The Olympianís Core Principles
1. WE TELL THE TRUTH.
We donít mislead readers. We do not publish made-up material, such as false names, unless it is obvious to the reader, as in a column or illustration that is unmistakably satirical or fanciful. We quote people accurately. We donít imply we have witnessed events we havenít seen or been in places we havenít been.
In our newsgathering, we must have a clear and compelling public interest to deliberately conceal our identity or the purpose of our work, or to record people surreptitiously. Such instances require advance approval from a managing editor or higher.
Freelancers should not identify themselves as staff members of The Olympian, but rather should say they are doing work to submit to The Olympian.
We do not change photographs in any way that might mislead readers. We do not move, eliminate, alter or add to a photoís content (except by cropping or toning). Photographic illustrations should be unmistakably obvious as contrived or unreal. Illustrations should not deceive readers.
2. WE CORRECT OUR MISTAKES.
We publish corrections for errors of fact or clarifications when we believe there is an omission, distortion or circumstance resulting in an incorrect or unfair impression.
Each of us is expected to tell an editor or supervisor if we think something weíve published looks wrong.
3. WE PROTECT THE INTEGRITY OF THE OLYMPIAN.
We do not manipulate news. We do not contrive what we cover or cause it to happen. We do not facilitate, by payment, props or encouragement, something that otherwise would not occur.
We name our sources. The use of unidentified sources in published material requires the approval of a managing editor or the highest-ranking editor available.
We do not pay sources for news.
We donít promise sources or subjects of coverage an opportunity to review material before publication. In instances when pre-publication review might be justified, a department head or higher editor will make the decision with the knowledge of the staff member involved. Partial review Ė to check the accuracy of a quote, facts or technical data, for example Ė may be desirable.
Everything we compile and create on the job is the property of The Olympian. Unpublished material of any kind should not be used or disclosed to anyone outside The Olympian without permission from the publisher and editor. We do not use material created for The Olympian, or The Olympian logo, on personal Web sites without permission of a managing editor or higher.
We must be cautious about lending the credibility of The Olympian to organizations with special interests. This includes accepting awards or other honors.
The Olympian can be a powerful instrument for good in the community. We support demonstrably worthy charities. Before The Olympian backs a charity, we strive to ensure that it meets proper standards of integrity. When relevant, we disclose in stories when we have given substantial financial support to such causes.
As individuals, each of us must be careful to avoid involvement in charities that could conflict with our duties to The Olympian.
Itís also crucial for us to avoid improper source relationships that could compromise our impartiality or our value as employees of The Olympian. This includes donating money or anything else of value to sources, even in a humanitarian gesture. To do so would diminish our role as journalists. Our best course of action is to pursue journalism that leads to change for everybody.
4. WE DO NOT STEAL THE WORK OF OTHERS.
We donít plagiarize or pass off othersí work or ideas as our own.
We give credit where it is due for content of any kind, including articles, photographs, graphics, Web sites, research and news service reports that contribute to our work.
5. WE DEMAND FAIRNESS.
We are committed to fairness and balance in all aspects of our coverage and presentation. These principles are foremost in building trust with readers. To that end, we strive for journalism free of favoritism or prejudice.
We recognize that pure objectivity is impossible, but we demand fair coverage. We vigorously pursue comment from all subjects in our coverage.
We attempt to examine the many sides of issues and strive for balance among competing interests.
6. WE ARE INDEPENDENT AND SERVE THE PUBLIC.
We stand on guard for the public interest. We champion the peopleís right to know.
We serve the public best by fiercely protecting our independence and reputation. We do not engage in outside activities that could conflict with our duty to the public or lessen the value of our services to The Olympian.
We do not work for pay or as a volunteer in a political campaign or organization.
Any staff member should consult with the editor before running for public office. We do not participate in political activities that diminish our usefulness to The Olympian or could be perceived as a conflict of interest.
