The start and end point for the ethical conduct of a Royal Media journalist is accuracy. We are bound by accuracy, committed to it, obligated by it, beholden to it, and obliged to include it in every facet of our journalistic endeavor.
Accuracy, therefore, is at the very heart of this Code of Journalism Ethics and we require each Royal Media journalist to embrace it. By doing so, we establish a clear boundary for our practices and behavior. A fact either is or is not.
Accuracy and the compulsion for it also frames our operational paradigm. The Royal Media journalist is expected to strive for that accuracy and to not rest until she has achieved it. This means reporting beyond the call of duty or validating “just one more time” that a fact is indeed a fact or not settling for the face value of information or explanation.
We share this command publicly because we intend for those with whom we work to have an understanding of our responsibilities. This is a matter of disclosure and transparency. We feel great obligations to our sources and community, but equally we have a corresponding expectation of truthfulness and integrity from them, too. Our job is to purvey the truth — and to expose untruths and disingenuous practices.
This code extends to specific practices that are spelled out by the Society for Advancing Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), of which Royal and its journalists are members. It is our sincere expectation that adherence to this code will not just benefit Royal, but our communities and society at large.
SABEW Codes of Ethics
[The original SABEW Code of Ethics can be found here.]
Updated June 1, 2015
Statement of Purpose:
As business and financial journalists, we recognize we are guardians of the public trust and must do nothing to abuse this obligation.
It is not enough that we act with honest intent; as journalists, we must conduct our professional lives in a manner that avoids even the suggestion of personal gain, or any misuse of the power of the media.
It is with this acknowledgment that we offer these guidelines for those who work in business and financial journalism:
Personal Investments and Relationships:
- Avoid any practice that might compromise or appear to compromise objectivity or fairness.
- Never let personal investments influence content. Disclose investment positions to your superior and/or directly to the public.
- Disclose to your superiors and/or directly to the public any personal or family relationships that might pose conflicts of interest.
- Avoid active trading and other short-term profit-seeking opportunities, as such activities are not compatible with the independent role of the business journalist.
- Do not take advantage of inside information for personal gain.
- Insure confidentiality of information during the reporting process, and make every effort to keep information from finding its way to those who might use it for gain before it is disseminated to the public.
- Do not alter information, delay or withhold publication or make concessions relating to news content to any source or subject of the story.
Gifts and Favors:
- In the course of professional activity, accept no gift or special treatment worth more than token value.
- Accept no out-of-town travel paid for, in whole or in part, by outside sources.
- Carefully examine offers of freelance work or speech honoraria to assure such offers are not attempts to influence content.
- Disclose to a supervisor any offer of future employment or outside income that springs from the journalist’s professional activities or contacts.
- Accept food or refreshments of ordinary value only if absolutely necessary, and only during the normal course of business.
- Publishers, owners and newsroom managers should establish policies and guidelines to protect the integrity of business news coverage.
- Material produced by editorial staff should be used only in sections, programming or pages controlled by editorial departments.
- Content, sections or programming controlled by advertising departments should be distinctly different from news content in typeface, layout and design. Advertising content should be identified as such.
- Promising a story in exchange for advertising or other considerations is unethical.
Using Outside Material:
- Using articles or columns from non-journalists is potentially deceptive and poses inherent conflicts of interest. This does not apply to content that is clearly labeled opinion or viewpoint, or to submissions identified as coming directly from the public, such as citizen blogs or letters to the editor.
- Freelance submissions should be accepted only from those who abide by the same ethical policies as staff members.
- In using Twitter, Facebook and other social media, journalists should avoid comments, photographs, video and other activities, whether for professional or personal purposes that would call into question their integrity.
The business journalist should encourage fellow journalists to abide by these standards and principles.
Each Royal Media journalist agrees to comply with this Code of Journalistic Ethics.