The Readers Bureau
A great Web magazine is distinguished by the balance, fairness and authority of its reporting and editing. The Readers Bureau takes seriously its job as a media outlet, 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 endeavor.
The Readers Bureau is an online news content feature magazine that not only gathers information from various sources but also engages in strong investigative reporting and exclusive stories from leading main street journalists in the fields of marketing, international affairs, social issues, politics, business, technology, entertainment, sports, religion, lifestyle, and culture.
Publisher: Proven Integrated Communications Inc.
Executive Editor: Jesus Chan
Copy Editor/Consultant: Yvad Billings
The Readers Bureau is an independently owned online magazine.
To provide our readers with independent, timely, and valuable information that is unbiased, trustworthy, and honest.
To inform, educate, entertain, and enlighten.
THE DUTY OF THE READERS BUREAU
Our duty, 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 publication. To do this, we must be aggressive in publishing meaningful information. 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.
EDITORIAL MISSION STATEMENT
The Readers Bureau strives to always be a trusted source of news, analysis, information and commentary, with the expressed goal of helping people understand the many issues that touch their lives.
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
Our role is to report and comment on the facts: to be the voice of reason; to champion the cause of the voiceless; to be a medium of uncensored news, views, and analysis for the thinking person.
“The first priority of The Readers Bureau 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.
PROCEDURE FOR DEALING WITH COMPLAINTS
The editor of this publications should field complaints from members of the public. These complaints should be examined and referred to the Editor-in-Chief with recommendations from t within one week. Where necessary Editor will refer complaints to our 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.
PLAGIARISM AND QUOTES
We do not use extended quotes from other sources without giving credit. These quotes should reflect exactly what a source said with credit. If the source’s grammar or language is unsuitable, paraphrase.
When we paraphrase, we remain faithful to the original statement. Quotes should fairly reflect the context of the conversation.
We will accurately and fairly reflect the diversity of gender, color, ethnicity, class, generation, geography and other attributes that distinguish our communities.
In rare 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 editor or Editor-in-Chief. Other fiction writing techniques to avoid:
• The telescoping of time so that, for example, events that actually happened during several days are reported as happening in a single day.
• Vivid descriptions of scenes that the writer could not have seen, unless supported by in-depth reporting.
• Passages 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.
GUIDELINES TO DELIVER “THE READER EXPERIENCE”
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
• Verify all facts reported from an online site unless you are confident of its source. For instance, the official sites of governments can be regarded as a reliable source for government news; a personal website may not be.
• If 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.
• Generally, credit photos and graphics downloaded from the Internet. Usually, generic mug shots and icons do not need credits.
Researching on the Internet
• Internet-derived information should be attributed, just as we would information from any book, magazine or other publication. Our prohibition against plagiarism applies to this information.
Linking to Web sites from a story
• Always review Web sites listed in stories. If you have concerns about including a site in a story because of inappropriate content, check with an Editor. Internet Communication
• Use 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.”)
Documentary photo 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 the Editor. Posing or re-enacting a documentary photograph is unacceptable. Altering a documentary photo is also unacceptable.
Portrait photo This photo is usually posed and it should be obvious to the reader if it is. Portrait photos must not be altered.
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. Cutout photos would be included in this. It is not necessary to credit these photos.
USE OF FILE PHOTOGRAPHS
The use of file, or for that matter, any photo used out of context, can be libelous.
TO USE OR NOT TO USE
When in doubt, use common sense or check with the 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:
• nudity or sexual content
• exaggerated grief
• blood or other body fluids
• photo is too good to be true (it may be set up)
• vulgar words or gestures (these may be hidden in a photo)
• cheap shot (zipper open, food on the face)
• unflattering expression not related to the event or situation
• people performing dangerous acts
• racial stereotypes
• photos that may otherwise shock or appall readers
• Is the photo appropriate to the story?
• Is the news value worth upsetting the reader?
• What are the paper’s general standards of taste?
• Do you need to pass the photo through the top Editor?
• Does it pass the “breakfast table” test?
The use of file photos must be approved by the Editor-in-Chief. 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.
SOURCES 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:
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 Readers Bureau contributors have a moral obligation to protect their sources.
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.