We publicly disclose when we have relevant personal or corporate involvement in anything we cover or publish.
7. WE PAY OUR OWN WAY.
We must not allow our coverage to be bought or influenced by favors. We also must avoid the appearance of being bought or influenced.
Therefore, we do not accept benefits of more than token value unavailable to the public. That includes but is not limited to travel, lodging, club memberships, loans, merchandise and discounts.
Unsolicited gifts should be returned with a note explaining our policy. If this is not possible, the gift should be donated to a charity with a note to the donor explaining the circumstances. Gifts of token value may be accepted. If you are unsure what might be of token value, ask a department head or higher editor.
Meals and drinks shared with news sources should be paid for, whenever possible, by The Olympian.
We accept free admission to events only when necessary for our work.
The key issue is this: Am I attending an event for personal benefit or because it helps me do my job?
When reviewing or covering events, we may accept seating that is generally available to accredited news media. If no such accommodations are available, we should pay our way.
Books, recordings, video games and other such items received for review purposes belong to The Olympian. Those assigned for review then become property of the reviewer, but are not to be sold or exchanged or otherwise used for profit. Unreviewed material that is not of professional use to a staff member should be given to a library or charity.
Discounts offered company-wide may be accepted. The editor or managing editor will review discount programs offered through The Olympian to ensure that no individual at The Olympian would receive something special because of his or her journalistic position. Staff members with questions about such discounts should ask a managing editor or higher.
8. WE DO NOT ABUSE OUR POSITION.
We do not use our positions at The Olympian to obtain personal or financial benefit for ourselves. Nor do we make journalism decisions with the intention of creating a financial gain or loss for someone else.
We do not use the company's name to curry favor, threaten or pressure, expedite personal business, seek special consideration or to imply any of these.
We avoid investments that conflict with our duties. If a staff member holds an investment in a company that becomes the subject of coverage, the staff member should avoid participating in the coverage or disclose that investment to a department head or higher editor who will decide whether itís relevant. Investments in broadly based mutual funds or similar instruments are usually not a problem.
We also must be mindful of potential conflicts that could arise from having investments in media companies other than our own. If an investment could be construed as undermining a stafferís value to The Olympian, the staffer should disclose the issue to a department head or higher.
We do not use unpublished information gathered by The Olympian to make investment decisions. This does not include news service or similar material available at the same time to the public.
We avoid writing about, reporting on, photographing or making news judgments about an individual related by blood or marriage or with whom we have a close personal relationship, or about groups of which we are members.
Possible conflicts must be disclosed to a department head.
9. WE WORK FIRST AND FOREMOST FOR THE OLYMPIAN
All work for pay outside The Olympian must be disclosed to a department head or higher. We avoid employment that conflicts with our responsibilities or is detrimental to The Olympian. We also avoid outside business ventures that could damage the newspaperís reputation or credibility. This could include work for an employer who is the subject of coverage by The Olympian, or identifiably working in situations that might be construed as an endorsement by The Olympian of a product, Web site, service, political cause or business.
We do not work for print, broadcast or online competitors of The Olympian without the permission of a department head or higher.
We do not enter business relationships with news sources.
Staff membersí appearances in other media or forums can benefit The Olympian but could raise ethical questions. Ask a department head or higher editor before accepting such invitations.
Staff members should not accept payment, including travel expenses, speaking fees or judging honoraria, from special interest groups. If you cannot decline a fee, donate it to a charity designated by The Olympian.
10. WE REFLECT THE DIVERSITY OF OUR COMMUNITY.
We strive for the newspaper and our newsroom to reflect the diverse community we serve. We do not impose our cultural values on others. We do not stereotype people, and we aim for multiple perspectives and images in gathering the news. We show a spectrum of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, health status and geography in our coverage.
We are stewards of a public trust held in this community for more than a century. If The Olympian is to stand on guard for the public interest, we must stand on guard for these principles.