of the Gleaner Newspaper
is covered by this Policy
of members of the Gleaner Company
to deliver the 'Reader Experience'
22. Wire policy
23. Publication review
24. Racial and ethnic identification
27. Engaging the public
28. Confidential information and intellectual property
29. Page flow deadlines
30. Therefore we must...
31. Email and Internet usage
32. Compliance with Code
A great newspaper is distinguished by
the balance, fairness and authority of its reporting and editing. The Gleaner
takes seriously its job as the nation's watchdog, provider of news,
conscience and forum and we hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards.
While the primary way in which we serve our readers is through our editorial
products, it is no less incumbent that we hold ourselves to the highest
ethical and legal principles. We strive to uphold these principles as we go
about our journalistic endeavour.
1. THE DUTY OF GLEANER NEWSPAPERS
The fate of
newspapers lies in the hands of the public. The freedom enjoyed by
journalists to report and to comment is, and should be seen as a precious
gift from the public.
Our duty, therefore, is clear: It is
to serve the public with dedication and character, and to exercise freedoms
with passion and responsibility.
We are committed to maintaining a
tradition of excellence for our newspapers. To do this, we must be aggressive
in publishing the news. The independence of our editors, reporters and
photographers is not for sale. No territory of legitimate public interest is
off limits to fair and competent reporting and comment.
We are a firm believer and supporter
in freedom of the press, freedom of expression. Freedom makes a place for
excellence. That place must be filled with professional discipline, with
respect for the public we serve, and with a keen sense of fairness to all
We must always strive to:
"Get it first and get it right."
In other words, let our rule be:
"Get it right, first."
When mistakes occur, we should correct
them promptly and forthrightly. Excellence cannot flourish without criticism.
We need criticism and should seek it.
The first priority of The Gleaner
newspapers is to present a faithful and accurate picture of Jamaican life.
This requires detailed coverage of local events, institutions and people's
Problems are at the core of news, but
they are not all of the news. Even against the tide of modern life, people
and institutions make progress. We should be generous in coverage of
achievement; our pages should reflect the grit, devotion and durability of
the human, and in particular, the Jamaican spirit. While exposure of
wrongdoing is a proper function and on occasion a required function of
newspapers, it is not the main purpose. Corruption and conflicts of interest,
in most communities, have little to do with the important things that are not
working. Most of our communities' failures are rooted in complex problems. A
truly excellent newspaper will spend most of its investigative skills on
explaining those circumstances in the hope of helping to forge solutions.
A great newspaper is distinguished by
the balance, fairness and authority of its reporting and editing. Such a newspaper
searches as hard for strengths and accomplishments as for weakness and
failure. The great newspaper will, by honest and intelligent journalism,
inspire people to do better. We will inspire our Nation.
2. WHO IS COVERED
BY THIS POLICY?
Policy applies to all Editorial employees, full and part time.
contractors, freelance contributors should be encouraged to adhere to the
Ethics Policy; however, supervising Editors will judge freelance work based
on the standards in The Gleaner's policy.
It is the
freelancer's responsibility to inform Editors of potential conflicts such as
a personal or business relationship with the subject of a story. If the
Editor determines a conflict exists, the freelancer will be taken off an
assignment, or the contribution refused.
The Gleaner strives to always be the nation's trusted source of news,
information and commentary, with the expressed goal of helping people
understand the many issues that touch their lives.
All our publications will be readable
and interesting as we strive to provide our readers with the news and
information they need to understand their world and improve their lives.
of The Gleaner Company Limited include:
The Children's Own Magazine
The Sunday Gleaner
The Voice (distributed in England)
Young Voices (distributed in England)
The Weekend Star
The Gleaner Archives Online
Outlook Sunday Magazine
The Gleaner's Youthlink
The Gleaner's Hospitality Jamaica
Track & Pools
5. STATEMENT OF
- The Gleaner Company Limited is a
full-fledged communications company offering a variety of
information-gathering and research capabilities through its family of
newspapers, radio stations, and on-line service, www.Go-Jamaica.com.
- The Gleaner Company Limited is
founded on a philosophy of individual enterprise exerted singly or in
groups based on free and fair competition.
- We are driven by a vision of a
country where access to opportunities is based on merit, equity and fair
- The Gleaner, The Sunday Gleaner,
The Star and Weekend Star are national newspapers dedicated to public
- We believe in the traditional
role of a free and responsible press serving the people by faithfully
reporting the facts without fear or favour.
- We shall fairly reflect the
aspirations, triumphs, success, pain, interests and culture of the
- We will be generous in our
coverage of achievements and our pages will reflect the grit, devotion
and durability of the human spirit.
- While not affiliated to any
political party or section of the community, we support the policies and
actions of any group we believe to be serving the public interest.
- We believe the essential role of
government is to maintain order and that government ought to create the
climate for efficient and profitable expansion of business.
