Ethical Journalism Policy and Mission Statement

Mission statement

The Mission statement for The Post Millennial is defined by the following document outlined and released on 3/26/2019.

The daily operation of a news organization is above all else based on public trust.

Our credibility in turn as a news organization rests on verified research, clear writing, and transparency.

Our primary mission is to tell the truth so far as we can learn it.

The newspaper’s duty is therefore to its readers and to the public at large, not to the private interests of its owners.

Who does this apply to?

These policies apply to all editorial staff involved in the creation and publication of all The Post Millennial’s content on any platform.

Whenever in doubt on any point, let the editor in charge know of the situation before allowing your work to be published.

Any breach of policy can lead to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

These policies also apply to all freelancers when creating content for our organization.

Separation of content

The separation of news columns from editorial pages is essential.

This separation is intended to serve the reader, who is entitled to the facts in the news columns and to opinions on the editorial and “op-ed” portions of our website. But nothing in this separation of functions is intended to eliminate from the news columns honest, in-depth reporting, or analysis or commentary when plainly labelled.

The labels are designed as follows, and are in line with terms used by the New York Times:

Exclusive News: Reporting done by our team on the ground.

News: Important information sourced from other reputable news organizations.

Analysis: Interpretation of the news based on evidence and data breakdowns.

Opinion: A column in the Opinions section.

Review: A professional critic’s assessment.

Attribution

All TPM members must be truthful about the sources of our information.

Facts, quotations, and any other material in a story that was not produced by our own reporting must be attributed.

Plagiarism is a fireable offense.

Fact-checking

Our reporters have the primary responsibility for reporting, writing, and fact-checking their stories. Stories are also put through a multi-level review process, involving at least two editors.

Information from another publication must be checked and credited before it is used.

When in doubt about information from any source, team members must double-check. Although verified facts need no attribution, we still identify sources of less-than-obviously-factual information.

Conflict of interest

The Post Millennial and its staff are pledged to avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest wherever and whenever possible.

Protecting our Neutrality

Staff members may not accept invitations to speak before a single company or an industry assembly unless The Post Millennial executive decides the appearance is useful and will not damage the organization’s reputation. In that case, the company will pay expenses and no speaker’s fee should be accepted by any member.

Staff members may accept speaking fees, honorariums, expense reimbursement and free transportation only from educational or other nonprofit groups for which lobbying and political activity are not a major focus. If a speaking fee exceeds $4,000, the staff member must consult a Senior Editor before accepting.

Gifts

In general, all staff must reject gifts sent to them from other organizations.

Staff members may accept any gifts or discounts available to the general public.

They may not take free admissions to any event that is not free to the public. The only exception is for seats not sold to the public, as in a press box.

Identity disclosure

Staff should disclose their identity to people they cover, though they need not always announce their status as journalists when seeking information normally available to the public.

Members may not pose as police officers, lawyers, business people or anyone else when they are working as journalists.

This rule can be slightly flexible with the approval of the editor-in-chief when journalists are attempting to enter a country which typically bars them, or treats them with extreme aggression.

In such a case the journalist still cannot pose as a police officer or any other type of professional which could cause large-scale international disputes.

Use of Borrowed Equipment

Staff members who borrow equipment or other goods for evaluation or review must return the borrowed item(s) as soon as possible. Staff members may keep for their own collections books, recordings, tapes, compact discs and computer programs sent to them for review.

These materials are considered press releases. Recorded or digital media, such as tapes or disks, must be destroyed or returned to the provider if not retained by the journalist. The content may not be copied, given away or left where they could be carried off for illicit copying or reuse.

Fair Trial

Our team aims not to publish anything that would jeopardize the right to a fair trial of a person accused of a crime, while actively working to keep the population informed. This can be a truly difficult process in high-profile cases involving incredible public interest. To that end, our organization actively considers the value of new information in relation to the timing of its release.

For example, at the time of arrest, the accused in most cases is unable to properly respond and excessive coverage could do damage.  

We furthermore do not publish statements by police that tend to incriminate the accused or evidence of the bad character of the accused just before or during a trial until such information is presented as evidence in court.

We do not report that an accused person has confessed until the confession has been ruled admissible and entered into evidence in court.

Wherever possible, we try to distinguish the accused from others who share the same name by specifying their age, occupation. Information regarding address should remain general.

The names of people charged with criminal offences are reported in our news stories unless there is a legal or ethical reason not to do so.

Publication Ban

Publication bans are automatically granted by courts in bail hearings, preliminary hearings and certain pre-trial motions dealing with the admissibility of evidence.

We honour such court-imposed bans.

On occasion, a court will impose an extraordinary ban, such as a ban on publishing the name of someone accused of a serious crime or a witness in a case. On the instructions of the editor-in-chief and CEO, we may oppose such extraordinary bans in court when we believe it is in the public interest.

Suicides

The organization should not shy away from writing about suicide when the story is newsworthy and considered to be in the public interest. Any report done should be respectful in content and in tone to the grief of survivors and strive to provide information for others about how to get help.

The content should seek to limit any and all explicit details, especially if they could further push others to make the same decision. These stories must be approved by the Editor-in-Chief before publication.

Serial Killers and Extremists

In order to limit the level of fame gained by executing horrific acts, our team actively works to remove photographs of serial killers and extremists. With approval from the Editor-in-Chief, some content can be allowed on site if it is in the public interest.

Respect & Diversity

Our organization respects freedom. To that end, we respect the diversity of thoughts, religions and peoples. While our organization will not put forward quotas, we expect each member to actively support, respect, and celerbrate each other regardless of their differences.

Take-down Requests

As a matter of policy, we do not normally grant take-down requests. If the subject claims that the story was inaccurate, we should be prepared to investigate and, if necessary, publish a correction. And there may be situations in which fairness demands an update or follow-up coverage.

In short, our response will be to consider whether further editorial action is warranted, but not to remove the article as though it had never been published. When we publish publicly available personal data, we will review take-down requests if the person involved is under threat of physical harm because of the existence of the material.

Policy on sources

The Post Millennial is committed to disclosing to its readers the sources of the information in its stories to the maximum possible extent.

We want to make our reporting as transparent to the readers as possible so they may know how and where we got our information.

Balance and Sources

Reporters have a responsibility to extend a right of reply to the key subjects of their stories on the central aspects of the piece prior to publication. If those key subjects cannot be reached in a reasonable time, the article must explain what efforts were made to reach them.

Confidential Sources

Sources often insist that we agree not to name them before they agree to talk with us.

We must be reluctant to grant this.

In the case in which we do decide to use an unnamed source, we are asking our readers to take an extra step to trust the credibility of the information we are providing. In this case, we must be certain in our own minds that the benefit to readers is worth the cost in credibility in order to get the story.

Children and Sex Assault Cases

As a matter of policy, we do not publish the names of victims of alleged sexual assaults, or anything that would identify them, unless such victims agree to be identified and senior editors consider it in the public interest to do so.

We furthermore do not publish anything that would identify a person under age 18 who has been charged with a crime. This policy is consistent with the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The law states that a victim under the age of 18 cannot be identified once an accused who is also under 18 has been charged, unless the victim’s parents consent or the victim consents after turning 18.

Witnesses in a court hearing who are under 18 cannot be identified if the accused is also under 18.

Names of the accused may be published, but will be considered on a case by case basis.

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