Editorial Policies

Editorial Standards > Editorial Policies

Privacy issues

■ We view everything posted openly on social media and the internet as public information, although we attempt to verify material found there with other sources.

■ We consider the standard for publishing material about private individuals who are thrust into the public eye as higher than that for public individuals.

■ We use discretion when it comes to interviewing and publishing material from trauma victims or bystanders because we understand that to do so may cause additional harm to individuals.

Legal issues

■ We will name criminal suspects if they are arrested, including in the police blotter. We will include middle initials and other identifying information to avoid confusion about the identity of the person who has been charged.

■ We will not name juvenile suspects unless they are charged as adults or with serious violent crimes, such as armed robbery, aggravated sexual assault, attempted homicide or homicide.

■ We avoid identifying — by name or photo — children who are connected with a crime as perpetrators, victims or witnesses.

■ If a criminal suspect is at large and believed to be dangerous, we will identify the suspect, including a photo or sketch.

■ Because they contain names of people who have been arrested but not yet prosecuted, we will block police blotters posted on our site from being indexed by search engines such as Google, although they will remain searchable on our site.

■ In breaking news stories, we do not publish the names of dead people until authorities have notified their families and released the names, or the families indicate they have been notified, such as through a public online post, unless compelling circumstances justify publication as soon as we have verified the names.

■ In rare cases, such as when a sexual assault allegation has been proven to be false and malicious, we will identify a sexual assault accuser.

■ In covering active police or military operations, we will withhold such details as location or tactics planned, until after the operation, to avoid endangering police, troops or civilians who could be affected.

Removing archived material

We do not remove published content from our archives, including the police blotter, but will review requests to update or append an article if provided with sufficient documentation. We also will weigh exceptions to this policy in extreme cases, such as abuse or danger to someone’s personal safety. Email editor@highlandscurrent.org.

Mental health and suicide

■ We will cover mental health and suicide as broad public health issues as consistently as we cover other health matters.

■ We will cover individual events of suicide as news stories if they involve prominent figures or public means. However, we will avoid using the word “suicide” in headlines or spelling out the specific means.

■ In stories that involve suicides, we will include contact information for resources for people in mental-health crises. e.g., “The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255.”

No-byline policy

Articles that do not have bylines in print or are attributed online to “Staff” are written by the editor or a senior editor. This is typically because they are brief items based on a single source, such as a press release, or there are multiple contributors, such as a collection of photos.

Obituaries

We treat obituaries posted by funeral homes as news stories and edit them to a standard format. We will indicate the funeral home was the source of our information. We do not charge a fee to print or post obituaries unless the family wishes to publish the obituary without editing.

Photo and video

■ When documenting private or traumatic moments in public places, we will not seek permission to shoot but will be sensitive to subjects’ situation.

■ We do not require parental permission to photograph or interview children in breaking news situations, such as a public protest. We will attempt to contact a parent or guardian before identifying a child in a feature photograph unless the photo and identification are provided to us, such as from a school or sports event.

■ We will use drones to capture images in public areas only.

■ We will refrain from doing re-enactments of news events. Otherwise, we will identify posed or re-enacted photos and video, except when it is clearly posed (e.g., an award-winner holding up a trophy).

■ We will refrain from intentionally becoming an active participant in a news story (e.g., taking part in a rescue operation or using our camera to influence a situation).

■ If we believe we can provide help or mitigate harm by actively participating in a situation, rather than only documenting it, we will do so and disclose our participation to your viewers.

■ We will not manipulate images through Photoshop or other means. We will not obscure or pixelate images, although we have made a few exceptions. For instance, in a photo for a story on city-issued ID cards, we may obscure the subject’s address for privacy reasons, or in a photo of a hate group’s flyer, the website address of the group to avoid unnecessary promotion of its views.

■ We will clearly label all photos or video that are provided by sources.

■ We will identify stock photos used for illustrative purposes.

Advertising

■ We reserve the right to refuse any advertisement or sponsorship. We will decline advertising that we know or believe to be misleading, inaccurate, libelous, fraudulent or illegal, or that fails to comply, in our sole discretion, with common standards of decency, taste or dignity.

■ We do not allow advertisers to have a say in the selection or content of stories and photos.

■ We use specific, consistent terms such as “Advertisement” and “Sponsored Content” in print, online and on our social media networks to indicate paid material.

■ We require content provided by advertisers to have a different color type or background and a different font than our editorial content. We require that advertisements made to resemble news stories be accompanied by a clear statement that the article was prepared by the advertiser and did not involve our editorial staff.

■ Questions? You can reach our advertising manager at ads@highlandscurrent.org.