- Our role is to report and comment
on the facts: to be the voice of reason; to champion the cause of a
truly independent Jamaica; to help citizens in their exercise of freedom
of speech and expression, freedom of worship and association, and freedom
- We will vigorously support
efforts to fight corruption and defend the principles of transparency
and open government.
a. We are
committed to seeking and reporting the truth
- We will dedicate ourselves to
reporting news accurately, thoroughly and without bias or malice.
will be honest in the way we gather, report and present news.
will hold factual information in editorials to the same standards of
accuracy as news stories.
will keep our content relevant and balanced, providing to our readers a
broad spectrum of information and views.
b. We are
committed to serving the public interest
will do our best to uphold the Constitution.
support Parliamentary democracy, including a multi-party system in which
there are regular elections freely and fairly conducted.
will be vigilant watchdogs of government and other institutions that
affect the public.
will support private business initiatives.
will provide the news and information that people need to function as
will lay the foundation for dialogue between the people and their
will seek solutions as well as expose problems.
will provide a forum for diverse views.
will reflect and encourage understanding of the diverse segments of our
will provide editorial and community leadership.
c. We are
committed to staff development
will support and encourage and support exposure to diverse skill tasks
within the journalistic spectrum
will provide appropriate training opportunities to our staff.
d. We are
committed to fair play
- We will strive to include all
sides relevant to a story and not exhibit bias in our news coverage.
- We will treat people with
dignity, respect and compassion.
- We will respect the privacy of
individuals and recognise that any intrusion has to be justified in the
- We will correct errors brought to
our attention promptly.
- We will use unnamed sources as
the sole basis for published information as a last resort; this must be
discussed with supervising editor or Editor-in-Chief.
- We will always strive to be
accessible to our readers.
e. We are
committed to maintaining independence
- We will maintain an arm's length
relationship with anyone seeking to manipulate our news coverage.
- We will avoid potential conflicts
of interest, real or perceived.
f. We are
committed to acting with integrity
- We will act honourably and
ethically in dealing with news sources, the public and our colleagues.
- Bribes are unacceptable.
- We will not publish material that
encourages discrimination, ridicule, prejudice or hatred.
- We will strive to uphold the law
at all times.
6. IDENTIFICATION OF MEMBERS OF THE
of The Gleaner are required to wear their identification badges at all time
that they are on the Gleaner premises or on assignments.
visitors, including friends of staff, must wear Customer ID badges whilst on
the Company's premises.
are not permitted without prior permission into the Editorial office and
should be met in the lobby on the ground floor or, in the fourth floor lobby.
"The first priority of Gleaner
newspapers is to present a faithful and accurate picture of the life of
protect our credibility with a vigorous commitment to accuracy. We will
remedy, in a timely manner, all errors of fact with a correction or
clarification. If a staff member becomes aware of an error in his own or
others' published work, the staff member has a responsibility to notify an
Editor or the Editor-in-Chief as soon as possible.
b. Procedure for
dealing with complaints
The Editors of
publications should field complaints from members of the public. These
complaints should be examined and referred to the Editor-in-Chief with
recommendations from the respective Editors within one week. Where necessary,
will refer complaints to the Legal Advisor.
will regularly publish notices to inform readers how to communicate complaints.
will be the duty or supervising editor's responsibility to obtain a statement
from the reporter to see whether the story published was accurate or not.
a correction to the story is required, the Editor-in-Chief, the Legal Advisor
or their nominees will contact the offended party to discuss the matter, and
wherever possible, make a correction as quickly as possible. The correction
, whenever possible, appear in the
same publication or section as the offending article or column.
Editor-in-Chief will be responsible for ensuring that the correction is
affixed to the original story in
(i) the bound
library newspaper file
(ii) in the editorial computer database
(iii) online and radio
(iv) anywhere else that is required
The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for
ensuring that the same story containing the incorrect information is:
from any other Gleaner publication not yet printed, in particular, the three
overseas newspapers and the Children's Own, Youthlink,etc.
a correction cannot be agreed with the offended party, then the matter must
be brought to the attention of the Legal Advisor.
is the Editor-in-Chief's responsibility to ensure that the evidence held by the
Gleaner Company, including reporter's handbooks and tapes, are retained and
safeguarded in case a court action arises.
In every such
event, a written note will be prepared by the Editor-in-Chief giving the
relevant information about the incident. Such briefs will be copied to the
We do not use
extended quotes from other sources without giving credit.
These quotes should reflect exactly what a source said.
. If the
source's grammar or language is unsuitable, paraphrase.
paraphrase, we remain faithful to the original statement.
Quotes should fairly reflect the context of the conversation.
accurately and fairly reflect the diversity of gender, colour, ethnicity,
class, generation, geography and other attributes that distinguish our
requires our staff to go beyond the usual contacts when seeking sources. The
ideal is to have the Jamaica's diverse groups represented in whom we cite,
regardless of the theme or topic being covered. The principle holds true for
business, religion, education, consumer and political stories.
instances, a reporter may use imaginary characters or situations, but their
fictitious nature must be immediately clear to the reader. This must also be
first agreed with the Duty Editor or Editor-in-Chief. Other fiction writing
techniques to avoid include:
telescoping of time so that, for example, events that actually happened
during several days are reported as happening in a single day.
descriptions of scenes that the writer could not have seen, unless supported
by in-depth reporting.
conveying that the reporter knew what an individual was thinking or feeling
without having been told.
