The 91福利 Institute Codes of Ethics and Conduct

Code of Ethics

The 91福利 Institute is a nonprofit school for journalists and a publisher of original journalism. Since 1975, 91福利 has hosted seminars on news media ethics, written about ethical controversies and provided news organizations with advice on ethical decision-making 鈥 often on deadline.
These guidelines describe the values, standards and practices we pursue in our journalism, our teaching and our fundraising to support our mission. It is a living document that we expect will mature and evolve with our work. It is broken into three sections: core values, business practices and privacy.
(To read the 91福利 Code of Conduct, click here.)

Core Values

Five core values guide our work: accuracy, independence, collaboration, fairness and transparency. All 91福利 employees are responsible for ensuring our work lives up to these ideals.

We regard various 91福利 constituents 鈥 seminar participants, readers of our publications, listeners to our podcasts or viewers of our videos, etc. 鈥 as important stakeholders in our ethics process. We post the guidelines here to share the aspirations that guide our work and to issue an invitation to others to hold 91福利 accountable. If you have questions or concerns, please write to听info@poynter.org, and we鈥檒l respond.

The values cited in this document are rooted in 91福利鈥檚 dedication to teaching and inspiring journalists and media leaders. 91福利 is a school that promotes excellence and integrity in the practice of craft and the practical leadership of successful businesses. It stands for journalism that informs citizens, builds community and enlightens public discourse. In our teaching and in our publishing, we strive to practice the kind of journalism we preach. This includes journalism in all its forms 鈥 print, digital, TV, video, audio and any other forms of new media that might come into use.

Accuracy

We do our best to make sure that everything we publish is accurate and true to the facts. This ranges from the easily confirmed, e.g. the spelling of names, to the nuanced and more debatable, e.g. characterizations of political initiatives. We strive to be inclusive in our coverage so that we reflect a wide range of perspectives and experiences. While we encourage creativity and experimentation in work, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to accuracy.

In practice:听We maintain high standards of reporting, writing and editing to produce work that is as error-free as possible. We create and edit our journalism in ways aimed at anticipating problem areas, reducing mistakes and correcting them as quickly and transparently as we can. We provide timely responses, clear corrections and prominent acknowledgments that a mistake was made and addressed. We credit the authors and creators of the various forms of journalism we publish. We apply appropriate scrutiny to work by staff and contributing writers to prevent plagiarism, intentional or otherwise. We do not intentionally mislead with words or images. We do not deliberately deceive as we gather information. We encourage the best possible work within the limits of our resources. While we value timeliness, particularly in service to our constituents on deadline, we value accuracy more.

Independence

We are an independent, 501(c)(3), nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism education and research institute. We manage our conflicts of interest and seek to remain free of influences that might interfere with journalism or teaching that is accurate, fair, transparent, professional and helpful.

In practice:听When we write about our teaching, a 91福利 event or a topic that鈥檚 funded by a grant or other contribution, we retain editorial control over what we write, and we disclose the relationship. And when we create content on a subject supported by funders, we retain independence over that content. 91福利 editorial content is created for our audience of journalists and citizens who value journalism. Because many of us at 91福利 have worked in many newsrooms as both journalists and trainers, we occasionally find ourselves writing about organizations and newsrooms we have established relationships with. (See transparency, below.) 91福利 faculty and staff do not enter into relationships that compromise the work of the Institute. 91福利 faculty and staff do not allow gifts from sources, students, or vendors to influence our coverage or our teaching. We return any gift worth more than $50. Gifts that cannot be returned are donated to an appropriate charity. 91福利 has business partnerships with newsrooms around the world. Those relationships do not influence our news coverage of those organizations.

Collaboration

In order to fulfill its mission, 91福利 must cultivate and nourish relationships throughout the broader journalism and technology community. These relationships make us smarter, more relevant and more capable of supporting journalism and democracy. We encourage these ties to entities and individuals, whom we rely on for advice about what journalists need from us. They provide a variety of resources, including participation in our courses and programs, material for our publications and productions, teaching expertise and financial support. We embrace collaboration as a value because we believe these relationships encourage greater interactivity, responsiveness and utility.

