Our work is guided by a Code of Ethics, which draws inspiration (and in some cases, specific language) from The Texas Tribune, The Marshall Project, ProPublica and Society of Professional Journalists, among others.
Here’s the short version: We’re a nonpartisan outlet dedicated to truth, accuracy and fairness. We don’t play favorites for financial or any other reasons – we have no agenda, hidden or otherwise. We know our credibility – and our impact – depends on practicing what we preach.
Here’s the longer version, which reflects both our commitment to transparency and a recognition that journalism, upended in recent years by economic and technological forces, is quickly changing. In that spirit, we plan to revisit – and potentially revise – this page from time to time.
The unpredictable nature of journalism means that we may be required to make exceptions to these rules as circumstances require. If that’s ever the case, we’ll be as upfront as possible on why.
We’re a nonprofit. We’re relying on financial support from individuals, foundations, events and corporate sponsorships. The future could bring new funding streams we’ve yet to identify.
Whatever the funding source, our strict editorial independence mandate applies. Donors shouldn’t expect preferential coverage – we won’t give it. We may very well publish stories that make some donors unhappy. Whenever stories mention any of our funders or members of our board of directors or advisory boards, we’ll disclose relevant relationships. (For more about our growing list of funders, see our Funders page.)
When we make a mistake — we’re only human — we will update the story to the extent it is necessary to do so. If you find what you believe to be an error, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fabrication – the making up of information, quotes, people or any elements of a story – and plagiarism – passing off someone else’s work as one’s own – are journalism’s biggest sins. Cases of either will be dealt with severely.
Our team may improve the technical quality of photos and video or audio recordings, but will not misleadingly alter the substance. All photo illustrations, graphics or animations will be clearly labeled as such.
We will try our best to identify all sources, granting individuals anonymity only when it is necessary to do so. We will seek to identify in our reporting any bias we know our sources have. Anonymous sources will be told that the reporter will share their identity with a senior editor, who will also endeavor to keep that information confidential.
Our journalists will never misrepresent themselves or mislead a source to get an interview or a story. We do not pay for interviews.
Thorough efforts will be made to contact the primary subjects and sources of criticism in our stories.
Impartiality, Independence and Conflicts of Interest
We can’t say this enough: Editorial decisions are made by journalists alone.
Stories that reference or quote a donor or corporate sponsor to THE CITY who has contributed $2,500 or more in the previous two years will disclose their status as a donor or sponsor.
Journalists will not work on stories or projects in which they have a unique vested interest, financial or personal. They should avoid active, direct investment in companies or industries they regularly cover.
Journalists seeking secondary employment or freelance work must be cleared by an editor to ensure the work does not conflict with their responsibilities at THE CITY.
Editorial employees may moderate panels or speak at events underwritten by THE CITY’s donors or sponsors so long as their role is purely journalistic.
THE CITY employees, contractors and interns will not accept any gift from any company, individual or institution that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility. We always pay our own way when traveling for editorial or business purposes.
THE CITY is committed to protecting the privacy of our readers. We do not sell our readers’ information, and we don’t track visitors after they leave our site.
Data collection falls into two distinct categories: (1) information that you voluntarily provide to us, and (2) data that tracks how readers use our site.
- When you sign up for a newsletter, become a donor, send in tips or feedback, apply for a job, RSVP for an event or participate in “crowdsourced” editorial projects, we’ll use the personal information that you voluntarily provide to communicate with you. This data will never be sold or made public.
- We collect information on how our readers use our site to improve our readers’ experience. We use and share this data on an aggregated basis and make some of it publicly available. This data does not identify readers by name and will never be sold.