A Kiwiblog editorial policy

March 28th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

I am considering the pros and cons of joining the Press Council. If does join, then I thought it would be useful to have a clear editorial policy that spells out how it operates. Below is a first draft. I welcome feedback from readers as to any changes they think are desirable.

The sections are based on the Press Council principles.

Accuracy

Kiwiblog will never publish anything the author knows to be untrue. If it does publish anything that is non-trivially factually inaccurate, it will correct it as soon as possible. The correction will generally be by way of strike-through on the incorrect text and bold on the new text so the changes are explicit. Alternatively updates may be done to a post, at the bottom of it.

Occasionally a post may be rewritten to reflect new information, when it is not desirable to keep the inaccurate original information in the post. However all versions of a post are archived.

Kiwiblog does not have the resources to double source all information it receives. It will sometimes publish information it receives from readers, if it deems the source credible.

Balance

Kiwiblog primarily reflects the views of its editor, David Farrar. However Kiwiblog is designed for debate and a balance of views can be achieved by contrary views being published in the comments section.

Kiwiblog is also generally amenable to running guest posts or a right of reply on a topic, even when those views do not reflect the editor’s.

However Kiwiblog will primarily be publishing stories that reflect the views of the editor on issues, and this will be the dominant view.

Kiwiblog also links to a number of other blogs, which promote a variety of different views on different issues. Kiwiblog believes that readers best achieve balance by reading different views on different sites, rather than one overall “balanced” view on all sites.

Fairness

Kiwiblog will link to quoted material (if available online), so that readers can easily follow through to see extracted material in its full context.

Kiwiblog generally allows a right of reply, both in comments or as a guest post – subject to overall editorial quality control.

Privacy

Kiwiblog has an internal privacy policy here. Kiwiblog asserts that as it makes observations on news, or current affairs, for the purposes of dissemination to the public or any section of the public, it is a news medium undertaking news activity and hence not an agency for the purposes of the Privacy Act.

In terms of publishing details of individuals, Kiwiblog will balance up the public interest against an individual’s desire for privacy. Whether such details are already in the public domain will be a key consideration.

Children and Young People

Kiwiblog will generally not report on children or young people (under 18) unless it is for positive achievements, or they are taking part in newsworthy activities.

Comment and Fact

A blog is a mixture of news reporting and opinion. Blog readers understand this. It will generally be clear by use of quotes and extracts what is news, and what is opinion. Most posts are reflecting the opinion of the author, but some will be reporting original news.

Comments are also made by some blog readers. These are not moderated in advance by the editor and do not reflect the opinion of anyone but the person making them, and should not be seen as news. A comments and demerits policy applies to these.

Complaints against comments should be made to kiwiblogabuse@gmail.com.

Headlines and Captions

The headlines on Kiwiblog are designed to either explain the substance of a story or make readers curious as to what a story is so they will read it.

Discrimination and Diversity

Kiwiblog agrees with the Press Council that issues of gender, religion, minority groups, sexual orientation, age, race, colour or physical or mental disability are legitimate subjects for discussion. Any coverage of these issues is based on public interest and is not gratuitous.

Confidentiality

Kiwiblog receives significant amounts of (generally unsolicited) information from sources. It will not name or reveal the sources, unless they agree. The exception will be if knowingly false information is provided.

Subterfuge

Kiwiblog does not use subterfuge or deceit to gain information.

Conflicts of Interests

Potential conflicts are disclosed here. Kiwiblog does not accept money for posts, unless they are marked as a paid advertisement. Posts reflect the views of the author.

Photographs and Graphics

Photographs are not digitally retouched by Kiwiblog, unless for humourous purposes in which case it will be apparent.

Corrections

See Accuracy

Complaints

If a reader wishes to complain about a post, or seek an amendment, they should contact the editor by e-mail, or if it is urgent, by text or call to his mobile phone. Note that Kiwiblog does not have fulltime staff, and the timeliness of a response can be affected by the work demand or travel of the editor.

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35 Responses to “A Kiwiblog editorial policy”

  1. Matthew Hooton (131 comments) says:

    Are you still allowed to say “cunt”?

    [DPF: Yes. But don't call someone one]

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  2. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    Sounds good and comprehensive. Ok to use this as a template?

    [DPF: Fine]

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  3. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (890 comments) says:

    Excellent. I am keen to see more of Labour’s progressive policies given a fair discussion in this blog.

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  4. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    Shit DPF that explain my Griff log in not reactivating.

    I didn’t realise I had been (justly for excessive explicative fulled trolling that day) banned and was unaware of your email to reactivate logon policy.
    Doesnt matter as Griffith is still obviously the same personality :lol:

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  5. Manolo (13,840 comments) says:

    It reads very well, DPF.
    Do not bother with the Press Council. Give it a wide berth.

