The Wellesley News adheres to the list of journalistic ethics compiled below. Section editors and contributing and staff writers are required to review this document before beginning their writing career with the News and are encouraged to consult this document regularly if areas of confusion or ambiguity arise. Ethics are sourced from the resources listed at the end of this document.
- Regardless of their status in our organization, writers should take responsibility for the accuracy of their work, verify information before releasing it, and use original sources as often as possible.
- Writers should provide context to avoid misrepresenting or oversimplifying stories.
- Identify sources clearly, with enough information to allow the public to judge the reliability and motivations of sources. Anything that could reasonably be disputed requires attribution.
- Never take quotes out of context. Direct quotes are altered only to correct grammatical/style errors, and these alterations are clearly demarcated with [brackets]. Indirect quotes (paraphrased sentences, not in quotation marks) must not change the original meaning of the source’s words.
- Anonymity should only be promised if sources face danger for speaking on the record. The writer should explain why anonymity was granted.
- If a story includes an allegation of wrongdoing or criticism, the writer should reach out to the subject(s) in question. If they do not respond or wish to comment, that should be included in the article.
- “Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless. Seek sources whose voices we seldom hear.” (X)
- News coverage vs. advocacy/commentary should always be distinctly labeled, both on page layouts and on the web version. Sponsored articles should also be clearly labeled.
- “Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting.” (X) Except for Opinions or Satire articles, content must be free from the writer(s)’ bias. Writers must represent all sides of an issue.
- Treat interview subjects with the utmost respect in every correspondence: work around their schedule when scheduling interviews, be efficient with and respectful of their time, be transparent about the article you are writing, thank them for speaking to you, etc. However, NEVER promise that they will be able to see their quotes or the article before it is released. Additionally, avoid providing full lists of questions in advance to interview subjects. Consult the relevant section editor if an exemption to this rule is needed.
- Writers should never take audio recordings unless receiving explicit permission from the source in question or an event is presumed to be public.
- When mistakes are discovered, corrections should be carefully and clearly explained and published in two places: (1) at the end of the article in italics on the web version, and (2) in print in the subsequent issue.
- Editors are responsible for selecting or requesting visual content to be paired with written content. Editors should only use News-original media or copyright-free material, which can be found on websites such as Unsplash. If copyright status of a particular image is unclear, editors should refrain from including visual content on the website.
- We do not alter or digitally manipulate the content of photos to change their original meaning.
- Editors should explain ethical choices, processes, and topic coverage to the public. This dialogue should be continuous between all the relevant stakeholders at Wellesley College. One way that the News does this (and will continue to do) is through hosting open meetings to all students once a semester.
- Editors should respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity, and fairness. These responses should be made public and accessible online.
- The members of the Editorial Board will be clearly demarcated online and in print. (The Editorial Board is not equivalent to all editors.) Editors volunteer to be on the Editorial Board. Editorials (clearly labeled in the Opinions section) represent the opinion of the Board’s members only. Both versions of the article will display a “vote count” to depict how many members agreed vs. disagreed with the article’s contents. The News will never publish an editorial that is not agreed upon by at least a majority of the Editorial Board.
Ads and Sponsored Content
- The News reserves the right to reject any advertising or sponsored content request. The News generally grants ad requests to local businesses or educational institutions. The News will sparingly run sponsored content, and when it does, it will be made clear at the top of the article that it is sponsored content and disclose the benefiting person or organization.
Opinion Section Policies
- The News welcomes and encourages members of the community to submit opinion pieces and letters to the editor. The News reviews pieces from any person who submits, but acceptance is not guaranteed based on submission, and the section generally does not share a detailed rationale for declining articles.
- The News also publishes editorials, representing the opinion of the majority of the editorial board. Editorials can include a range of topics but usually discuss campus or local issues on which the News board feels it is well-equipped to share its knowledge and opinion to benefit the Wellesley community. The Editorial Board is independent of the News executive board and is clearly distinguished on the print and digital masthead. Besides, each editorial will be a vote count of how many Editorial Board members agreed/disagreed with the opinion; the News will never run an editorial where the majority of the Board disagrees with it. Dissenting editors will be offered the opportunity to write a dissenting opinion, which will be displayed alongside the original editorial.
- Letters to the editor and op-eds can be submitted to the Opinions Editors, Maimoonah Shafqat (email@example.com) and Lidewij Florusbosch (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- The News is committed to publishing true and factual information and strives for promptness in correcting all errors in the material published on our digital platforms and in print. The News will publish corrections online as soon as possible and in the next printed issue of the paper. Corrections to online material are added to the original posts as soon as possible and in the next printed issue of the paper.
- The News encourages all readers to comment on the articles posted on its website. We are dedicated to maintaining a respectful community that actively engages in lively and constructive discussions.
- Comments, including excessive profanity, cursing, hate speech, personal attacks, discrimination, and unrelated content, will be removed from The News’ website. We will also delete comments that infringe upon or violate anybody’s copyrights, trademarks, or other intellectual property rights. Advertising a good or service in The News’ comment section is prohibited. Pasting a url in the comment section is acceptable only if the url is cited as a reputable source in an accompanying comment. Members of the News executive board will act as moderators of the commentary that is posted.
- The News encourages people who feel as though they would like to comment more on an issue to submit an op-ed or letter to the editor.
- Violating any of the above policies will result in comment removal and may result in a suspension or ban from The News’ comment section.