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THE INDEPENDENT VOICE FOR DOG LOVERS ™
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Updated April 24, 2024

 

EXPECTATIONS OF ALL TCR REPORTERS.

  • We never allow any entity or individual serving in any official capacity as a spokesperson, public relations agent, or intermediary of any kind to be an unnamed source. All spokespeople, communications representatives, marketing officers, government press officers, etc. must be named sources.
  • TCR considers all electronic communications with reporters on the record and for attribution. Ground rules for attribution should be discussed in live conversations with our reporters or with the executive editor. Any emails or texts sent to TCR without prior discussions regarding attribution will be regarded as on record and for attribution.
  • We indemnify our reporters, but we also require them, by contract, to commit to adhering to our high standards of accuracy, ethics, and fairness. TCR will not be responsible for legal fees resulting from misconduct or negligence, e.g. plagiarism or failing to seek comment.
  • Our reporters don’t make promises to sources. Any discussions about attribution ground rules should involve the executive editor.
  • Always identify yourself as a reporter with TCR when communicating with a source or potential source and attach your mobile phone contact information. Be reachable, open, and available to your sources.
  • Cast a wide net.  The executive editor’s stories involve dozens of sources on average. Do not expect to be published without extensive, on record sourcing.

 

Conflicts of Interest:

We accept that a reporter who is new to work with us may also be reluctant to discontinue a high paying consulting job. We insist that reporters are transparent as possible and always make us aware of any conflict or potential for perception of conflict far in advance so we can determine the most ethical solution that serves our readers.

No TCR writer or editor may accept free or discounted services or products of any sort from any element of the pet industry, including pet services or veterinary care.

Reporters (freelance or other) who have previously accepted free services or products from the pet industry are not eligible for TCR writing or editing work except in rare cases such as, for example, if a writer stopped accepting free products years ago or reimbursed the entity.

It is also TCR’s policy not to give writing assignments to any person who represents the pet industry, pet services industry suppliers, or who works as a publicist in any capacity unless the individual is in a unique position to offer information and insight to readers and understands that we require full disclosure to readers.

TCR writers, reporters, contributors, editors, and freelancers must tell their editors in advance about potential conflicts of interest, defined as business or personal interests where such interests might reasonably be viewed as being in actual, apparent, or potential conflict with TCR’s This includes situations in which a spouse, immediate family member, or significant other is gainfully employed by a company that a TCR reporter is assigned to report on, for example.

TCR reporters, editors, and freelancers may not buy or sell securities in any company engaged, in whole or significant part, in the pet industry, veterinary health services, or pet services industry.

TCR reporters, editors, contributors, and freelancers may not serve as directors or officers of any company that serves dog owners, industry, etc.

Many organizations, for a variety of reasons, participate in politics. As a publisher and news organization, TCR is only as legitimate as the trust we earn from our readers. TCR does not contribute, directly or indirectly, to political campaigns or to political parties or groups seeking to raise money for political campaigns or parties.

All TCR writers, editors, reporters, freelancers, or contributors having anything to do with producing editorial content should refrain from any political activity having anything to do with

 

animals, animal rights legislation, animal welfare, funding of programs for anything related to animals such as canine enrichment training, canine service dogs, etc. They should also refrain from signing petitions, participating in marches or rallies, displaying lawn signs, or making contributions to animal-related organizations. Other animal activities (including “issue oriented” activity) should also be discussed with editors.

TCR Forthcoming News

 

Our reports regularly impact consumer choices, policy debates, stock prices, and other market dynamics. The use of TCR intellectual property —i.e., forthcoming news — as a basis for any investment decision is strictly prohibited. No editor, writer, contractor, photographer, reporter, or any other contributor to TCR with knowledge of any such forthcoming material may, prior to publication, buy or sell securities or in any way encourage or assist any other person in buying or selling securities, directly or indirectly, based on that information.

Outside Activities

 

Outside activities pose special problems for journalists, just as they do for medical academics: A guest contributor, freelancer, editor, etc. writing about pet insurance, pet food, veterinary pharma, animal welfare, or breeders would need to disclose if he is associated with an organization or individual, and any employment or other financial relationship that could be viewed as related to the topic being reported. Full disclosure of relevant information is standard practice for TCR, although this is not always enough when a potential conflict of interest exists. Sometimes, the only solution to a potential conflict, if it exists and is significant, is recusal.

Money and gifts

Staff and freelancers may not accept freebies, including rides, “swag,” free products, gifts, junkets, commissions, or assignments from current story subjects or, in the case of staff, potential story subjects.

Reporters, writers, contributors, freelancers may accept free admission to events related to TCR’s coverage. Conferences, forums, speeches, talks, etc. where admission is charged often waive fees for reporters and these situations are kosher.

 

 

POLICIES ABOUT SOURCES AND DEALING WITH SOURCES

We are in the business of accuracy. That means that we are responsible for quoting sources accurately and in context. Fact- checking should never include reading or transmitting quotes to story subjects for review before press time.

 

All TCR reporters must own a digital tape recorder, tape-record all interviews whenever possible, and with the permission of the interviewee.

 

 

Cast a wide and thorough net for sources and always attach your telephone number to your emails.

Reporters should attach cell phone numbers to all electronic communications with sources .

 

Note: A TCR reporter who repeatedly communicates electronically without a telephone number attached to his or her signature will be terminated.

