Ethics and accountability at TucsonSentinel.com
TucsonSentinel.com is a nonprofit local independent online news organization that reports nonpartisan news in the public interest, adhering to the highest professional standards of accuracy, fairness and integrity.
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, excellence and transparency standards 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.
SPJ Code of Ethics
Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity.
The Society declares these four principles as the foundation of ethical journalism and encourages their use in its practice by all people in all media.
Seek Truth and Report It
Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect.
The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public.
Be Accountable and Transparent
Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one's work and explaining one's decisions to the public. Journalists should:
As the founding chairman of the national organization LION Publishers, TucsonSentinel.com's Editor & Publisher Dylan Smith has been a leader in encouraging exacting professional ethics in local journalism.
From that group's membership criteria, to which each member must commit: "A LION site must report news in the general public interest while upholding high professional standards, including transparency, integrity, fairness, accuracy, completeness, and accountability."
From INN's statement on the importance of separating funding decisions from editorial priorities:
Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We will maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.
We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.
Our organization also may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.
Our organization will make public all donors who give a total of $1,000 or more. We will accept anonymous donations for general support only if it is clear that sufficient safeguards have been put into place that the expenditure of that donation is made independently by our organization and in compliance with INN's Membership Standards.
'Telling the Truth and Nothing But'
Representing both LION Publishers and TucsonSentinel.com, Editor & Publisher Dylan Smith was among some two dozen representatives of news organizations and national associations who served on a 2013 task force, the National Summit on Plagiarism and Fabrication. He co-authored a book that laid out professional standards regarding proper attribution and citation of sources, "Telling the Truth and Nothing But."
Organizations that endorsed the effort, beyond LION Publishers and TucsonSentinel.com, included Associated Press Media Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Online News Association, the American Society of News Editors, the Canadian Association of Journalists, the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Poynter Institute, the University of Arizona, University of Missouri, as well as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, National Public Radio and others.