News Tips

Code of Conduct

All members of NowPublic share a common interest in protecting the integrity of our community. By creating an account, you agree to abide by the Terms of Service (above, which outline the nature and terms of our services to you) and our “rules of the road” which outline generally the ethical conduct of our members. While our code is in fact a set of guidelines, any deliberate violation of these guidelines – especially those that harm other members – will result in loss of site privileges.

NowPublic members will strive to avoid:

1. Stories or comments that deliberately obscure your vested interests. By being transparent and acknowledging a financial interest, or by disclosing a bias in your views, you help others to understand where you care coming from.

2. Plagiarizing the work of others, failing to acknowledge source material, or using images that belong to others without their permission. It’s a fundamental aspect of integrity that we all understand. It’s not very complicated.

3. Deliberately posting stuff that one knows is untrue, false, or misleading. This one really goes against everything that NowPublic stands for.

4. Threaten to harm someone through a story in order to extort a benefit or gain cooperation. It sounds extremely unlikely, but you know how bullies work. We’ll do our best to spot them and get rid of them to protect you.

5. Break the law in pursuit of, or during the composition or capture, of a story, photo or video.

6. Make false representations about yourself to a news source. It’s difficult to produce an honest news story when you lie to do it.

NowPublic members will strive to:

7. Be accountable – take responsibility for your stories and follow up if necessary. Admit mistakes as soon as you know it and correct them. Sometimes stories change so that things that were once thought to be true become something else. Try to remember to do the housekeeping.

8. Be fair. We all have things that we believe in so strongly that it’s easy sometimes to fall into the “crush the opponent” mentality without meaning to do so. Fairness sounds kinda goofy but who doesn’t want to be treated that way?

9. Promote interactivity and dialog. We have amazing tools that support real community collaboration. Reach out to others and encourage them to do the same. Freedom of expression not only feels good; our society is dead without it.

10. Respect the community. Every day new members join NowPublic with a sense of altruism and hope. Let’s not disappoint them with rudeness or hostility.

This code of conduct was created by consulting a wide range of material available online. Here are the main sources that inspired us:

* A Code of Blogging Ethics by Martin Kuhn from the University of North Carolina.
* The New York Times Code of Ethics. This is post-Jayson Blair; it is impressive.
* The Cyberjournalist’s Code of Ethics by Jonathan Dube
* The Principles of Journalism by Kovach and Rosenstiel. This is a truly inspired, thought-provoking list, and the book is even better.
* The Ethics of Online Journalism by the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review
NewsTrust Ratings – this is a list of criteria used by reviewers at NewsTrust – a very rigorous list indeed
The Principles of Citizen Journalism compiled by the Knight Citizen News Network.
Draft Blogger’s Code of Conduct by Tim O’Reilly.

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