On occasion, a
fictional name may be used for a real person when there is good reason to
believe that public identification would cause severe embarrassment or harm
to that person. Readers should be informed of the fictional name.
TO DELIVER "THE READER EXPERIENCE"
Apply these questions to each
a. How is
this story different from what's on the electronic media today?
b. What is in
this story that the reader will not find in other media?
c. Does this
story contain useful information, news that the reader can
d. Is this
story one the reader will talk about tomorrow?
e. Is there
any "go do" information in this story?
f. Is there
something in this story that looks out for the reader's personal and civic
g. Are there
unanswered questions in this story?
h. Are there
grammatical/spelling errors in this story?
i. Do you have
a suggested headline?
j. Do I have
information to provide graphics?
k. What are
the possible photos to tie with this story?
a. Use of internet
all facts reported from an online site unless you are confident of its
source. For instance, the official JIS website can be regarded as a reliable
source for government news; a personal website may not be.
using a source via Internet or e-mail, verify the source by phone or in
person. Make certain a communication is genuine before using it.
credit photos and graphics downloaded from the Internet. Usually, generic mug
shots and icons do not need credits.
b. Researching on
information should be attributed, just as we would information from any book,
magazine or other publication. Our prohibition against plagiarism applies to
c. Linking to websites
from a story
review websites listed in stories. If you have concerns about including a
site in a story because of inappropriate content, check with an Editor.
the same standards of representation as you would using the telephone or in
person. Using deceptive methods to gain information, including the failure to
reveal one's identity as a journalist while using a computer or the use of
false identification to obtain access to computer systems, is corrosive to
truth telling. Interviews via email should be labeled as such in stories
(i.e. "he said during an e-mail interview.")
This is a candid or unposed photo that records news, features or sports. The
spirit of the documentary photo is to be honest and above board with readers.
Any appearance or suspicion of manipulation of documentary photos strikes
against our core values. Submitted photos should meet these same standards.
For questions about photo authenticity, check with an Editor.
Posing or re-enacting a documentary photograph is unacceptable. Altering a
documentary photo is also unacceptable.
b. Portrait photo
This photo is usually posed and it should be obvious to the reader if it is.
Portrait photos must not be altered.
c. Icon photos
This category is much like the photo illustration - almost anything goes. It
includes simple photos that illustrate or label stories. Examples include
photos of planes, ships, money, hockey sticks, hands, buildings, etc. Cut-out
photos would be included in this. It is not necessary to credit these photos.
d. Use of file
The use of
file, or for that matter, any photo used out of context, can be libelous.
The use of
file photos must be approved by the Editor-in-Chief, Duty Editor or Legal
Advisor. Credits must be labeled as file. Caption text should be presented
for approval at the same time as photo.
juxtaposition of photographs and text on a page, particularly when not
properly ruled off, can be libelous.
e. To use or not
When in doubt,
use common sense or check with an Editor. Shooting the photo usually is not
the problem. Publishing the photo may be. Using sound judgment, the
photographer should almost always shoot the picture. The editing process will
determine whether the photo will be used. Some photos should be approved by
Some red flags
include pictures of:
or sexual content
or other body fluids
is too good to be true (it may be set up)
words or gestures (these may be hidden in a photo)
shot (zipper open, food on the face)
expression not related to the event or situation
performing dangerous acts
that may otherwise shock or appall readers
the photo appropriate to the story?
the news value worth upsetting the reader?
are the paper's general standards of taste?
you need to pass the photo through the top Editor?
it pass the "breakfast table" test?
11.CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
"The independence of our Editors, reporters and photographers is not for
a. Public life
are encouraged to participate in professional, civic and cultural activities.
To ensure that our credibility is not damaged, staff members have a special
responsibility to avoid conflicts of interest or any activity that would
compromise their journalistic integrity.
and social causes:
employees should not work for a political candidate or office-holder on a
paid or voluntary basis. Participation in public demonstrations for political
causes is forbidden.
a public stand on controversial social, religious or political issues should
first be discussed with the Editor-in-Chief. This includes signing of
petitions, either on paper or on-line.
public office or accepting political appointment is prohibited, unless
specifically approved by the Editor or publisher.
a staff member has a close relative or friend working in a political campaign
or organisation, the staffer should refrain from covering or making news
judgments about that campaign or organisation. A loved one's activities can
create a real or potential conflict for a staff member. In those cases,
inform a supervisor and take steps to avoid conflicts.
to or memberships in organisations with political agendas should be carefully
considered, and the Editor should be aware of this Staff
members should use common sense when displaying bumper stickers, pins, badges
and other signs.
in a social or civic organisation normally does not result in a conflict;
however, staff members should not cover or make news decisions about groups
they belong to. Such activities should be disclosed to a supervisor.
on boards of charitable or cultural organisations that are covered by our
newspaper - must be approved by the Editor.
is inappropriate for staff members to appear publicly on behalf of a civic
group or themselves. An exception can be made when an organisation's policy
or action directly affects the employee. In this case, talk with your
your action, comments, donation or display cause people to reasonably doubt
your objectivity or that of the newspaper?
an organisation identifies you as a supporter, volunteer or staff member -
and also notes that you work for The Gleaner - would it appear as if the
group has a connection with the newspaper?
it be construed that the newspaper and its staff are giving special treatment
to the group?
your public role intersect with your work? If so, does your supervisor know
about the potential conflict?
b. Personal life
Investments, loans or other outside business activities that could conflict
with the newspaper's ability to report news must be avoided.