 

 

 

We seek to publish content that is accurate, and that responsibility extends           beyond quoting           sources

 

accurately. We must also strive to determine whether the information itself is correct. And we must be forthright in giving site users the information they need to evaluate the credibility of sources. Here are some ways to achieve these goals:

-Do original reporting, use primary sources, and rely on multiple sources whenever possible.

When it comes to sourcing, we take pride in exhaustive, creative, original, relentless pursuit of the most authoritative, unique, impactful, credible, and relevant voices for our pages.

-Journalists do not have subpoena power and you should understand that nobody is obligated to you and that if someone ultimately declines to speak, you report it but continue to treat him or her fairly and professionally.

-Being fair, courteous, and professional does not mean sending one email to the press shop. Most of our stories will yield questions for companies and organizations that demand input from leaders, so consult your editor.

 

Anonymous Sourcing

All sources must speak with our reporters at least once in live conversations in order to verify the identity of the source.

Please consult editors on any decision regarding anonymous sourcing and never agree to anything before discussing it with an editor.

Reporters should never imply that they interviewed someone if that did not happen. You should also take care to make a distinction between speaking with someone by phone versus exchanging email versus meeting someone in person.

 

-All TCR reporters, writers, contributors, and editors should work to keep the identifications of all sources in all work fully on record

-The decision to allow a source’s identity to be concealed must always be made in consultation with the executive

-Do NOT make promises to sources unless and until you consult with your editor. This is grounds for losing your assignment or byline if the story is already published. Explain to your source that you are obligated to consult with your editor on these matters. An editor must determine whether these criteria have been met. The editor normally will know the name of the source and will be under the same obligation as the reporter to keep it confidential.

 

– To be granted anonymity/source cover, a source must insist and the information the source has must be critical and go to the

 

substance of the story. We must also provide readers with as many details as possible, such as the reason the source requested anonymity, as well as what puts the source in a unique position to offer information.

 

AFTER-THE-FACT QUOTE APPROVAL

We don’t do it.

We never have and we never will.

TCR has a bedrock policy of never, under any circumstances, allowing story subjects or sources to preview any letter of a story, including one’s quotes.

The most common request reporters hear from sources is for after- the-fact quote approval, to have the reporter read back or preview any quotes before press time. Note: This is NOT fact-checking. If you do your job well, you should be in the habit of obtaining permission to tape record your interviews – explain that your priority is accuracy. Keep your interviews on file for at least two years following publication. Your job is to quote people accurately and in context the first time around. When in doubt, follow up with people but do not email story text.

 

 

 

Transparency

 

No other news organization focused on small animal health and pets publishes its editorial policies and standards, let alone relishes in discussing its practices and drawing distinctions other so-called

 

journalism enterprises covering the pet industry. Relatedly, we continue to encourage our friends at the VIN News Service to follow our example and publish a document that explains its policies to readers, including policies about conflicts of interest and disclosure, as well as how reporters are expected to deal with sources, including when sources ask to preview quotes.

 

 

PAYING OUR WAY

 

 

We never pay for access to information and have full access to virtually every periodical on the planet.

You must discuss access with your editor.

If there is a report or document that requires a fee, discuss with your editor.

WE ALWAYS CALL FOR COMMENT

 

– When a person, company, organization, or any entity is criticized on our pages, TCR has a bedrock policy of seeking a response, including contacting CEO’s or the highest-ranking officer reachable and allowing him or her a full opportunity to comment before going to press.

 

Go To The Most Senior Officer

It is also the policy of this publication to go to the most senior officer of an organization for comment when the matter involves anything of substance. Every situation is different and will depend on specifics. A reporter who needs data about sales of a company’s flea and tick collars over the past five years is an example of information that doesn’t require the CEO or even a senior officer if the press shop will cooperate. Often, the press shop will cooperate; and just as frequently, they won’t. In the latter scenario, it’s our policy to go around the press shop and all the way to the top whether we’re seeking data or a company’s policy position.

It’s also our policy to report declined comments and to attribute the declined comment to the senior officer.

 

Be  sure to review this with your editor if you need further clarification.

 

IDENTIFYING OURSELVES AS REPORTERS

 

 

 

 

Those working on stories for TCR must always identify themselves as REPORTER FOR THE CANINE REVIEW BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE DOING FOR US.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, including special consumer- reporting projects or projects within stories in which the experience of a client or consumer goes to the substance of the story. For example, TCR spent several hours calling customer service representatives at various pet health insurance entities to assess the experience of the client.

All circumstances in which the reporter will not identity himself must be discussed with TCR’s executive editor in advance.

 

 

Corrections

The trust of our readers and the credibility of our brand is key to our mission. Thus, reporters are required to bring any errors they become aware of following publication to our attention.

TCR is committed to correcting the record if and when any reported error is confirmed. TCR is also committed to displaying and calling attention to all corrections transparently, clearly identifying the mistake made. Simply correcting or deleting the story without informing the reader is not sufficient.

 

 

 

TCR is on the trail and hunting for our new hiring a Public Editor who will oversee fact-checking, our corrections policy, in addition to auditing every aspect of how we do our reporting and then writing up the findings for our readers.

The press must be transparent and embrace scrutiny in its own house if we expect to gain and keep the trust of our readers.