The Arizona Republic, Phoenix: Ethics code
The following are general principles we should strive to attain as we go about our journalistic endeavors. They apply to every publication whether by full- or part-time staffers, or freelancers. Specific interpretations and policies will be set by the managing editors. Supervisors will answer questions you may have about interpretation or application of these principles.
Facts should be presented honestly, fully and fairly. This applies to news stories, columns, editorials, headlines, graphics, illustrations, captions, photographs, layouts and any other editorial component. Writers, editors, photographers and artists should always strive to inform readers accurately and represent situations fairly. We will not knowingly place any person in a false light, such as racial or ethnic stereotyping.
News photographs must not be altered. Photographs that electronically obscure the face of a victim or undercover police officer are exceptions, but the alteration should be clearly explained in the caption.
Photo illustrations should be labeled as such.
RIGHT OF REPLY
Persons criticized in a news story should have the opportunity to respond - in that same story, if possible. Their response, or the fact that they could not be reached for comment, should get fair play in stories.
CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS
Substantive, factual errors should be corrected promptly and fully.
Clarifications should be published as necessary when a story, column, editorial, headline, photograph, graphic, illustration, caption or layout could be misinterpreted or misconstrued.
Reporters should attempt to get "on the record" information from sources.
Reporters and editors should discuss general conditions under which promises of confidentiality can be made. Reporters should not make a pledge or promise of confidentiality they are not empowered to honor and enforce, and editors should honor promises properly made by reporters. Reporters and editors should respect the confidentiality of our newsgathering and internal editing processes in conversations with sources and readers.
Sources are not paid for news, either in cash for tips or interviews, or in promises of future coverage or other favors.
Our first goal is to gather and report the news, but we should attempt to be sensitive to the privacy and safety of people who unwittingly find themselves in newsworthy situations.
With public officials and others who have placed themselves in the public eye, we will weigh respect for privacy with the public's right to know.
Acceptance of awards from partisan groups or causes may compromise the newspapers' reputation for objectivity. Reporters, photographers, editors and artists should check with supervisors before entering a contest or accepting an award.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
News employees should not seek political office or work either in a paid position or as a volunteer for any political campaign, whether for a candidate or ballot issue, or any political organization. They also should avoid taking public stands on partisan issues, except for the opinions expressed in columns and editorials.
Potential conflicts of interest, such as those which might arise from outside employment, freelance work, financial interests, a spouse's occupation, or personal friendships, should be disclosed to a supervisor.
Under no circumstances should an employee use his or her position at the newspaper to gain leverage in any private situation.
Employees should never work in a paid or volunteer capacity for any organization they cover routinely or may be expected to cover as part of their assigned beat.
With prior approval, news employees may, for pay, teach or lecture, do freelance work for non-competing publications, and make regular or guest appearances on radio and television. Columnists and editorial writers and cartoonists may express opinions, but all other news employees should remain as neutral and objective as they would in newsgathering, writing and publishing.
Pressure from advertisers should not dictate coverage or play of news stories, photographs, editorials, columns or cartoons.
The newspapers pay their own way.
The acceptance of gifts or preferential treatment compromises or gives the appearance of compromising the integrity of the newspapers and their employees. Anything of value should be declined.
Unsolicited food, books, tickets, records, T-shirts and other promotional items sent to the newsrooms should be donated to charity (or sold and donated to charity). Products being reviewed or tested for stories and tickets that serve as working passes for reporters or photographers covering events are exceptions.
Free airfare or lodging as part of studio, travel or other junkets may not be accepted by employees. Freelance materials resulting from such freebies should not be purchased by the newspapers.
Reporters, photographers and editors should avoid accepting meals from news sources. When refusing would be awkward, employees may accept a meal or drink, but should attempt to reciprocate in the future.
Presenting another person's work as your own is cheating and will not be tolerated.
Material from other sources, such as wire services or other newspapers, must be clearly attributed in the body of the story or in a credit line at the end of the story.
Analysis or opinion should be clearly labeled.