Use of inside
knowledge for personal gain is prohibited. Staff members should not enter
into a business relationship with news sources.
* Employees must never become obligated to news sources, advertisers,
suppliers or any person or organisation by receiving gifts or favours. Situations
will arise that call for judgment. If you have any doubt, check with your
supervisor or the Editor-in-Chief.
* Gifts and
other items delivered to staff members must be recorded in a register kept by
the department's administrator. Those valuing $3,000 or more will be
returned, or donated to charity. Review copies of books, movies, computer
software and music may be kept by the reviewer. When in doubt, discuss with
passes are limited to those assigned to cover an event and other staff
members with a clear journalistic purpose for attending. Supervisors will
determine appropriate staffing. Extra passes should not be given to friends
are sent to a large number of people in the Editorial Department by outside
parties in the hope that members of the Editorial staff will cover events.
All employees receiving invitations for any event must take these to their
supervisor and request direction as to whether they are expected to file a
story on the event.
you have a clear journalistic purpose in using a press pass for an event? If
you had to buy a ticket and obtain reimbursement, could you justify it as a
a source offers lunch or a cup of coffee, can you arrange to split the bill,
or treat next time?
declining a gift, did you explain our policy to the gift-giver?
- Company identification cards are
not to be used for personal purposes, to gain admission to an event, to
solicit favors or to avoid enforcement of a law.
- Employees also must not use their
position on the newspaper staff in private business matters. Staff
members should neither verbally invoke a position with the newspaper nor
use company stationery or e-mail for such purposes.
- Newsroom employees should not use
their Gleaner news sources to obtain tickets to entertainment events or
other personal favours.
that spouses and immediate family members have lives of their own to lead.
However, when loved ones' activities might become newsworthy, employees are
encouraged to make them aware of policies requiring us to avoid a conflict of
interest or the appearance of one. Employees must inform their supervisors of
personal relationships that may conflict with their job responsibilities.
Editors should not contract with a relative or close friend to work directly
for them as a freelancer without approval of the Editor.
a family member or the newspaper publicly disclose the situation without fear
of embarrassment or legitimate criticism?
it damage the newspaper's credibility?
Our goal is to
write about the community, not ourselves. Staffers should avoid quoting,
featuring or photographing their own family members and those of other
Gleaner employees. The use of family members or relatives in photo
illustrations is discouraged when the person is identifiable in the photo.
this person an essential part of the story?
the picture or quote just as logically come from another source?
c. On the Job
government and political coverage:
- The Gleaner pays for travel,
meals, lodging and other expenses for newsroom employees covering
political campaigns, candidates and public officials.
We work for no
one except The Gleaner Company Limited, without the express permission of the
work for print or electronic media not in direct competition with The Gleaner
may be permissible, as long as it does not constitute a conflict of interest
or otherwise interfere with the performance of a staff member's job.
Permission can more easily be granted when an article, photo or piece or
artwork has been published or offered for publication first in our newspaper
or on our Web site. Prior permission is required.
resources, such as computers and cameras, should not be used in the pursuit
of outside work.
appearances and blogs
the exception of www.Go-Jamaica.com, staff members should clear any request
with the Editor for participation in a radio, internet or television
programme or news broadcast. While on the air, staff members should
demonstrate a high standard of impartiality, just as in our news pages.
Opinions and speculation should be avoided. Generally, a staff member should
not say anything on radio, TV or the Internet that could not appear under his
or her byline in The Gleaner.
same principles of professionalism apply to blogs.
your TV, Internet
or other activities cause readers to reasonably doubt the newspaper's
your blogging identity became known, could it embarrass you or the newspaper?
12.COOPERATION WITH AUTHORITIES
are not required to turn over to any authorities their notes or film unless
directed to do so by a court. If the staff member receives such a request,
contact your Editor immediately.
members should avoid being confrontational or hostile in resisting an
authority's demand for materials. If you are arrested solely because of your
refusal to turn over material, the newspaper will be supportive and provide
coverage of a news event, reporters and photographers often discuss basic
information with law enforcement personnel, but journalists should not
is our practice not to provide photographs, information or copies of
published articles to attorneys in civil or criminal matters. Refer such
requests to the public library, Gleaner Online archives or the Photography
Department's reprint service.
members are forbidden from working for the Jamaica Constabulary Force or any
other governmental intelligence or law enforcement agency. If you are
approached, inform your supervisor.