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  6. Richard Hurst (859 comments) says:

    What could you possibly gain by joining the Press Council? Other than having the likes of Stephen Stewart and Penny Harding both of the EPMU passing judgment on you….

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  7. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    I’d say yes, providing the standard does likewise.

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  8. Harriet (4,988 comments) says:

    “…..Kiwiblog agrees with the Press Council that issues of gender, religion, minority groups, sexual orientation, age, race, colour or physical or mental disability are legitimate subjects for discussion. Any coverage of these issues is based on public interest and is not gratuitous….”

    So how come the MSM never ever report much in the way of abortion then – if the Press council accepts that it’s such a generaly accepted coversational topic amongst the public?

    It appears that the MSM, political parties, and the Public Service ect are agreeing not to say anything at all about abortion.

    Even major overseas issues about abortion are seldom mention by the MSM in NZ.

    The Press Council should be asked for their opinion on this matter – otherwise they too will appear to be rather compliant with the left! :cool:

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  9. big bruv (13,934 comments) says:

    So let me see if I have this straight DPF.

    I can use the word “Cunt” as a descriptor, I can use the word “Cunt” as a form of gutter punctuation, I can say that an individual has displayed “cunt” like behaviour, I can even (dare I say it) use the word “cunt” to describe a certain piece of anatomy.

    I am just not allowed to say that a person is a “cunt”.

    Would that be right?

    [DPF: Moderation and context is important. A comment that just said CUNT would not be. An off hand comment that someone has had a cunt of a day would not cause problems. Ascribing cunt like behaviour to someone is probably over the line. Cunt as an anatomical term will depend on the context, as generally Kiwiblog not the place to discuss vaginas of any sort, no matter what you call them]

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  10. ShawnLH (5,293 comments) says:

    Nobody with any class uses the “c” word.

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  11. Simon Arnold (109 comments) says:

    “Kiwiblog does not have the resources to double source all information it receives.”

    Clearly

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  12. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    I have no idea why you’d want to join and be judged by a council with guaranteed union representation. But I think “Photographs are not digitally retouched by Kiwiblog, unless for humourous purposes in which case it will be apparent” will almost certainly not be true of your regular guest photographers, who will be tweaking contrast and colour in order to make a more vibrant image.

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  13. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    Press council?

    Insert that “its a trap” meme here

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  14. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    In the last paragraph of Balance section, shouldn’t that be “the Editor believes” not “Kiwiblog believes”??

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  15. peterwn (3,277 comments) says:

    davidp – ‘… who will be tweaking contrast and colour in order to make a more vibrant image.’
    I think there is a vast difference between ‘photoshopping’ a photo to create a false impression of circumstance than a general adjustment of contrast and colour throughout a photo. A photographer who processed his own films even in the ‘black and white’ days had control over contrast. One would doubt that someone would complain about a photo which appears to make (say) Lake Pukaki and Mt Cook look like they were on steriods.

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  16. Maggy Wassilieff (411 comments) says:

    Why bother with the Press Council? I do not have a good opinion of online comment sites connected with Print newspapers.

    They will often not publish my comments (and remember I’m just a harmless little old lady); and when they do, the comments appear hours later (days later if you try commenting in the Weekend). Then active sites just seem to disappear for no apparent reason ( perhaps too many comments pointing out the errors of the print story?).

    I’m finally over my addiction to print newspapers …..

    Form your own Bloggers Council if you must, otherwise just ignore the ink-stained folk.

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  17. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Looks like Pete George (12.08) will put his little blog under the Press Council. That says it all.

    You can’t be an iconoclast and allow the fogies of the Press Council in effect to censor your material.

    If the Whale goes in his blog will follow NZ Truth into obscurity. Whale will beach, and then slowly die. Maori will claim the carcase, say an animistic blessing, then feed the blubber to the PC pa’s dogs.

    If Kiwiblog goes in to Press Council, we’ll need to find a new playground free of the equivalent of Department of Labour safety inspectors.

    For example, under DPF’s new protocol would we be able to say: The Press Council is a boring, sanctimonious bunch of cunts?

    Or would this appear as: The Press Council is a boring, sanctimonious bunch of cunts (this word now in strikeout characters), whoops, people.

    Note this test (not that I think if is true of course) is impersonal, no-one named, and refers to the institution collectively, rather than to each and every member.

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  18. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    TLDR

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  19. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    I have no idea whether I’ll go with the Press Council or not. but I think aspiring to the standards stated by DPF is a good thing to do.

    If I did go with the Press Council I don’t see it changing how I’d go about things at all. I’ve nearly always been open and have had honest intent.

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  20. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Nobody with any class uses the “c” word.