In practice:听91福利 relies on its relationships with a variety of organizations and individuals to help sustain its programs and to ensure that we remain connected to journalism as it is practiced. We also work with foundations, corporations and other supporters to help us pay for some of our programs. We depend on individual journalists who take part in our seminars, serve as visiting faculty and sometimes contribute to various 91福利 publications. We rely on our National Advisory Board to provide counsel from the worlds of print, online, broadcast, academe and finance. By consulting regularly with our collaborators we improve the teaching and the content we create for our audience. While we retain independent control over all our editorial content, we frequently turn to our partners for their expertise.

Fairness

We strive to act justly, to respect people and their privacy, to present different points of view and to minimize harm. These guidelines serve as checks and balances on the perspectives and personal biases that each of us brings to our journalism.

In practice:听We strive to be fair in what we publish and in the ways in which we interact with subjects and consumers of our coverage. We do our best to acknowledge relevant points of view and represent them in an even-handed way, especially when they conflict with our own. We reach out to the subjects we cover for comment. We provide accessible ways to challenge us (a note to听webstaff@poynter.org听is the quickest), and we respond promptly and with a purpose.

Transparency

We shine a light on our own journalistic processes, explaining how and why we make decisions. We do our best to disclose relevant information that may have influenced or affected our decisions.

In practice:听We go out of our way to disclose information that our constituents and critics may find relevant, useful and helpful about the way we do business 鈥 and publish 鈥 at 91福利. We provide readers with sufficient information about who we are, how we work, how 91福利 is financed, etc. to provide meaningful context for them to assess and judge the material we publish and teach.

This ranges from the simple, e.g. disclosing 91福利鈥檚 ownership of The Tampa Bay Times when the newspaper is mentioned in our publications, to the less visible, e.g., custom training arrangements between 91福利 and news organizations we serve. We disclose our relevant business relationships when we write about individuals who, for example, are a member of one of our boards. In addition to publishing news, we also publish information about 91福利 training and events and native advertisements or sponsored content. All non-news content is clearly labeled as 鈥淪ponsored Content鈥 or 鈥淔rom the Institute,鈥 to delineate the distinction. Ads that promote sponsored content will be clearly labeled 鈥淎dvertising.鈥 When funders underwrite a content area on 91福利.org or a newsletter, that page or content is labeled within or immediately below the header image. Sponsored items within newsletters will also be clearly labeled as 鈥渟ponsored post鈥 or 鈥渁 note from our sponsor.鈥

Business practices

We prize our reputation for teaching excellence, developed over more than four decades. To preserve that reputation, we retain independence and control over our teaching whether it is funded by tuition or a donor, such as a foundation or corporation. Here鈥檚 how:

As a nonprofit organization, 91福利 accepts contributions from outside sources, ranging from foundation and government grants to individual donations and corporate sponsorships. We recognize that funding sources may appear to affect a journalism organization鈥檚 independence, particularly in situations where support raises the possibility or perception of a conflict of interest.

When working with a donor, granting organization or corporate sponsor, 91福利鈥檚 development staff and administration will research the funder鈥檚 mission, values and history of giving. When determining whether to accept support from specific corporations, individuals or foundations, 91福利 will review the type of support offered and the teaching and outcomes expected. We commit to doing our due diligence to ensure that all 91福利 teaching reflects 91福利鈥檚 values and that the work carries out 91福利鈥檚 mission. Employees responsible for carrying out funded teaching are consulted throughout the vetting process and, even after an agreement with a funder has been reached, expected to alert 91福利 administration if a funder鈥檚 requests or demands do not serve 91福利鈥檚 mission.

91福利 routinely grants the following privileges to funders:

  • Logo on marketing and teaching collateral including advertising and syllabi.
  • An invitation for representatives to attend teaching events.
  • A small amount of time, in proportion to the event, to welcome and address the audience. This is clearly labeled as a message from the sponsor.

