Editorial Standards > Ethics Policies

Expectations for our journalists

■ Our journalists may not own interests in businesses they write about.

■ Our journalists cannot accept gifts from subjects or potential subjects of their coverage. If gifts sent to journalists cannot be returned, we will donate them to charity.

■ Our journalists may accept free admission to events they have been assigned to cover but cannot accept free or discounted tickets for family or friends.

■ Our journalists will disclose any gifts they receive with the editor and discuss whether something needs to be returned, disclosed, paid for, donated to charity or handled in some other way that protects the paper’s integrity.

■ Our journalists may accept small gifts in cases where people are being kind and clearly not trying to influence them, such as a cup of coffee or holiday edibles.

Political involvement

■ We ask that our journalists avoid political involvement such as running for or holding elected office, volunteering for campaigns, serving on municipal boards, donating to campaigns or displaying campaign materials on their property or persons. If a family member’s political involvement calls into question the integrity of a journalist’s coverage, the journalist will not be assigned to cover that issue or campaign. If avoiding such a family conflict is impossible, the family member’s involvement will be disclosed in our coverage.

■ Our journalists will avoid community group affiliations in areas that they cover. Journalists will tell the editor about their involvements and they will not be assigned to cover those stories. If a conflict can’t be avoided, our coverage will disclose it.

■ Our journalists will disclose community and political involvement, particularly those involving topics they may cover, in statements on our website and in stories related to their involvement.

The Current does not endorse political candidates.

Social networks

■ Our journalists should avoid expressing opinions on social media about politics but are free to express opinions on cultural areas such as sports, entertainment or technology if they do not cover those areas and are not likely to cover them.

■ Our journalists should avoid sharing social media posts without providing context that indicates they are not endorsing the content.

■ Our journalists should always identify themselves by their full names in social media profiles, and, if they are using the profile for professional purposes, identify themselves as reporters for The Current.

■ When contacting a potential source online, such as through Facebook Messenger, our journalists will always identify themselves and their affiliation.

Awards and contests

■ We will accept awards only from journalistic organizations, with judges who are journalists.

■ We will assess the nature of the contest and make a decision consistent with our overall contest principles if we win a contest we did not enter.

Freelance work

■ We prohibit our journalists from doing work for a competing media organization, as defined by the editor, or for a political organization, elected official, government agency, candidate for office or a nonprofit agency with a cause agenda, such as a legal or environmental group. Reporters will disclose to the editor any potential conflicts from their work outside The Current and will not be assigned stories related to their involvement.