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.
Topics covered include:
THE DUTY OF GLEANER NEWSPAPERS
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 individuals.
We must always strive to:
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 activities.
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.
The Ethics Policy applies to all Editorial employees, full and part time.
As independent 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.
EDITORIAL MISSION STATEMENT
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.
Publications of The Gleaner Company Limited included:
1.2 WE ARE COMMITTED TO SERVING THE PUBLIC INTEREST
1.4 WE ARE COMMITTED TO FAIR PLAY
1.5 WE ARE COMMITTED TO MAINTAINING INDEPENDENCE
1.6 WE ARE COMMITTED TO ACTING WITH INTEGRITY
Members of The Gleaner are required to wear their identification badges at all time that they are on the Gleaner premises or on assignments.
All visitors, including friends of staff, must wear Customer ID badges whilst on the Company's premises.
Visitors are not permitted without prior permission into the Editorial office and should be met in the lobby downstairs or, in the 4th floor lobby.
"The first priority of Gleaner newspapers is to present a faithful and accurate picture of the life of communities "
We will protect our credibility with a vigorous commitment to accuracy. We will remedy, in a timely manner, all errors of fact with a timely correction or clarification. If a staff member becomes aware of an error in their own or others' published work, the staff member has a responsibility to notify an Editor or the Editor-in-Chief as soon as possible.
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 Editor will refer complaints to the Legal Advisor.
We will regularly publish notices to inform readers how to communicate complaints.
It 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.
If 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 should appear, whenever possible, appear in the same publication or section as the offending article or column.
CORRECTION & CLARIFICATION
The Editor-in-Chief will be responsible for ensuring that the correction is affixed to the original story in
(i) the bound library newspaper file
The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for ensuring that the same story containing the incorrect information is:
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 Legal Advisor.
PLAGIARISM AND QUOTES
We do not use extended quotes from other sources without giving
When we paraphrase, we remain faithful to the original statement.
This standard 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.
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.
Apply these questions to each news story:
1. How is this story different from what's on the electronic media today?
2. What is in this story that the reader will not find in other media?
3. Does this story contain useful information, news the reader can use?
4. Is this story one the reader will talk about tomorrow?
5. Is there any "go do" information in this story?
6. Is there something in this story that looks out for the reader's personal and civic interests?
7. Are there unanswered questions in this story?
8. Are there grammar/spelling errors in this story?
9. Do you have a suggested headline?
10. Do I have information to provide graphics?
11. What are the possible photos to tie with this story?
Use of Internet sources
Researching on the Internet
Linking to Web sites from a story
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 In-house Attorney. Credits must be labeled as file. Caption text should
be presented for approval at the same time as photo. The juxtaposition of photographs and text on a page, particularly when not properly ruled off, can be libelous.
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 the Editor.
Some red flags:
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
Staff members 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.
Politics and social causes:
· Use of inside knowledge for personal gain is prohibited. Staff members should not enter into a business relationship with news sources.
Gifts, favours, events:
· 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 your supervisor.
· Press 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 or family.
Invitations 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.
We recognise 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.
Supervising Editors should not contract with a relative or close friend to work directly for them as a freelancer without approval of the Editor.
Campaign, government and political coverage:
Freelance, outside work:
We work for no one except The Gleaner Company Limited, without the express permission of the Editor.
Electronic appearances and "blogs":
Cooperation with authorities:
We have a three-part test to determine whether we should turn over source material to a court.
In our commitment to fair play, we:
POTENTIALLY DEFAMATORY OR CONTROVERSIAL MATTERS
Articles must be placed in the "lawyer to vet folder" of Scoop Edit and the Company Attorney must be notified that the article has been placed in the folder for review.
The article must not be published unless and until approved by the Company Attorney.
1. Prejudicial or pejorative reference to a person's race, colour, religion or gender must be avoided.
2. The 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.
If 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 CD's 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 material.
1. We must make every effort not to break the sub judice rule. We must ensure that nay comment on cases before the court is fair and balanced.
2. The 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.
3. Particular regard should be paid to the potentially vulnerable position of children who are witnesses to, or victims of, crime.
Types of sources:
On the record: The source's identity and information can be used.
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.
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.
Restricting 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.
Despite the 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.
While 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 be
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 Editor-in-Chief.
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 nominee.
In news stories, we will make every effort to prevent an unnamed source from attacking a person or institution. Exceptions will be and 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.
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
We will avoid citing a source anonymously who is quoted by name
elsewhere in the story. We also will avoid saying a source had
If you cannot be honest, leave the information out.
If 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 permission.
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
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 shielding identity.
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.
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 necessary knowledge.
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.
Court 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 public.
Reports of court proceedings which are held en camera (secret) - e.g. Grand Jury investigations - are not protected.
Reports on 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.
Reports 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 in doubt.
b) REPORTING ON ARRESTS
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
The situation is different if an individual has been charged
with an offence or there has been a public statement by an official
A conversation 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.
A story 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 followed.
Reporters 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 compliance.
Those 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 published.
e) RETENTION OF NOTES AND TAPES
An offended 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 for a story run in 2001.
Editors are, therefore, required to ensure that notebooks and supporting documentation are available for up to six years after a news story has been carried.
All reporters 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 reporting.
The Editorial 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 followed.
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.
Particular care should be taken in publishing material received from correspondents.
The 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.
We 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.
We identify someone's race, ethnicity or sexual preferences only when it is important to understanding the story.
Identify race 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.
"We need criticism and should seek it. Lacking trust, a newspaper cannot serve or advance any worthy purpose "
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.
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.
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.
Therefore, we must:
2. Not disclose or use any confidential information for personal profit or advantage;
3. Not sign a secrecy agreement with persons outside the company;
4. Not execute confidentiality agreements with persons outside the Company before discussing the Editorial's and the Gleaner's confidential information;
5. While being alert to information in the marketplace, obtain competitive information only in accordance with sound business and ethical principles;
6. When approached with any offer of confidential information, ensure that both parties understand and accept the condition under which the information is received; and
7. Discuss 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.
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
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.
All Editorial employees are expected to comply with the Editorial Code of Ethics and actively support its values and principles.
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
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.