The US Inquirer’s Principles of Ethical Conduct for Newsrooms includes concepts and language developed by the Radio and Television Digital News Association. These principles are designed to guide journalists working with any news platform, including newspapers, websites, mobile devices, video, social media channels and live story events.
WE ARE COMMITTED TO:
I. Seeking and reporting the truth in a truthful way
- We will be honest in the way we gather, report and present news – with relevancy, persistence, context, thoroughness, balance, and fairness in mind.
- We will seek to gain understanding of the communities, individuals and issues we cover to provide an informed account of activities.
- We will hold factual information in editorials and other opinion pieces to the same standards of accuracy as news stories.
- We will treat information from unofficial sources, which may include social media, with skepticism and will seek to corroborate information.
- When considering news content created outside of the Network, we will factor the credibility of the source and weigh the value and accuracy of information provided.
II. Serving the public interest
- We will uphold First Amendment principles to serve the democratic process.
- We will be vigilant watchdogs of government and institutions that affect the public, fighting to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in public.
- We will seek solutions as well as expose problems and wrongdoing in order to effect change for the good in the communities we serve.
- We will provide public forums for diverse people and views.
- We will reflect and encourage understanding of the diverse segments of our community.
- We will provide editorial and community leadership.
- We will seek to promote understanding of complex issues.
- When sharing editorials and other opinion articles, we will encourage and promote views that foster understanding, insight and civil discourse. We seek to offer viewpoints that represent various views on a particular topic.
- We will consider providing free access to some news coverage during public safety emergencies and as a public service when appropriate, such as elections.
III. Exercising fair play
- We will treat people with respect and compassion.
- We will correct errors promptly.
- We will strive to include all sides relevant to a story. When news develops and we can’t include important perspectives immediately, we will share updates, including additional sources, when possible. We also will share attempts to reach sources who add value to the story.
- We will explain to audiences our journalistic processes to promote transparency and engagement.
- We will give particular attention to fairness in relations with people unaccustomed to dealing with the news media.
- We will use confidential sources as the sole basis for published information only as a last resort and under specific procedures that best serve the public’s right to know.
IV. Maintaining independence
- We will remain free of outside interests, investments or business relationships that may compromise the credibility of our news reporting.
- We will maintain an impartial, arm’s-length relationship with anyone seeking to influence the news.
- We will not support political campaigns or causes through the display of bumper stickers, signs, pins, public/private donations, participation in demonstrations, petitions or in social media posts.
- Individual viewpoints that might cause readers to question our impartiality in news coverage should remain private. This principle does not apply to those who are paid to write and share opinion.
- We will avoid potential conflicts of interest and eliminate inappropriate influence on content.
- We will be free of improper obligations to news sources, newsmakers and advertisers.
- We will not blur the line between advertising and editorial content. We will provide appropriate disclosures, exercise transparency and avoid actual or implicit commercial endorsements by our journalists.
- When sponsorships of news are appropriate, we will not allow them to determine, change or restrict content.
V. Acting with integrity
- We will act honorably and ethically in dealing with news sources, the public and our colleagues.
- We will obey the law.
- We will observe standards of decency.
- We will take responsibility for our decisions and consider the possible consequences of our actions.
- We will be conscientious in observing these principles.
- We will use technological tools with skill and thoughtfulness, avoiding approaches that skew facts, distort reality, or sensationalize events.
- We will not plagiarize or fabricate information.
- We will not alter photos, video or audio to misrepresent events or mislead audiences.