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Editorial Guidelines

BALANCED AND ACCURATE REPORTING

  • Articles should not assume anything.
  • Numbers must add.
  • The story must reasonable and legally safe.
  • The story must be balanced.
  • The story must be accurate.
  • When you cant verify accuracy of a report, state so.
  • The story must not offend good taste, including race, gender, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language and place of birth. or other stereotypes.
  • Check spelling and grammar
  • Headlines should not present allegation as fact
  • Headlines should not add to or misrepresent the story
  • If a picture is manipulated, it should not change its meaning and this should be stated.
  • Posters should not mislead the public
  • Public interest may justify publication of violent crime or explicit sex
  • The press has an obligation to protect sources.
  • There’s no obligation to protect a misleading source
  • Cut and paste attribution
  • Get the names and titles correctly
  • Ensure statements are accurate
  • Story should distinguish between facts and allegations

SOURCES

  • Get records, pictures, official data
  • Always ask: “How do you know that”
  • Ask source for numbers
  • Ask for business card
  • Ask source to spell and write down
  • Take notes, tape record for backup
  • Listen and probe all parties involved
  • Get contact numbers
  • Get more sources to verify claims, multiplicity of voices
  • Reasonable time should be afforded the subject for a response
  • Obtain news illegally if it’s in the public interest
  • Seek comment even if subject refused to comment in the past
  • Use anonymous sources, when there’s no other way to publish the story
  • Never give anonymity upfront
  • Reporter must know the anonymous source and confirm with the editor
  • Corroborate anonymous source’s allegations
  • Use at least three anonymous sources
  • Get independent confirmation of source’s information
  • Try to convince anonymous source to go on record

  RIGHT TO PRIVACY

  • Do not name victims without consent
  • Public interest overrides right to privacy
  • Public officials have least right to privacy, public figures lesser, private citizens have greatest right to privacy
  • When you failed to get opposing views you should state that
  • Maximise truth, minimise harm, Act independently
  • Minimise harm to vulnerable groups like women, children and the disabled.
  • Describe the anonymous source

OPINIONS AND COMMENT

  • Published opinions do not express the views of the newspaper and the publisher.
  • Must be reasonable and legally safe.
  • Protected comment should not misrepresent or distort facts
  • Opinions should be distinguishable, they should not be in the news story.
  • Distinguish between facts and allegations

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