    Yep, but it’s all over Kiwiblog. You’re all a bunch of cunts

    An off hand comment that someone has had a cunt of a day would not cause problems. Ascribing cunt like behaviour to someone is probably over the line. Cunt as an anatomical term will depend on the context, as generally Kiwiblog not the place to discuss vaginas of any sort, no matter what you call them

    Starting to sound a bit like the US TV guidelines about swearing…

    generally Kiwiblog not the place to discuss vaginas of any sort, no matter what you call them

    Damn, no more discussing the front bums in the Labour caucus.

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  21. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    peterwn – I don’t have any problem with it either. It is what I do with my own photos. It just seems to be disallowed by DPF’s policy.

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  22. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Whale Oil! If you stray into this thread today, can you please advise whether NZ Truth was under the jurisdiction of the Press Council.

    Pete (2.43). No doubt you’ve been honest. But if you had holidayed in some Third World shithole and there had been bitten by a rabies-carrying bat, your blog would now be roaring and you would have toppled the Possum as head of United Future. Perhaps you would be Mayor of Dunedin at the same time.

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  23. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    PG.

    I am surprised the nz political blog community is not preempting this issue and pushing its own code of conduct via a voluntary governing body.

    Davids considered honest and upfront editorial policy is a good starting point.

    The press council is old school and obsolete. Its membership and structure is at odds with the philosophy of blogging.

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  24. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    DPF: My two cents…the policy you have proposed is extremely sensible and reasonable…but if the commenters who say the Press Council has union members on it are correct, then perhaps there is reason for concern …I know nothing about the Press Council (and have better things to do than research it) but in your shoes I would want to know what its makeup is; who appoints the members; what is the percentage representation of which sectors of the print media vs. print unions etc. etc.

    But if you decide to sign up, I can’t see much to improve on what you have proposed as Kiwiblog’s standard/policy…but presumably you would have to sign up to theirs?

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  25. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    Sorry…should have read the original post better…yours is based on theirs…

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  26. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    griffith – that’s always an option. I’d be interested in exploring it. I’m not sure how easy it would be to get a bunch of bloggers to work together on accountability and oversight of each other, but if anyone else is interested in having a go at it I’m willing to take part.

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  27. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    It would be like trying to train cats.

    Leadership by example seems a potentially fruitful standpoint .

    :lol:

    What right have I to say anything……..

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  28. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    I don’t understand why a blogger would want to join the Press Council.

    I see no benefits and it would concern me that one day the Press Council might use the presence of bloggers as leverage to claim authority in coming battles over online accountability it ought not have.

    The point of a blog, it seems to me, is personal speech and individual control held close to each blogs owner without duty to others.

    The web is not a broadcast medium, no one need see, read or hear anything hosted on it except what they choose and for that reason oversight by any authority of anything that does not directly harm or threaten people seems unwarranted.

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  29. Viking2 (11,491 comments) says:

    I seem to recall that the reason would be access to such things as press releases, to various political and or govt. briefings e.g. lockups etc. and being recognized by the courts as an organization with what is called Freedom of the Press, that allows newspapers to publish stuff without being open to constant court proceedings.

    DPF: Apart from the privileges conveyed by belonging and the protection and access that gives I doubt that there is any other good reason to subject the Freedom Of Your Blog,(Press) to a committee of fatuous people.

    The next move will be for the Nazi’s to want every blog to belong. Typical socialist money grabbing behavoir (someone is going to pay and going on past track records it will be us poor taxpayers).
    If you are wondering if it could be just look at the current efforts by the child poverty bandwagon and Paula Bennett to impose a Warrant of Fitness on the private rental property of landlords or the constant bullying behavoir of the anti fluoride group.

    Explain to us how belonging in anyway increases your and our freedom to communicate in NZ.
    These people are like rust, they never sleep.

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  30. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    You Forgot

    your obligations under

    The Treaty of Waitangi

    http://www.teara.govt.nz/files/a3678atl.jpg

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  31. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    As written your policy makes inadequate distinction between the blog you write and the reader comments. You publish both. You need to reread it and identify which policies apply to your head blog and which apply to reader comments.

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  32. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    Alan

    are you an accountant

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  33. Rachel5 (3 comments) says:

    I hope topics related to sensory and neurological disabilities are treated the same way as those with physical and mental disabilities

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  34. V (720 comments) says:

    Do you think Whale will join the press council? The image of a bull in a china shop springs to mind.

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  35. salt (133 comments) says:

    Well you’d certainly have to think twice before publishing “guest posts” like the recent one headlined “85% OF TAX REVENUE COMES FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR”.

    I’ve really no idea why blogs would voluntarily align themselves with a flawed body like the Press Council which isn’t made for blog-style media anyway, but I’d certainly be glad for fewer out-and-out lies being published on popular blogs known for partisanship but not outright dishonesty.

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