and identity of all sources. However, if the reporter reasonably believes that doing so will result in the endangerment, harassment or any other form of undue physical, mental, emotional anguish for the source, the reporter may withhold the name of the source.
  • The media reporters will not, within all boundaries of law, reveal a source who asks to remain nameless except for verification of the quote by the editor in chief.
  • All media interviewers will respect the interviewee’s right to have information remain “off the record” if the request is made before giving the information to the interviewer.
  • The media will not be reviewed by anyone outside of the editorial board aside from the adviser prior to its release to the public. The adviser is allowed to review the publication, but not required to, for the purpose of acting as consultant concerning unprotected speech and adherence to standard journalistic practices. It is not considered prior review when the adviser reads the content unless he or she makes changes to the work.  However, students are expected to revise stories that are poorly written or that contain inaccurate, biased or incomplete information until the stories meet acceptable journalistic standards.


  • All students and staff of West High School are eligible for publication in the WHS student media.
  • Any student or staff member wishing to “opt out” of being published in the student media needs to fill out the appropriate “opt out” form with the guidance office and alert the student media adviser of plans to “opt out.”
  • All reasonable efforts will be made to keep students and staff who have ‘opted out’ of coverage from publication in the WHS Media.




  • Editor in chief(s) and other editor level positions are chosen by faculty adviser, with input previous year’s editorial board.
  • New and returning staff is judged by application, previous work, potential and perquisite class work.
  • Applicants must register for at least two or more terms of Newspaper Lab or Yearbook Lab to be considered at the editor level position.
  • Applicants are not turned down because of age, race, sex, religion, mental or physical handicap that do not impair editorial responsibilities.
  • Staff applications are due in January of each year prior to registration.
  • The staff and editors are selected prior to registration each January. The adviser reserves the right to make changes to the list as he/she deems necessary after the registration deadline.
  • Editor titles and positions are not named until after all media have finalized publication for the previous year.


  • All individuals involved with WHS Media are considered a team. Each member is expected to complete all assigned stories, pages, photos, etc. on or before the assigned deadline. Staff members, including editors, may be dismissed from their positions and/or the publications staff itself if any of following violations occur:
    • Continuously missed deadlines (dismissal procedures will be initiated by the adviser and EICs)
    • Plagiarism
    • Quote falsification
    •  Vandalism or theft of publication equipment
    • Continuous negative or pessimistic attitude toward staff member or adviser
    • Submitting an advanced page design, story, photo or other publishable item to anyone outside the media staff without approval by the editorial board
    • Two suspensions in one academic year
    • Failing to fulfill job as outlined in job description
  • Major infractions will result in immediate dismissal from staff duties and dismissal from class and staff at the end of the term (major infractions include but are not limited to following: plagiarism, vandalism, theft).
  • Minor infractions will be given a written warning for the first one. The second one is immediate dismissal from staff duties and dismissal from class and staff at end of the term.
  • Warnings will be written and signed by the adviser and editor-in-chiefs, as well as staff member in question.
  • An editor will be stripped of his or her title if suspended.
  • The first misdemeanor or arrest will result in the loss of editor’s title, and the second will result in dismissal from staff.
  • Each member of the editorial board and adviser will attend a meeting with potentially dismissed student to discuss the issue, and the adviser will make final decision.
  • The academic nature of the school newspaper class allows removal of editors or staff members when school and/or established media policy is violated.
  • The above list infractions could all result in dismissal; however, staff dismissals are not limited to the listed infractions.
  • A dismissed staff member receiving academic credit may be given a grade of F and will not be allowed to register for any other journalism courses (This will not preempt school policy).
  • Dismissal procedures are reviewed and approved by the editorial board.
  • The dismissed staff member may appeal his or her dismissal in writing to the editorial board within three school days following dismissal.
  • All dismissal appeals will be directed to the building principal and the editorial board.


  • Questions or complaints concerning material published in the media should be made in writing to the editor in chief(s), who will present the concern at the next scheduled editorial board meeting.
  • Suggestions or complaints may be e-mailed to [email protected] or dropped off in Room 202.
  • Resolutions will be made within limits of deadlines.



  • The WHS Media should be a member of state, national, and international scholastic journalism organizations.
  • The WHS media will work to be in contact with local professional media and companies in the communications field ranging from public relations and advertising to promotions and copy writing.



Each publication should solicit bids for printing every two to three years. When possible, the staffs will work to secure bids for three years.

  •  Student representation will be present for any bid meetings.
  • The school administration has the option of attending any bid meetings.
  • The adviser will be present for any bid meetings.
  • The editor in chief must be present at all bid meetings.
  • The appropriate media staff and adviser are responsible for choosing publisher.
  • At least two written bids need be submitted (presentations are optional).
  • While cost is important, it is not the sole deciding factor in selecting a publisher. Service and quality may be important factors, too.
  • A written contract should be signed specifying the publisher’s services, charges, guidelines and timelines.



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