We have a
three-part test to determine whether we should turn over source material to a
the material be obtained elsewhere? Is this the last resort?
there a compelling public interest?
the request relevant to the issue at hand?
"A great newspaper is distinguished by the balance, fairness and
authority of its reporting and editing…"
e. Fair play
commitment to fair play, we:
all sources the same, whether friendly or hostile. We evaluate all sources
based on the newsworthiness of their information.
all sides of a story. We are upfront with readers about what we don't know
and about evidence that contradicts the main finding of a news story.
people accused of wrongdoing a full and immediate opportunity to respond to
all charges. We also report the final outcome of such allegations - for
example, the verdict after an arrest.
not make promises to sources about where, whether or when we will publish a
story or photo.
if the person accused of wrongdoing in a story were your mother? Would you
feel the story was fair?
if a learned journal wanted to interview you about the methods you used to
get a story or photo? Would you be comfortable defending your conduct?
defamatory or controversial matters
Discuss with a supervisor or
the Legal Advisor any story which
may include potentially defamatory or controversial matters and those
critical of persons and institutions in order to determine whether the story
may be published.
be placed in the "Lawyer to vet folder" of Scoop Edit and the Legal
Advisor must be notified that the article has been placed in the folder for
must not be published unless and until approved by the legal Advisor.
or pejorative reference to a person's race, colour, religion or gender must
publication of the details of a person's race, colour, religion or sexual
orientation must be avoided unless critical to the story and in the public
interest. We will particularly seek to avoid the publication of stories that
may expose the subject to ridicule, hatred, public contempt or violence
arising from that person's race, colour, religion or sexual orientation.
a member of The Gleaner Company's reporting staff is threatened in the course
of carrying out his or her job, the matter should be reported immediately to
his or her supervisor and Editor-in-Chief. Staffers should take all possible
precautions whilst on assignment.
Material such as tapes, books and CDs
which are supplied to the Gleaner for review are stored by our Information
Systems Department where they will form part of the pool of reference
- We identify criminal suspects
only after arrest warrants have been issued, they have been arrested or
they have been formally charged. When we write about people accused of
wrongdoing, we must provide them an opportunity to respond. That effort
should include seeking comments from defense attorneys, family members
and friends. The journalist's efforts must be included in article
submitted for publication.
- As a rule, we do not name
juvenile suspects. We do identify suspects 17 years of age or older who
are charged with committing crimes serious enough to warrant their
prosecution as adults.
- We use sparingly such phrases as
"unavailable for comment'' or "could not be reached.'' We do
so only after we have worked hard to reach suspects, their attorneys and
others with a stake in the story. Keep written records of such efforts,
and mention in story.
- Using "allegedly'' does not
protect us from libel. Instead, cite multiple official sources, court
records and testimony to make stories credible.
- Generally we try to name everyone
involved in a crime serious enough to warrant a story. Names of victims
or witnesses and their addresses may be withheld if there's a legitimate
concern for their safety. We do not name victims of sexual crimes unless
they request it. Decisions to publish or withhold a name should be
approved by an Editor.
- When we identify suspects, we
will make every effort to use differentiating details, such as full
name, middle initial, age, street and occupation. Providing these
details helps ensure accuracy and prevents innocent people with the same
name from being implicated.
- Reporting bomb threats and
similar hoaxes may lead to "copycat" threats. We generally
avoid reporting these, except when many lives are disrupted for extended
periods or when the threat attracts considerable community attention.
- When a public safety incident
involves a public figure, we should apply our usual standards for determining
whether a story is warranted. Ask this question: Does the incident
conflict with the person's public role? For example, we would write
about a politician with a long record of opposing drugs who is arrested
for cocaine use.
- When a public safety incident
involves someone closely connected to a public figure, we should apply
our usual standards for determining whether a story is warranted. Ask
this question: Is the public figure involved in the incident? When in
doubt, do not implicate the public figure. For example, a school
principal's name probably would not be included in a story about a
spouse's drug arrest.
we given accused persons a chance to make their case? Have we made serious
efforts to reach a defense attorney? Have we also sought comments and
reaction from relatives, co-workers and friends?
we withholding the name of suspect, victim or witness because of age, safety
concerns, the nature of the crime or other privacy concerns? Has an Editor
approved withholding the name?
the allegations provably true? Are we attributing allegations to records or
testimony, and have we accurately represented the material?
we writing about an incident only because the suspect is a public figure or
connected to a public figure? Does this incident say something about the
public figure that the community should know?
a. We must
make every effort not to break the sub judice rule. We must ensure
that any comment on cases before the court is fair and balanced.
identification of relatives or friends or associates of persons convicted or
accused of crime must be avoided unless it is directly relevant to the case.
regard should be paid to the potentially vulnerable position of children who
are witnesses to, or victims of crime.
First and foremost: treat every source fairly and with respect. Always
identify yourself as a journalist so sources know their comments could be
published. Any exception must be approved by the Editor.
Types of sources:
1. On the record: The source's
identity and information can be used.
