Deseret News, Salt Lake City: Ethics code

Employees shall not take personal advantage of, or divulge to anyone outside of the Deseret News any advance information contained in editorial matters or classified or display advertising copy before publication. The company reserves all rights to determine what is published and when it is published.

Tickets to entertainment functions (movies, theaters, athletic events, ice shows, concerts, etc.) may be accepted if offered but shall not be solicited by employees.

When a trip or event offered will clearly benefit the Deseret News, the newspaper may accept and pay for the trip.

Employees cannot accept gifts offered and employment-related gifts of more than nominal value should be returned with a letter explaining the Deseret News gift policy.

No employee should accept a gift, an offer to purchase goods at a substantial discount, free use of a product or any other benefit in exchange for a promise - implied or otherwise - to place or influence a story in the newspaper.

Professional Principles

Deseret News staff members must follow the oldest rule of Journalism, as succinctly stated by James Thurber "Get it right or leave It alone; the conclusion you leap to may be your own."

The constant and continuing goal of the Deseret News is to earn and hold the full confidence of its readers. To gain that confidence demands that what is published in the paper be always honest and, to the best of our ability, accurate. Responsibility to meet this standard rests first with the reporter. Editors are expected to question closely and critically to satisfy themselves that the standard is met.

The following are specific guidelines Deseret News reporters and editors are expected to honor:

I. Deseret News writers should be objective and honest in their writing. They must never feel it is necessary to embellish the truth.

2. The fabrication of quotations or invention of sources is not honest journalism and is not tolerated.

3. Information used in the stories and sources of news should be reliable Story information should be checked carefully. Assumption should not be reported as fact.

4. Composite characters should not be created and passed off as real. Typical people or "average" (composite) people can be used with proper explanation.

5. Use very sparingly such terms as "officials said," "reliable sources report," "people close to the...," etc. It is important to know who.

6. A reporter may promise that the name will not be used in the story or disclosed, except to the managing editor, short of a court order. But a promise of ultimate confidentiality can be made only by the managing editor and then a court may nullify the promise. Rarely if ever will such a promise be given without disclosure of the source to the appropriate editor.

7. Always strive for a second source. Weigh carefully the competence and motivation of the source.

8. Reporters should identify themselves as a reporter. Cautious use of participant observation may be used as a reporting technique with approval of your editor. Recognize the dangers of using such a ploy in meeting the newspapers standards.

9. When a "red flag" pops up don't ignore it. Check out all apprehensions about any story - yours or others - with the editor.

10. If there is a mistake or an injustice, do not cover it up or ignore the situation. Failure to correct it or report it promptly to the next higher supervisory level may result in disciplinary action, including termination.

11. Do develop skillful interview techniques. Do not put words in peoples mouths, but ask questions that will be answered by quotable statements.