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Our principles

What we stand for at TucsonSentinel.com

We shine a light on this town because we love it

Journalism is best when pursued with purpose. It is easy to take stances regarding small problems but we at TucsonSentinel.com aim to tackle our community's bigger issues. When we do that, our reporters and editors should be clear with you about what we’re trying to achieve as a mission-driven nonprofit organization that carries out authentically local public service and investigative reporting.

TucsonSentinel.com's reporting team, fundraisers and leadership adopted this list of shared values to help illuminate what we’re pursuing and give reporters the mandate to pursue these goals with vigor, responsibility and determination.

It's our task to fairly, accurately, respectfully and comprehensively report on important local issues to better inform our community, no matter whom it offends. We follow the facts in a hunt for the truth, understanding that we not only record the first draft of history, we help our citizens make wise choices about our future.

We ask our political and community leaders to acknowledge and solve local challenges. To evaluate what those are, we offer this statement of our core values and guiding principles.

We seek:

  • A well-informed community prepared for meaningful participation in civic affairs.
  • Government transparency, access to public records, open meetings and accountability.
  • Government agencies that are just and respectful, capable, efficient and excellent.
  • High-quality education that is accessible for all children.
  • Infrastructure that supports quality jobs and serves the needs of residents.
  • Economic growth that uplifts families across our entire region.
  • Celebration of our unique, robust and inclusive arts, culture, faith and music communities.
  • A clean, protected environment, balancing economic factors with conservation for future generations.
  • Border and immigration policies that are fair and compassionate in intent and practice, and that promote safety and security for all in Southern Arizona.
  • Preparations for the long-term challenges of water and energy supplies, and understanding of the local impacts of climate change.

As a nonprofit, we are obligated to pursue a mission, rather than focus on delivering profits to corporate investors who might make more money if our reporters chased stories about the latest sports controversies or salacious crimes. 

We're not just a nonprofit, we're resolutely nonpartisan. We're not here to tell you what to think — but it is our task to give all of us things to think about. We're neither liberal nor conservative, and certainly not Democratic or Republican; it's our job to hold our civic leaders responsible no matter what party they belong to, and credit their good work when they get things right, as well. No party has a lock on good ideas, and no faction a monopoly on mistakes.

What we are as an organization is pragmatic optimists. We don't report bad things out of cynicism, but because we know we can do better as a community. Real solutions don't come from dogma, but instead from creative thinking backed with grounded examples.

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Support TucsonSentinel.com today, because a smarter Tucson is a better Tucson.

As an independent news organization, we're locally run: our decisions about what to cover are made here, not thousands of miles away in a reflection of corporate priorities. The vast majority of our revenues stay right here in Tucson, dedicated to paying local reporters and editors to keep an eye on what's going on here. We publish news that's directly relevant to local readers, not clickbait weird news about Florida.

We admit that we have a bias: toward the truth, and in favor of Southern Arizona. We'll call 'em as we see 'em, and show you our work as we dig into what is true, what is false, and what the future of our city and region can and should look like.

We shine a light on this town because we love it.

For our community to thrive, for our government to be transparent, to hold our elected officials and bureaucrats accountable, to celebrate the things we love about this place, we need sunlight streaming down, exposing the wrongs, and spotlighting what is right.

That comes from solid journalism.

A smarter Tucson is a better Tucson

And that brings us to what your authentically local independent news organization needs to survive, and thrive.

You can play an important role in making sure that reporting happens, and reaches more people.

Will you partner with us to support local news, and make a gift to our nonprofit newsroom?

If you read us, support us. And read us more. Tell your friends, share our work on Facebook so more people can read it. Sign up for our free email newsletter. If you own a local small business or are running a political campaign, talk to us about effective, affordable marketing on TucsonSentinel.com.

You can sign up for a recurring subscription to back our work each month, or give a one-time tax-deductible gift — just go to TucsonSentinel.com/donate.

Like what you're reading? Support high-quality local journalism and help underwrite independent news without the spin.

Your support is what allows us to drive change for the better through stories that challenge, inform, and inspire.

Without you, those stories go untold.

We believe that just as an unexamined life is not worth living, an unexamined city is not worth living in — because truly, a smarter Tucson is a better Tucson.

TucsonSentinel.com has been at the forefront of a nationwide movement to rebuild local news from the ground up, even as print newspapers wither under the control of rapacious hedge funds and conglomerated media chains.

We're working to return local news to its roots: experienced local reporters working for local editors and a local publisher — all invested in the well-being of their community, not just seeking to ship short-term profits far away.

Our mission and these clear values help us keep our focus on the issues and challenges that will define Tucson and Southern Arizona for decades. And with your support, we'll keep digging, and keep telling stories that just aren't being told anywhere else.

TucsonSentinel.com’s statement of “What we stand for” was inspired in part by the statement of principles by our friends at the Voice of San Diego.


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Ethics & accountability

Our ethical standards include the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics, the professional standards laid out by the Local Independent Online News Publishers organization, and the editorial independence policy recommended by the Institute for Nonprofit News, along with the clear attribution policies laid out by the National Summit on Plagiarism and Fabrication. Our work is also informed by the Code of Ethics of the National Press Photographers Association.

Read more about how TucsonSentinel.com's reporters and editors uphold the highest professional standards, including transparency, integrity, fairness, accuracy, completeness, and accountability.

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TucsonSentinel.com publishes analysis and commentary from a variety of community members, experts, and interest groups as a catalyst for a healthy civic conversation; we welcome your comments. As an organization, we don't endorse candidates or back specific legislation. All opinions are those of the individual authors.