Newsroom ethics and policies
The Towerlight’s Ethics Policy
By: Caitlyn Freeman, Editor In Chief, fall 2022
As a writer for The Towerlight, you represent not only yourself as a reporter,
but us as an organization as well. The Towerlight strives to provide its
readers with objective, factual information. To ensure we achieve that,
below are the policies we have in place.
Conflicts of Interest
The Towerlight aims to avoid all conflicts of interest whenever possible. If
you are a member of any organization on campus, whether that be a club,
sports team, or political group, you are not allowed to write news articles
pertaining to said organization.
The Towerlight does not accept any gifts from news sources or free
admission to any event that is not free to the public. The exception to this
rule is in the case of reviews of theater or other shows. However, when
possible, The Towerlight will pay for the tickets/admission.
Interaction with sources
We ask that all Towerlight reporters uphold professionalism when engaging
with sources. Reporters are not allowed to interview their friends for articles
as that poses questions on ethics.
Reporters are not allowed to send their questions prior to interviewing
them or their written story in advance prior to publication. If they are asked
to do so by a source, they must tell them no.
As reporters, it is our responsibility to be as transparent with our readers as
possible when it comes to how we obtain information.
We must tell our readers where and how we got the information we publish.
For example, if a source tells you something via email, it must be noted that
way in the story.
If you’re describing a scene that the source is telling you, you must attribute
the source, unless you witnessed it first hand.
If you are getting information from another news article or organization, you
must attribute it to the source material.
It is The Towerlight’s goal to fully attribute all information at all times.
However, there are rare circumstances where an anonymous source is
needed to progress the story or provide readers with invaluable information.
A writer must get permission from the Editor in Chief to utilize anonymous
sources. Further, the writer must tell the editor who the source is and why
the information they provide is invaluable and cannot be sought out
elsewhere on the record.
Reporters are responsible for ensuring that the facts included within their
story are credible and truthful. This includes assertions made by a source. In
the event of a libel suit, the only defense is truth. So, even if a source said
something happened and we publish it, that does not protect us from being
sued unless the source has evidence that it is 100% true.
When a source is making claims, ask them for their
documentation/evidence. The reporter will be asked by their editor to
provide said documentation as well.
Do not, under any circumstances, misrepresent or manipulate a statistic or
fact in any writing done for The Towerlight.
The Towerlight is dedicated to maintaining our journalistic integrity and
transparency to our readers. In doing so, we want to make sure any writing
published on our website, whether it be opinion or news, is 100% factually
accurate. While we strive to be right all the time, mistakes do happen.
When a correction is needed, an editor will make the change as soon as
possible on the article itself. The correction will be explained at the bottom
of the article.
If the error needing correction or redaction needed is egregious or harmful
to a source, The Towerlight will make a public correction on social media
platforms and make an editor’s note within the story.
If a source reaches out to a reporter about an error in their story, it is the
reporter’s duty to notify their editor within 12 hours of receiving the
notification. Failure to do so may result in the reporter not being able to
continue working with The Towerlight.
Any questions about the corrections policy can be directed to