Some funders have subject-matter expertise. In those cases, 91福利 may share draft agendas and tentative speaker lists with the intent of producing the best possible teaching. Representatives of funding organizations sometimes teach if they鈥檙e experts in the topic. 91福利 faculty will coach them to ensure their teaching is relevant and useful to our audience, not a product endorsement. 91福利 will make the final determination of all teaching content.

We recognize that many journalists consider it a conflict of interest to attend training or to accept travel stipends from organizations they might cover. We pledge transparency and will prominently list in promotional materials and on the teaching agenda the funders who support a teaching event, in person and online. When an industry group or for-profit company sponsors teaching, we disclose it and sign an agreement giving 91福利 independence and control over the teaching. In some cases, funders will pay travel and lodging for participants. We understand that workshop participants may decline travel or lodging support from a funder, and we will make a reasonable effort to help participants make alternate arrangements.

91福利 understands that many funders, both private and public, wish to capitalize on 91福利鈥檚 reputation among journalists.

Certain funders require an extra level of vigilance. When a funder with a history of anti-democratic activities approaches (e.g. a government that has jailed journalists, or a foundation associated with an industry that has actively deceived the public), 91福利鈥檚 president or vice president will personally review the proposed program, asking the following the questions:

      • How does the program directly support the development of journalists or democratic systems?
      • Does the potential outcome of the work outweigh validating an organization whose past actions undermine the core values of journalism in democracy?
      • What will the recipients do with the training?
    • What other options are available for training journalists under the influence of the funder in question?

  • What additional guarantees does 91福利 have that our teachers will proceed without interference?
  • What will happen if teachers and speakers criticize the funder during the training?
  • How will 91福利鈥檚 brand be used by the funder?

For a list of 91福利鈥檚 funders and our largest partners,听click here.

Code of Conduct

The 91福利 Institute is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all. This code of conduct outlines our expectations for behavior by participants and guest instructors at 91福利-organized events as well as the consequences of unacceptable behavior. We expect all attendees (speakers, participants, staff and guests) to abide by this code of conduct at all event venues and event-related social functions.

Expected Behavior

First and foremost, treat everyone with respect. Participate while acknowledging that everyone deserves respectful treatment, and that every participant has the right to enjoy their experience without fear of harassment or discrimination.

  • Be considerate, respectful and collaborative.
  • Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory or harassing behavior and speech.
  • Immediately inform 91福利 Vice President of Business & Finance Jessi Navarro in person, by phone (727-553-4338) or e-mail (jnavarro@poynter.org) if you observe or experience unwelcome and offensive behavior.
  • Seek permission from anyone involved in a program before quoting them or sharing materials that may have been presented.听
  • Some 91福利 events are shared with members of the public; please be respectful to all patrons and staff.

Unacceptable Behavior

Unacceptable behavior includes, but is not limited to, intimidating, threatening, harassing, abusive, discriminatory, derogatory, demeaning or disorderly conduct; or possession, use or distribution of any illegal substances. 91福利 does not tolerate the use or abuse of illegal substances at any of the venues where 91福利 events are held.

Harassing conduct can take many forms. Sexually harassing conduct can be by a person of the same or opposite sex. 91福利 reserves the right in its sole discretion to determine what constitutes unacceptable behavior.

Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior

Unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated whether by other attendees, media, speakers or venue staff. Anyone asked to stop engaging in unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. If a participant engages in unacceptable behavior, 91福利 may take any action it deems appropriate, up to and including immediate expulsion without warning from the event and without refund of any associated fees.

What to Do if You Witness or Are Subject to Unacceptable Behavior

Harassment will not be tolerated by 91福利. If you are subject to unacceptable behavior, notice that someone else is being subject to unacceptable behavior or have any other concerns, please immediately notify security staff and/or 91福利 Chief Operating Office and Chief Financial Officer Jessi Navarro in person, by phone (727-337-7131) or e-mail (jnavarro@poynter.org). Also notify appropriate law enforcement if necessary.

91福利 will be available to help participants contact venue security or local law enforcement, to provide escorts, or to otherwise assist those experiencing unacceptable behavior to feel safe for the duration of the event.