101Reporters’ editorial operations are driven by the following principles. This code of ethics is binding upon 101Reporters’ freelance reporters, in-house editorial team and remote sub-editors. The aim of these guidelines is to ensure that 101Reporters, its reporters and their stories represent the highest standards of journalistic integrity.
Violation of these guidelines may attract penalties, such as suspension or termination of one’s association with 101Reporters. This document will be reviewed and updated periodically to accommodate developments in the ever-evolving field of media.
All the laws, regulations and ethical guidelines that govern journalists anywhere will also govern the editorial staff and freelance reporters of 101Reporters.com.
When contacting sources for news-gathering, reporters must not identify themselves as employees of 101Reporters or its publisher-partners. They can identify themselves as freelance journalists associated with 101Reporters.
Reporters must fully disclose to the persons they interview the purpose of the interaction and the angle of the story. No information shall be obtained by misrepresenting facts.
Reporters and sub-editors must disclose any conflict of interest (and even appearance of conflict) that they may have with a story or the sources mentioned in it.
Under no circumstance must a reporter accept any payment, gift or hospitality from a source in lieu of news-gathering. Any such offer by any source must immediately be informed to 101Reporters.
While the reporters are encouraged to record their conversations with their sources, be it over the phone or in person, they should do so only with the express consent of the source.
Reporters are required to preserve all their interview recordings and notes. They must be shared with 101Reporters or its publisher-partners when requested for fact-checking.
No reporter must threaten a source to part with information. Likewise, one shall not make false promises to any source to elicit information.
Freelance journalists associated with 101Reporters and its full-time editorial staff, editorial consultants and remote sub-editors will always ensure that the life or limb of no source is put to risk, no matter what the circumstance.
Reporters must not use any information published elsewhere (blog, news article, opinion piece, book, press release, document) without attribution. Attribution is mandatory even if the text in question is from the reporter’s previous work. Any instance of plagiarism and/or self-plagiarism will invite a show-cause notice and can lead to termination of the reporter’s account.
Reporters must not pass on photographs and video clips that are intellectual property of someone else/an organisation without their written consent. Every photograph must bear a detailed caption and due credit.
When acting on tip-offs, reporters need to be wary of the motives of the whistleblower.
Reporters shall not grant anonymity to their sources unless there is a risk to their life or livelihood if their identity is made public. In such cases, the story must mention the reason for granting anonymity. If a source refuses to be identified, the reporter shall try to speak with someone else on the record. In stories where anonymous sources are used, \reporters must mention their full name and contact details for 101Reporters’ knowledge and fact-checking purposes.
If an error is spotted in a story after it’s published, the reporter must immediately inform 101Reporters so that the publisher concerned can be requested to make the correction. For 101Reporters’ in-house publication, all corrections made to a story after its publication will be noted in the footnote.
Direct quotes used in a story should be the exact words of a speaker, reproduced verbatim. If the quote is translated into English from any other language, the story should mention the language in which it was said. The flavour of the original quote should be retained as much as possible. At no cost should a reporter or sub-editor add colour to a quote, whether it’s written in direct speech or indirect speech, to make it more appealing or relevant.
Every fact and claim must be verified and only then retained in the story. Unverified claims, if they are indispensable to a story, need to be identified as such. No story should be based on dubious sources such as websites with questionable credibility and predatory journals. If the data cited in a story is not in the public domain, the reporter should be able to present the source of the information on demand.
Reporters as well as sub-editors are required to exhibit healthy scepticism while treating every story and watch out for any cause of concern. Every story must go through rigorous fact-checking and critical analysis.
Due care must be taken while writing about sensitive issues such as caste, religion, gender, minors, sexual abuse etc. Reporters as well as sub-editors handling such stories are required to familiarise themselves with the norms/guidelines governing these aspects.
Single-source stories will not be accepted. Every story has to have quotes from all the parties concerned. Every attempt should be made to reach out to all the relevant parties. If a source refuses to speak or cannot be reached despite best efforts, the story must mention the same.
Reporters must submit a story as soon as a publisher-partner or 101Reporters approves it. In case of any unavoidable delay, reporters must apprise 101Reporters editors. Should a reporter go incommunicado after his/her story idea is approved, the story can be assigned to another reporter. Multiple instances of failing to deliver stories and/or missing deadlines can lead to termination of a reporter’s account.
Any deliberate misrepresentation of information at any stage of executing a story will invite severe disciplinary action and may lead to termination of the reporter’s account with 101Reporters.