2. Not for
attribution: A source provides information that can be used in a story but the source
cannot be identified. The source and reporter must agree on this before the
information is shared.
3. Off the
record: This information cannot be published and the source's identity cannot be
disclosed. Reporters can use the information to develop other sources for the
story without revealing the off-the-record source. The Gleaner Company's
journalists have a moral obligation to protect their sources.
the use of anonymous sources is essential for protecting our integrity and
credibility. However, delaying or withholding stories because of an anonymous
source issue may deny the public the information it needs and deserves, which
poses another threat to our integrity and credibility.
Access to Information legislation, government agencies and private
institutions remain secretive and inclined to refuse access to information.
That places a greater burden on news organisations to find alternative - and
sometimes anonymous - sources of information.
anonymous sourcing has become a standard journalistic technique, we at The
Gleaner strive to limit its use. Every effort should be made to get the
information on the record. Pledges of confidentiality by reporters should
begiven only as a last resort. Any promise of confidentiality is an agreement
between the source and the newspaper, not an individual staff member.
The use of an
anonymous source must be approved by your supervisor and the Editor-in-Chief
must be informed especially in potentially highly controversial cases. The
source's identity must be disclosed to the supervisor and at least one Senior
Editor to ensure the source is reliable and knowledgeable. Reporters cannot
promise that they will not share the source's identity with their
Anyone in the
company who learns the identity of an anonymous source is bound by the terms
of the confidentiality extended to the source. If a reporter cannot disclose
the source's identity to Editors as required, the information will not be
published. Any exception must be approved by the Editor-in-Chief or his
stories, we will make every effort to prevent an unnamed source from
attacking a person or institution. Exceptions must be approved by a Duty Editor
or the Editor-in-Chief on the basis of carefully considered reasons. Opinions
of unnamed sources may be used to help a reporter shape a more complete
picture of a person or institution, but should not be a guiding force or
portrayed as such, except with approval of the Editor-in-Chief.
on-the-record sourcing available for this information?
you made several attempts to persuade the source to go on the record?
the information crucial to public understanding of an important matter?
the source have a legitimate reason for wanting to be shielded?
identification put the source in physical danger or jeopardise his/her career
or result in some other serious form of retribution?
you skeptically analysed the source's motives?
When we decide that sources'
identities will be shielded, we must tell the readers as much as possible
about the unnamed sources, short of revealing their identities, including the
reason for anonymity. We will avoid attributions like "key officials
said" and "informed sources said." Instead attempt to give
readers a better idea of who the individuals are and why their information
might be significant enough for us to hide their identities. For example, use
attributions like "a lawyer involved in the case", "a
government official involved in the matter", "a KSAC member",
"a JPS executive" or "a legislator and supporter of the bill."
Reporters should work out with their
sources how they will be identified, subject to approval by their supervising
Editor. Negotiate this. They typically will want as little identifying
information as possible. Push back. Explain that the legitimacy of their
information in the readers' minds depends on as much disclosure as possible.
We must be honest with our readers.
They expect it of us and it's our contract with them. Our legitimacy and
reputation depend on it.
We will not use a plural such as "sources", "officials",
"experts" or "aides" when there is only one source. An
anonymous source should never be another reporter in the Gleaner newsroom.
Citing a reporter from another news organisation anonymously must be approved
by the Editor.
We will avoid citing a source
anonymously who is quoted by name elsewhere in the story. We also will avoid
saying a source had "no
comment" or couldn't be reached for comment when that person is quoted
anonymously in the story.
If you cannot be honest, leave the
When you agree to shield sources, make sure they clearly understand the
the source is lying will you keep the promise of anonymity?
you go to jail for the source?
the source come forward if you or the newspaper is subpoenaed?
if the source later discloses the information publicly?
you make a promise to shield a source, you must keep it.
We discourage shielding the identities
of people who appear in our stories. There are a few exceptions. We do not
reveal the identities of sexual assault or child abuse victims without their
Withholding identity in other
situations - out of compassion, for instance - generally requires the
approval of an Editor.
We are mindful that our newspapers may
provide the only permanent, public record of a juvenile's involvement in the
criminal justice system or the foster
care system. We may consider concealing the identity of a child or adolescent
whose involvement in these systems is the subject of a story.
In the rare instances when we publish
a source's first name only, we will explain to readers why a full name does
not appear. We do not publish fictional names for real people as a means of
Reporters should know the names of all
individuals whose identities are being protected and how to reach them. And
those identities must be shared with their Editor.
The use of fictitious quotations and
phantom sources is prohibited.
20. BLOG AND WEB SOURCES
Anonymous comments from web logs and
other Internet sites should not be used. The same standards apply to these
sources as to other sources. If blogged comments are used, the sources should
be identified by their full name. Every effort should be made to verify the
identification of the source to ensure accuracy.
It is the duty of all Editorial
employees to familiarize themselves with the law of libel and defamation.
