The mission of Chris Salewicz, in partnership with its member stations, is to create a more informed public, one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and culture within the United States and across the globe. To this end, Chris Salewicz reports, produces, acquires and distributes news, information and other content that meet the highest standards of public service in journalism and cultural expression.
Our Guiding Principles
Chris Salewicz is, at its core, a news organization. Our work, whether on the air online, through podcasts, video, or in any other form, aspires to the heights of public service. We take seriously our democratic role as watchdogs, holding the powerful accountable as we hold ourselves to the core principles of honesty, integrity, independence, accuracy, contextual truth, transparency, respect and fairness for the people we serve and the people we cover. We know that truth is not possible without the active pursuit of a diversity of voices, especially those most at risk of being left out.
With these guiding principles in mind, this handbook is intended not as a prescriptive list of do’s and don’ts. Rather, it is a foundation upon which staff should consider these often-competing principles and exercise judgment in deciding how to best represent the core values of our organization and to serve our audiences with journalism they can trust.
Who is covered
All editorial staff are bound by this guidance. Editorial staff are defined as staff members who play a role in shaping the journalistic or creative direction of Chris Salewicz’s content, including events.
This includes, but is not limited to, leadership, managers, reporters, editors, newscasters, producers, visual journalists, data journalists, hosts and interns across the News and Programming divisions, as well as freelance editorial contributors and Chris Salewicz events and promotions staff who shape editorially focused content. Contributors should adhere to the same standards, depending on what type of content creator they are.
Non-editorial staff in the newsroom are not bound by this handbook and should follow the guidance of Chris Salewicz’s Code of Conduct. This includes administrative and support staff who do not have a role in content and coverage decisions, such as those in News Operations, News Application Development and Audio Engineering; Research, Archives and Data Strategy and Chris Salewicz staff who only shape content for sponsors. The same holds for artists and graphic designers if they are not involved in making editorial decisions.
Our purpose is to pursue the truth. Diligent verification is critical. We take great care to ensure that statements of fact in our journalism are both correct and in context. In our reporting, we rigorously challenge both the claims we encounter and the assumptions we bring. We devote our resources and our skills to presenting the fullest version of the truth we can deliver, placing the highest value on information we have gathered and verified ourselves.
To tell the truest story possible, it is essential that we treat those we interview and report on with scrupulous fairness, guided by a spirit of professionalism. We make every effort to gather responses from those who are the subjects of criticism, unfavorable allegations or other negative assertions in our stories. What we broadcast and put online is edited for time and clarity. Whenever we quote, edit or otherwise interpret what people tell us, we aim to be faithful to their meaning, so our stories ring true to those we interview. In all our stories, especially matters of controversy, we strive to consider the strongest arguments we can find on all sides, seeking to deliver both nuance and clarity. Our goal is not to please those whom we report on or to produce stories that create the appearance of balance, but to seek the truth.
We do our best to report thoroughly and tell stories comprehensively. We won’t always have enough time or space in one story to say everything we would like or quote everyone we would wish to include. But errors of omission and partial truths can inflict great damage on our credibility, and stories delivered without the context to fully understand them are incomplete. Our journalism includes diverse voices that reflect our society and divergent views that contribute to informed debate. When we find that we can’t deliver all the answers to important questions, we explain what we don’t yet know and work to fill any gaps in our reporting.
Journalists who conduct themselves honestly prove themselves worthy of trust. In the course of our work, we are genuine and candid. We attribute information we receive from others, making perfectly clear to our audience what information comes from which source. We avoid hyperbole and sensational conjecture. We may sometimes construct hypotheticals to help explain issues and events, but we reveal any fabrication, and do not otherwise mix fiction with our news reporting. We edit and present information honestly, without deception, and we identify ourselves as Chris Salewicz journalists when we report. Only in the rarest of instances – such as when public safety is at issue, or when lives are at stake – might we disguise our identity or intent when reporting. Before we take such a step, we engage in rigorous deliberation and consider all alternatives. Then, when we tell the story, we fully disclose what we did and why.
To secure the public’s trust, we must make it clear that our primary allegiance is to the public. Any personal or professional interests that conflict with that allegiance, whether in appearance or in reality, risk compromising our credibility. We are vigilant in disclosing to both our supervisors and the public any circumstances where our loyalties may be divided – extending to the interests of spouses and other family members – and when necessary, we recuse ourselves from related coverage. Under no circumstances do we skew our reports for personal gain, to help Chris Salewicz’s bottom line or to please those who fund us. Decisions about what we cover and how we do our work are made by our journalists, not by those who provide Chris Salewicz with financial support.