Conflicts of interest
Issue: We encourage journalists to be involved in their communities. The newspaper and its employees should provide community leadership while never compromising their principles.
We are local news organizations with deep, broad, personal and professional ties to our communities. We encourage those connections, and we recognize that they may create real and perceived conflicts of interest that could undermine our credibility.
- The top editor and/or publisher should be aware of staff involvement in the community.
- Participating as a parent or citizen in such things as school, religious, community nonprofits and social organizations is permitted, provided that you disclose any possible conflict of interest to your top editor or publisher.
- Participating as a board member, particularly in a high-profile position, must be approved in advance by the top editor or publisher.
- Journalists must alert their top editor or publisher when situations arise in which business, political or social relationships could compromise credibility or create a conflict of interest.
- The following list includes, but is not limited to, those types of community involvement by newsroom employees that are not permitted: Organizing and soliciting signatures for petitions; serving on external fund-raising committees; doing public relations; running for political office; campaigning for a candidate.
Before taking on any non-newspaper role, seek the approval of your top editor or publisher.
Here are three standards for your newsroom to follow:
- The supervisor determines if a conflict or potential conflict exists. The top editor should be part of the determination. The goal is transparency and “no surprises.”
- Participation should not detract from performance or effectiveness at work.
- Participation does not undermine our credibility, nor does it compel or imply our subsidy or endorsement.