We make mistakes. Correcting them promptly is vital to our credibility.
When an error is discovered – whether it is detected by a member of the public or a staff member – it will be discussed immediately with editor and corrected as soon as possible.
If there is a dispute over whether something is incorrect, editor should be consulted to resolve it.
When significant inaccuracies are committed by an editorial employee, or a pattern of errors in stories is detected editor should be informed of the problem immediately.
A strong sense of fair play must imbue our writing, accurately reflecting motives of sources. The tone and language of stories must be even-handed and avoid loaded phrasing.
Even under deadline pressure, it is imperative that we allow news subjects ample time to respond and react to issues, events and, most important, allegations against them. We should make every possible attempt to reach them, both at home and work.
We should accurately characterize their response or lack of response. “Would not comment” may be preferable to “refused to comment.” However, it may be appropriate to characterize a public official, who typically is obligated to respond, as refusing to comment when given ample time and opportunity.
We also should never characterize anyone as refusing to return phone calls if he or she had little time to respond.
We owe it to our readers to disclose in detail how and when we tried to reach the subjects of news stories.