Staff members should check with Legal Advisor for copies of existing
legislation. Each employee must attend at least two in-house libel workshops
annually. The onus is on the staff member to ensure that he/she has the
Whenever there is any doubt as to
whether a story might be libelous, it is essential that this story be read by
the Company's Legal Advisor or referred to our external lawyer by the Editor.
a) protection to report what takes place in non- Jamaican courts
Reports out of Non-Commonwealth or non-Jamaican courts are not protected by
privilege. To be specific, The Gleaner could become liable for libel for
reporting proceedings of U.S. Courts even if that court is/was open to the
court proceedings which are held en camera (secret) - e.g. Grand Jury
investigations - are not protected.
Court cases must not be based exclusively on attorney's views/comments but on
comments from the Clerk of the Courts, Judges, or official documents.
written by reporters, who were not personally in Court, should normally be
regarded as questionable and not be published without approval of the Editor.
The Wire Editor,
a News Editor or Duty Editor is responsible for reviewing all non-
commonwealth court stores for libel and should consult with the attorney when
It is the duty
of editors to ensure that reports on police arrest or actions rely on
official releases such as those issued by the Constabulary Communication
Network (CCN) and should not be based on allegations by complainants.
It is the duty
of the News Editor to ensure that the future dates are recorded and that the
case is covered.
c) Reports on
persons being investigated
No story will be run in any Gleaner publication which alleges that a named
individual is being investigated (in contrast to being charged) for any
offence which might be libelous.
is different if an individual has been charged with an offence or there has
been a public statement by an official figure
concerning the investigation (e.g. Constabulary Communication Network).
between a reporter and a police official is not a public statement, unless
the police officer is speaking in his capacity as an officer of the law and
the information is given to the reporter in his capacity as a journalist.
In all such
cases the identity of the person making the statement must be published.
reporting on an investigation (no charge having been made) must be handled
with great care to avoid libel. If it is likely to be highly controversial,
this should be approved in advance by the Editor-in-Chief or his nominee.
In any such
story, if it is run following a public statement, every attempt must be made
by a reporter and supervisor to contact the person being investigated to
obtain his/her side of the story. In every case involving an investigation,
the Legal Advisor must see the story and approve it.
The story should
only contain the facts set out in public statements or reliable sources and
should not contain rumours, innuendoes, speculation or unconfirmable (in
court) background material. Editors must insist that this guideline is
d) Recording of conversations/interviews
should try as often as possible to tape all conversations when conducting
interviews, and/or ensure that accurate notes are kept and that these form
part of their retained records. Notes should be kept for at least two years.
There should be regular checks by the Editor-in-Chief or nominee to ensure
reporters who tape conversations must advise the other party that they are
being taped unless the taping is visually obvious. The Editors are
responsible for confirming that such recordings exist and confirm what is
of notes and tapes
party has up to six years to initiate a legal action against the Gleaner for
libel. This means that The Gleaner in 2007 could have knowledge for the first
time of a claim for libel in respect of a
story run in 2001.
therefore, required to ensure that notebooks and supporting documentation are
available for up to six years after a news story has been carried.
under the terms of their employment agree that they will make themselves
available to The Gleaner Company even after they have left the employment of
the Company to defend any legal action that may arise as a result of their
Department will be responsible for finding a mechanism to store reporters'
notebooks and tapes in safe custody once they have completed a notebook or
tape. Currently they are stored in the Information Systems Department. The
Editor-in-Chief must check on a regular basis to ensure this rule is being
care should be taken in publishing material received from correspondents.
Duty Editor is responsible for ensuring that all facts contained in such
stories are capable of verification. It is to be anticipated that some
correspondent's stories will require the Duty Editor to contact the
correspondent and discuss the article with them.
Wire stories that use anonymous
sources will be viewed with a critical eye. However, we recognise that many
important news stories depend on such sources. We may choose to run such
stories from news providers that are known to have strong anonymous-source
policies to prevent error and abuse - such as Reuters, The Associated Press.
Anonymously sourced stories from other news providers will be reviewed more
rigorously, but we may choose to run them, as well, depending on the
provider's reputation and track record with The Gleaner, and the importance
of the story. If a wire story uses anonymous sources and we deem that
material non-essential, we may cut it and run the rest of the story.
24. PUBLICATION REVIEW
encourage reporters to call sources to verify quotes or information. For
accuracy's sake, you may read back passages of a story. However, we do not
allow sources to approve stories for publication. Stories must not be sent to
outsiders for editing or vetting.
25. RACIAL AND
someone's race, ethnicity or sexual preferences only when it is important to
understanding the story.
evenly. Stories that deal with racial conflict or identify people by race
because that's the topic should identify all the characters in the story by
race. This rule also applies to columns and gossip columns.
race or ethnic identity relevant? Can I explain the relevance in the story?
will this information help readers understand this story?
I stereotyping a race or ethnic group, or just catering to some readers' idle
the physical description specific enough to help a reader identify a suspect?
"We need criticism and should
seek it. Lacking trust, a newspaper cannot serve or advance any worthy
a. New employees: Every new Editorial
employee will receive a copy of this policy when completing new-employee
paperwork. Supervisors will review the policy with new employees to make
sure that the policies are fully understood.
b. Current employees: It is
important for every newsroom employee to know the Ethics Policy and use it
when making decisions. Supervisors will review the policy with team members
as part of the annual process. Each newsroom employee will annually attest in
writing they have read the ethics policy in the preceding 12 months.
