Editorial and Ethical Policies

Another tool that can help your staff is establishing an editorial and ethical policy.

Having an editorial policy will help guide your staff and provide information to the public about how you operate. How do you want your staff to obtain information and deal with sources? How would you like your staff to use digital media content? What are the roles of your donors, advertisers and freelancers? What is your policy for corrections? All these aspects should be identified and documented in an editorial policy you can provide to your staff and post on your website for the public to have access to.

Of course, your staff is going to be familiar with the standard ethical guidelines of the journalism industry, but identifying ethical guidelines unique to your organization is also a helpful tool for your staff. How do you want to handle acronyms? How do you want use datelines in stories? What are the conventions you want to use for the names of specific government agencies unique to your community? How do you want to handle titles? All of these aspects can be clarified in creating a unique editorial guide for your staff.

The Voice of San Diego has an example of their editorial and ethical guidelines on its site that may serve as inspiration for start-ups.