Journalistic Principles and Practices
- Village Media’s mission is to deliver the news and information that’s important to our readers as quickly as possible. However, being accurate takes precedence over being first and we strive always to offer reliable information to our readers.
- When information in our stories is erroneous, it is corrected promptly and accurately and, in cases where confusion might arise, the correction is noted with an editor’s note on the article in question. If you find what you believe to be an error, please email news@Guelphoday.ca.
- Our journalists seek to present diverse viewpoints in their stories.
- When information is open to question, we cite competent authorities and take care to question the assertions of those whose reliability is unknown.
- When a story includes commentary that is critical of a person or organization, we make a reasonable effort to contact them for a rebuttal. When a rebuttal is not made available, we note that and continue efforts to receive comment.
- We name those we include as sources in our stories. In extremely rare cases, we may include information from confidential sources, but only in cases where disclosure of that person’s identity would put them in serious danger or would affect their current or future employment. Our editors know the identity of confidential sources in all cases. Assertions made by confidential sources are subject to increased scrutiny, especially when they are critical of others.
- To the maximum extent possible, we will be clear about who and what our sources are, what motivations our sources may have and any conditions people have set for giving us information.
- When quoting a statement received via email, news release or obtained in a manner other than a live interview, our journalists note the distinction in the story.
- Writers who produce columns for Village Media do, naturally, express opinions and offer analysis. Opinion pieces are clearly marked, as are the identities of their authors.
- Letters to the editor must include a phone number and address for verification purposes.
- If you have an issue with a story or have questions about our editorial approach you can contact GuelphToday’s Community Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. If unsatisfied, Village Media sites are members of the National NewsMedia Council and complaints can be addressed via mediacouncil.ca or 1-844-877-1163.
Ethics and Impartiality:
- Village Media journalists strive to be impartial in their reporting, including situations in which our reporting comes into conflict with Village Media’s corporate interests, our family/personal ties, or the interests of advertisers. All editorial decisions are made by the editorial department, not owners, advertisers or other outside interests.
- Village Media does not pay sources for information.
- We do not allow those we report on to review our stories before they are published.
- Our journalists do not seek out or accept gifts or other consideration from the sources we cover.
- Village Media reporters identify themselves as such when working on a story.
- We avoid conflicts of interest with the subjects of our news coverage and when a conflict could be perceived to exist we declare it.
Requests to Unpublish:
- Village Media does not remove stories from our sites other than in extremely rare circumstances. Those rare circumstances may include grave inaccuracies or ethical breaches, significant public safety concerns or situations where we are legally required to ‘unpublish’ a story (eg: in order not to violate a publication ban).
- Village Media editors will consider requests to append updates to past stories in cases where new information can be documented (eg: criminal charges that have been withdrawn or accused who have been acquitted of charges).
Publishing News Releases:
- News releases from businesses, government/government representatives and other individuals and organizations are treated as original source documents and are only published at the discretion of the editorial department. They are accepted or rejected based on the same editorial considerations as original news content, including the reliability of the source. In many cases a news release will be followed by further original reporting by our news team.
- We do not pass off the contents of a news release as original journalism, and when we include all or part of a news release alongside our original reporting it is clearly indicated as such.
- As with all of the information we publish, we only publish when we know its source. The source of a news release is always prominently noted.
Village Media is a for-profit journalism organization. Our work is primarily ad-supported and the majority of our advertisers are from the local communities we cover. Readers may also choose to support Village Media through voluntary contributions and membership. We additionally rely on some funding from the government, as provided through the Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization tax credit and the Local Journalism Initiative.
Village Media journalists play no role in cultivating financial relationships with advertisers or government funders.
Advertisers will not receive preferential coverage. If an article mentions any advertiser, we will disclose the relevant relationship within the story.
We do not allow advertisers to have a say in the selection of the content of stories.
We do not allow advertising for certain types of products. We have a committee of advertising and editorial staff which reviews advertising proposals to make sure they do not affect the credibility of the publication.
Sponsored or other paid content that appears on Village Media sites is clearly marked as such.
We require sponsored content that looks like news stories to be accompanied by a clear statement that the article was prepared by the advertiser and did not involve editorial staff.