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Philosophy And Standards

“Truth Is A Series Of Facts Placed In Context”

- Richard McDonough

Accuracy:

Be accurate with facts.

If possible, gather information from original sources.

If possible, confirm facts through two independent sources.

When appropriate, identify sources of information.

Avoid using anonymous sources except in specific cases where identification would endanger either that source or others.

When quoting opinions, thoughts, or feelings of individuals, identify those items as the personal opinions, thoughts, or feelings of the quoted individuals.

Attribution:

Where attribution is requested or appropriate, credit sources of images, photographs, illustrations, maps, graphs, audio sources, video sources, and/or other elements by listing specific sources either with the element or at the end of news columns.  In each case, where possible, include source name and date when element was created.  Elements in the public domain need not be listed for attribution.

When quoting text from other sources, identify the sources within the body of a news column and utilize quotation marks.

If information is being quoted or paraphrased from another news publication or related types of news source, highlight the name of the specific news publication or related type of news sources in italics within the body of a news column.

Clarifications:

If, after publication, further clarification is determined to be appropriate, update the news column or add a note of clarification to a news column.

Context:

A news column should place facts in context.

Fairness:

Provide an opportunity for subjects of a news column to present their views.

Present, as much as possible, all reasonable sides to an issue.  That may be both sides of an issue or it could be 17 sides of an issue. It is not necessary or appropriate to present viewpoints that advocate hatred, violence, or related emotions.

Format:

Include text and, where appropriate and feasible, images, photographs, illustrations, maps, graphs, audio sources, video sources, and/or other elements.

On occasion, where appropriate, include links within a news column to third-party sites for further information.

Investigative:

An investigative news column may focus on negative aspects of a situation, but need not do so.  This type of news column may, instead, focus on potential solutions to problems identified in the news column.

Localization:

A news column should include information that would be of interest to its specific audience.  

Elements in a news column should be as local as possible for the target audience.  In this context, "local" can mean geographically local as well as local to a specific subject matter.

Beyond local elements, additional information that is community-wide, regional, national, or international in scope may be added to a news column to provide context. 

Mistakes:

Correct typographical and grammatical errors as soon as possible.

Correct factual errors as soon as possible.

Major corrections should be noted, as needed.

Publication:

A news column should be published only once all of the information included has been verified for accuracy and fairness.

A news column should not be published just to be first to market.

Social Media:

Utilize social media to gather and confirm information unavailable through other means.

Encourage traffic to main digital news website through the use of social media.

Sponsorships:

If a specific news column is sponsored by a specific entity, that sponsorship is to be noted with that news column.

News columns that are sponsored are to be fact-based and journalistically-sound.

Sponsors have no editorial control over content and sponsors do not preview the news columns before publication.

Content in each news column may include information from sponsors as well as content from others not related to the sponsors.

Comments from sponsors and other parties are to be placed in quotations to provide transparency in the news columns.

Timing:

If possible, tie a news column to a specific date and time that has bearing on that news column itself - an anniversary, a holiday, an event, or similar activity.