These policies are meant to guide Telugurajyam.com journalism as we deliver news and information in a rapidly changing media environment. We consider these guidelines to be a “living document” that we will continually modify and update based on feedback from our journalists, from our readers and from our perceptions of our changing needs. Because the circumstances under which information is obtained and reported vary widely from one case to the next, these guidelines should not be understood as establishing hard and fast rules or as covering every situation that might arise.
Conflict of interest
This news organization is pledged to avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest wherever and whenever possible. We have adopted stringent policies on these issues, conscious that they may be more restrictive than is customary in the world of private business. In particular:
We pay our own way.
We accept no gifts from news sources. We accept no free trips. We neither seek nor accept preferential treatment that might be rendered because of the positions we hold. Exceptions to the no-gift rule are few and obvious — invitations to meals, for example, may be accepted when they are occasional and innocent but not when they are repeated and their purpose is deliberately calculating. Free admissions to any event that is not free to the public are prohibited. The only exception is for seats not sold to the public, as in a press box, or tickets provided for a critic’s review. Whenever possible, arrangements will be made to pay for such seats.
We do not accept payment — either honoraria or expenses — from governments, government-funded organizations, groups of government officials, political groups or organizations that take positions on controversial issues. A reporter or editor also cannot accept payment from any person, company or organization that he or she covers. And we should avoid accepting money from individuals, companies, trade associations or organizations that lobby government or otherwise try to influence issues the newspaper covers. Broadcast organizations, educational institutions, social organizations and many professional organizations usually fall outside this provision unless the reporter or editor is involved in coverage of them.
It is important that no freelance assignments and no honoraria be accepted that might in any way be interpreted as disguised gratuities. We make every reasonable effort to be free of obligation to news sources and to special interests. We must be wary of entanglement with those whose positions render them likely to be subjects of journalistic interest and examination. Our private behavior as well as our professional behavior must not bring discredit to our profession or to The Post.
We avoid active involvement in any partisan causes — politics, community affairs, social action, demonstrations — that could compromise or seem to compromise our ability to report and edit fairly. Relatives cannot fairly be made subject to Post rules, but it should be recognized that their employment or their involvement in causes can at least appear to compromise our integrity. The business and professional ties of traditional family members or other members of your household must be disclosed to department heads.
Reporters and editors of The Post are committed to fairness. While arguments about objectivity are endless, the concept of fairness is something that editors and reporters can easily understand and pursue. Fairness results from a few simple practices: No story is fair if it omits facts of major importance or significance. Fairness includes completeness.
No story is fair if it includes essentially irrelevant information at the expense of significant facts. Fairness includes relevance.
No story is fair if it consciously or unconsciously misleads or even deceives the reader. Fairness includes honesty — leveling with the reader.
No story is fair if it covers individuals or organizations that have not been given the opportunity to address assertions or claims about them made by others. Fairness includes diligently seeking comment and taking that comment genuinely into account.
The Telugurajyam.com respects taste and decency, understanding that society’s concepts of taste and decency are constantly changing. A word offensive to the last generation can be part of the next generation’s common vocabulary. But we shall avoid prurience. We shall avoid profanities and obscenities unless their use is so essential to a story of significance that its meaning is lost without them. In no case shall obscenities be used without the approval of the executive or managing editors.
If editors decide that content containing potentially offensive material has a legitimate news value, editors should use visual and/or text warnings about such material. For example, we may link to a Web page that contains material that does not meet standards for Post original content, but we let users know what they might see before they click the link by including a warning, such as “Warning: Some images on this site contain graphic images of war.”
Finally, we do not link to sites that aid or abet illegal activity. Consult with the Legal Department if you have a question about whether a site falls under this rule.
The separation of news columns from the editorial pages is solemn and complete. This separation is intended to serve the reader, who is entitled to the facts in the news columns and to opinions on the editorial and “op-ed” pages. But nothing in this separation of functions is intended to eliminate from the news columns honest, in-depth reporting, or analysis or commentary when plainly labeled. The labels are designed as follows:
Analysis: Interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data, as well as anticipating how events might unfold based on past events
Perspective: Discussion of news topics with a point of view, including narratives by individuals regarding their own experiences.
Opinion: A column or blog in the Opinions section.
Review: A professional critic’s assessment of a service, product, performance, or artistic or literary work.
When using networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., for reporting or for our personal lives, we must protect our professional integrity and remember: Telugurajyam.com journalists are always Telugurajyam.com journalists.
Social media accounts maintained by Telugurajyam.com journalists reflect upon the reputation and credibility of the newsroom. Even as we express ourselves in more personal and informal ways to forge better connections with our readers, we must be ever mindful of preserving the reputation of The Telugurajyam.com for journalistic excellence, fairness and independence. Every comment or link we share should be considered public information, regardless of privacy settings.
Post journalists must refrain from writing, tweeting or posting anything — including photographs or video — that could objectively be perceived as reflecting political, racial, sexist, religious or other bias or favoritism.
A journalist’s role
Although it has become increasingly difficult in an Internet age, reporters should make every effort to remain in the audience, to be the stagehand rather than the star, to report the news, not to make the news.
In gathering news, journalists will not misrepresent their identity or their occupation. They will not portray themselves as police officers, physicians or anything other than journalists.