Staff Expectations

PantherNOW Staff Expectations

If you’re reading this, congratulations! You’re a part of student media. You’re going to meet a lot of cool people, cover a lot of interesting things, and go all sorts of places during your time at the paper. Whether or not you decide to pursue a career in journalism or the media, you’ll learn a lot here and grow as a writer and general questioner of things. 

As a member of student media, you have a lot of power in informing students, faculty, and staff about their university, city, and even world. As such, we have expectations to ensure that PantherNOW continues to fulfill its mission of being a reliable media outlet that serves FIU’s community well, and a newsroom that serves its writers well too. 

Staff Writers

Staff writers are our main writers. They write the majority of our stories. Each writer belongs to one of the four sections (news, entertainment, opinion, or sports) and will be assigned to an assistant to be in a particular group (which will likely be defined by an area of coverage). Responsibilities in this position include:

  • Independently research and pitch stories
  • Work with assistants and directors to develop and complete stories
  • Communicate with assistants and directors at least once a week regarding workload, scheduling, beats, etc.
  • Keep in contact with sources on a beat
  • Attend weekly section meetings as well as any all staff meetings held during the semester
  • Produce original content — writers are not allowed to use any form of Artificial Intelligence (such as ChatGPT) to produce stories. Similarly, PantherNOW has a strict policy against plagiarism. Failure to follow these rules are grounds for termination.
  • Report conflicts of interest to editors. Writers should not write about topics that they have a personal connection to (club membership, personal bias, etc.). This includes telling editors of any conflicts of interest that develop or come up while on a story. Failure to do so can result in termination.

Assistant Directors

Assistant directors will run various groups within each of the four sections, likely centered around a particular beat or area. Assistants will act as middlemen between directors and writers and will be responsible for managing editing and keeping track of stories in their group. Assistants will also be responsible for publishing web and social media content. Responsibilities may include: 

  • Keep in regular contact with directors and writers
    • This includes forming a group chat with your section and checking in with each writer at least once a week
  • Stay knowledgeable about beats/areas of coverage
  • Edit articles
    • A phone call or in-person editing is highly suggested
    • Assistants will edit for AP style, grammar, spelling and general comments on the overall story
  • Maintain budget sheets for their group
  • Attend weekly executive board meetings
  • Attend weekly section meetings
  • Post stories once they’re approved by the director and editor-in-chief
  • Fill in for directors in case of emergency
  • Help with selecting stories and designing pages for the monthly print paper


Directors are the head of each section at PantherNOW and work with the radio station to produce weekly radio shows. Directors will approve pitches and edit stories in each section, as well as meet with writers and assistants to keep track of stories. While assistants will keep up with digital publication, directors will produce the monthly print edition. Responsibilities include: 

  • Keep in regular contact with assistants and writers
    • Check with assistants at least twice a week to keep up with writers and articles
  • Hiring new staff writers and assistants
  • Keep in regular contact with the editor-in-chief
    • Text or phone call at least once a week outside of editorial board
  • Keeping in contact with the general manager of the radio station to produce talk shows each week
    • Assistants and writers can help with shows, but directors are responsible for pitching shows to the general manager and producing them
  • Stay knowledgeable about their entire section and maintain contacts for writers and assistants
  • Edit articles
    • A phone call or in-person editing is required for directors; this can be done during weekly section meetings
    • Directors will do more structural edits for stories – the direction an article takes, the focus, etc. 
  • Hold weekly section meetings
    • These can be in the office or remote
  • Attend weekly editorial board meetings
    • This includes filling out the weekly doc to update stories
  • Fill in for assistants in case of emergency
  • Maintain budget sheets for their section
  • Selecting stories and designing pages for the monthly print paper


The editor-in-chief oversees PantherNOW, as well as working with the radio station. The editor will work with directors for the final approval of pitches as well as story edits. Editors also act as liaisons between university leaders and administration and will be responsible for addressing any internal issues as well as any external concerns. Responsibilities include:

  • Keeping in regular contact with directors
  • Keeping in regular contact with the general manager of The Roar and working with them for talk shows
  • Final approval of pitches and stories
  • Holding regular executive board meetings and any all-staff meetings during the semester
  • Working with directors, writers, and assistants to address any issues or concerns
  • Working with advisors to address critiques
  • Reporting, writing and/or editing as needed
  • Publishing ads on the website
  • Working with paper staff to complete any HR tasks
  • Maintaining relationships with HR, media relations, advisors, university leaders, and administration on behalf of the entire paper
  • Overseeing digital and print publication