Reporting ethics

  1. Controversial Topics: Controversial subjects will be covered when the nature of the content is timely and relevant to our student and community audience. To ensure unbiased reporting, articles will be evidence-based and reflect diverse source opinions. Student journalists reporting on sensitive topics such as sexual violence will receive prior training on how to do so compassionately and accurately using the Poynter Institute’s self-directed “Reporting Sexual Violence” course and other relevant materials.
  2. Anonymous sources: Anonymous sourcing will be used when the testimony in question is essential to the development of stories concerning controversial or taboo topics. Anonymous sources will only be included if, as outlined by the Poynter Institute, the story is of “overwhelming public concern,” the testimony is “verifiable” and necessary, it is imperative that the source’s identity remain private and reporters can justify both the testimony’s use and the method in which it was received.    
  3. Profanity: Student journalists will refrain from publishing profanity and vulgarity in Verde articles unless deemed by the editorial board as adding news value. Verde reserves the right to edit quotes for unnecessary profanity or vulgar language, and Verde journalists may ask sources to repeat a quote without the use of profane language.
  4. Accountability: All sources will receive a feedback request form at the end of the semester in which they were contacted, and staff will address responses pertaining to general journalistic conduct (see “Requests to Change or Remove Content” for more specific feedback). During this time, the editorial board will conduct our Diversity Audit, compiling data regarding the age, racial background, gender and if applicable, grade level, of each source to evaluate whether Verde has accurately represented the range of perspectives in our community.