I am considering the pros and cons of Kiwiblog joining the Press Council. If Kiwiblog 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.