- If you believe you may have
inadvertently violated any of these guidelines, or a family member's
activities may have created a conflict or the appearance of conflict for
you, notify your supervisor as quickly as possible.
- Intentional or flagrant
violations of the ethics policy may result in disciplinary action:
reprimand, suspension or, in the most serious cases, termination.
- We understand the reluctance to
judge others' ethical behaviour. But we also recognise that we have a
responsibility to our readers and to the credibility of the newspaper
that outweighs personal loyalties and friendship. For that reason, any
staff member who becomes aware of possible ethical violations by others
is encouraged to bring it to the attention of the Editor.
- We will publish our Code of
Ethics on our Intranet and Go-Jamaica.
- We will use our Editorial pages
to refer readers to the Ethics Policy on the Web site.
- The Editor will introduce to
readers the Gleaner's adoption of an updated Code of Ethics and
professionalism. The Editor-in-Chief also may write subsequent columns
that revisit the code and give examples of how it was used.
INFORMATION AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Confidential information includes:
technical information about editorial and company policies; cost, marketing
strategies; non-public financial reports. In addition, the way we put
publicly known information together, to achieve a particular result, is often
a valuable trade secret.
Intellectual Property (IP) includes:
patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets. IP owners have rights
granted to them under the law. Confidential information, including that which
relates to IP, is a valuable asset that could benefit a competitor if known
to it or otherwise harm the Company if made public. We must be careful not to
disclose such information to unauthorized persons, either within or outside
the Gleaner, and must exercise care to protect the confidentiality of such
information received from another party.
30. PAGE FLOW AND DEADLINES
Newspapers which are not available for
sale at the right time will never get sold. Newspapers should be regarded as
highly perishable. Today's newspaper can rarely be sold tomorrow.
To achieve our deadline there should
be a regular flow of completed pages passing throughout the day from
Editorial to Prepress and on to the Print Department. The Editorial
Department strives to meet all deadlines.
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31. THEREFORE, WE MUST:
a. . Be careful about where we discuss editorial matters involving
disclose or use any confidential information for personal profit or
c. Not sign a
secrecy agreement with persons outside the company;
d. Not execute
confidentiality agreements with persons outside the Company before discussing
the Editorial's and the Gleaner's confidential information;
e. While being
alert to information in the marketplace, obtain competitive information only
in accordance with sound business and ethical principles;
approached with any offer of confidential information, ensure that both
parties understand and accept the condition under which the information is
with a supervisor or a Legal Advisor any unsolicited offer of confidential
information in order to determine whether the information should be accepted
or declined. This is particularly important if you have reason to believe it
may have been obtained improperly.
We must always protect The Gleaner's
confidential information and IP rights and we must also respect the same
rights of others. Report any unauthorized use of The Gleaner's IP. The
Gleaner trademark and trade name are among newspaper's most valuable assets.
The Gleaner's policy is to license one
software package per employee-user, except when the license provides
otherwise or permits a network version of the software to be used. We must
not copy software, protected by copyright law and/or license agreements.
32. E-MAIL AND
E-mail and Internet systems are
provided primarily for business use. E-mail is not entirely secure and may be
susceptible to interception and creates a permanent record. Any e-mail you
send may be printed by the recipient and forwarded by the recipient to
others, and is
probably retained on company computers for a substantial period of time.
Therefore, the Editorial staff should exercise the same care, caution and
etiquette in sending an e-mail message as they would in normal written
In relation to your Company Internet
connection, do not download any data that is unprofessional or inappropriate
for business use. In addition, all employee e-mail and Internet usage may be
the subject of monitoring without notice.
A Gleaner-furnished computer and
e-mail system should not be used to originate or forward non-business matters
such as chain letters. The Gleaner's e-mail system is provided to Gleaner
employees for the conduct of the Gleaner's business only.
WITH THE CODE
All Editorial employees are expected
to comply with the Editorial Code of Ethics and actively support its values
Any employee who fails to comply with
the Code, or who withholds information during the course of an investigation
regarding a possible violation of it is subject to disciplinary action up to
and including dismissal. Any consultant or supplier who fails to comply with
the Code may see their contract terminated or not renewed. Depending upon the
nature of the noncompliance, the Gleaner may have the legal obligation to
report the non-compliance to the appropriate authorities.
Breaches of the Code of Ethics must be
reported immediately to one of the following:
1. the Editor-in-Chief
2. Legal Advisor; or
3. the Manager, Human Resources and Administration
All information will, to the extent
possible, be received in confidence. No retaliatory action will be taken
against anyone for making in good faith a report of a violation. However, anyone
who takes part in a prohibited activity may be disciplined even if they
report it. An employee's decision to report will, in all cases, be given due
consideration in the event any disciplinary action is necessary.
Compliance with this Code of Ethics will
be measured by audits by the Company's Internal Audit Department.