“We seek truth and report it accurately and fairly.” That sentence is the first one in the Salish Current statement of ethics and policy and in the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.
The statement has three parts — truth, accuracy and fairness — and every news story we report and publish must meet those standards of journalist ethics.
By reporting news accurately and fairly, we believe truth emerges and is the basis upon which civil discourse and civic decisions should take place.
The proliferation of media platforms where facts, news and opinion swirl and mix often creates ideological divides and culture bubbles. In launching Salish Current, we thought it important to make clear distinctions between news and opinion.
Our friend Sean pointed out that you can always spot an opinion when someone says, “I … .”
News, then, is about facts, the “who, what, where, when” of an event or an issue — without an “I.”
Out of the reporting of those facts and from what people who know about those facts say comes the “why” — why the news story is important to know about — again, without an “I.”
When reporting, some facts are incontrovertible. Some facts may be in dispute and should be clearly labeled as such. Some statements said as facts are untrue and should either be labeled as such or not reported.
We hold reporters and editors accountable for documenting their facts, providing a proper context for facts and quoting accurately and in context.
We ask reporters to report with a sense of fairness and to get at least three interviews in each story, not necessarily pro and con, to highlight differing perspectives.
If we make an error in reporting the facts, we will correct it. Letters to the editor are a way readers can respond to news stories. Letters posted on the Salish Current must be factual and civil.
Letters to the editor and Community Voices essays are places where the “I” is welcomed. Community Voices essays are the views of community members giving their perspectives on topics of interest and importance to the community. When a subject is controversial, we will present different views side by side. In all cases, we ask that the essays be fact-based and nonpartisan, and to have a clear point of view that encourages further discussion.
We live in a media age of light and dark and gray, the content of which infuses our daily lives and conditions our knowledge, beliefs and actions.
I think it’s important that people answer the question, “Where do you get news?” If is news, it will have been reported accurately and fairly.
On Feb. 4, Mike Sato gave a talk “Read All About It: What’s the News of the Salish Sea?” as part of the Huxley College of the Environment (Western Washington University) speaker series.