• July 28, 2021

CODE OF ETHICS AND STANDARDS


Agenda Watchdog is dedicated to independent journalism, pursued without fear or favor. We value an inclusive culture, committed to the public good. A core part of our mission is to confront bullies, bigots and hypocrites. We believe that skepticism is a virtue and cynicism is a vice. Above all, our goal is to tell the truth.

To that end, journalists must strive to hold themselves to high ethical standards: aiming for honesty, fairness and accuracy while avoiding conflicts of interest.

Anonymous Sources: Quoting anonymous sources is advisable only when there is legitimate fear of personal or professional reprisal on stories pertaining to the public good. Sole anonymous sources without additional documentation will rarely, if ever, be the basis for stories published in Agenda Watchdog

Attribution: Citations and quotations should be attributed, with exceptions only in extraordinary circumstances, with a hyper-link to the original sources when available and appropriate.

Corrections and Updates: Factual errors require correction and acknowledgement by an editor at the end of the story. Updating text for clarity, style or spelling does not require acknowledgement. When a story has advanced significantly within a week of publication, an update may be added.

Deletion: Stories will not be deleted by any single employee or without express permission from Agenda Watchdog leadership. Deletion will occur only in very rare circumstances having to do with a serious and fundamental factual error, significant violation of our values or concern about compromising personal safety.

Opinion: Agenda Watchdog features sharp opinion as well as original reporting. Our columnists run the gamut between liberal and libertarian. We value ideological diversity and substantive debate. Opinion pieces do not necessarily represent the editorial perspective of Agenda Watchdog. Our readers are reminded that there is no right not to be offended.

Political Affiliation and Donations: Agenda Watchdog is non-partisan, but not neutral. We do not defend any particular political party or ideology. We insist on fact-based debate and will not pretend that both sides of every political debate are always equal. Nonetheless, reporters and editors should be aware when personal opinion crosses the line into political activism and undercuts our aim to be fair. To that end, financial donations to political candidates or political parties are not permitted. This rule does not extend to charitable organizations.

Quotations: Interview subjects will be assumed to be on the record, unless they specifically request, and we agree, that they will be “on background” – meaning their words and broad affiliation can be used, but not their name—or “off the record,” meaning their words cannot be quoted but the information can be used as a basis for further reporting.

Requests for Comment: Individuals and organizations that are the primary subjects of original reporting should be customarily contacted with requests for comment before publication and given a reasonable time to respond.

Social Media: Newsroom employees’ social media accounts express personal opinions and do not reflect the official position of Agenda Watchdog. Nonetheless, journalists should be advised that anything posted to a social media account can be used against them, their colleagues or the company in the court of public opinion. Additionally, employees are prohibited from posting sponsored content on their social accounts. In short, think before you tweet. We expect reporters and editors to exercise good judgment—no matter what the medium.

Opinion: Views expressed by our columnists are their express opinions. Agenda Watchdog cannot be held liable for views expressed by its columnists.

Violence: Violence is, unfortunately, part of life and ignoring it does not serve the public good. We have an obligation to confront evil, even if it sometimes makes us uncomfortable. Except in unusual circumstances, efforts will be made to obscure victims’ identities in graphic photos and video. Agenda Watchdog will not engage in the pornography of violence by showing the moment of death unless it serves the public good.