TCR Policies and Standards
- Email is a tool, to be used as a last resort. We do our reporting in live conversations, and in-person whenever possible.
- You should attach your cell phone number and/or a telephone number where you can be reached to every email you send to a story subject/source in your capacity as a reporter for TCR. If we do not practice email journalism, we need to use telephone devices. Let people know that you can be reached on your telephone device and where you can be reached.
- If you are worried about forgetting to attach your number, create an email signature for your reporting work with your telephone number attached.
- Do not make promises to sources (other than that you will quote them accurately and in context, that you have an open mind, that you will hear them with an open mind, and that you will always come back to them for comment if you hear anything negative about them). Never threaten someone with harsh treatment.
Never promise someone favorable treatment.
Do not approach a profilee as if you are asking for permission. We do not profile people or entities with their permission. We do not hold it against them if they choose not to cooperate, but we continue to report out the assignment.
Read backs or reviews:
Unless you have been forced to promise to do so, you should not read back quotes or review quotes with anyone affected And you should never email stories or portions of stories, or offer to send any portion of our writing ahead of publication.
We do not use anonymous sources, except in truly unique circumstances, to be determined only by the EIC. For an Not For Attribution, you must also discuss with me first. Do not offer NFA without discussing with me.
USE A TAPE RECORDER USE A TAPE RECORDER USE A TAPE RECORDER USE A TAPE RECORDER
TAKE DUE PROFESSIONAL CARE TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYTHING IS ACCURATE, including all quotes, references, and facts. Whenever possible, use a tape recorder during your interviews (be sure to get permission if you are recording over the phone).
PROTECTING OUR CREDIBILITY
Do not accept any gift, discount, reimbursement, or favor from a person or entity you are writing about.
All of you were asked if you had any conflicts of interest or potential conflicts with people or entities in the pet industry and your answers were “No.” While some of you engage in public relations/consulting work outside the pet industry, this work has no conflict or appearance of conflict with the people and organizations you write about for TCR. If you feel that you need to discuss this issue further with me, or if you would like clarification, please reach out to me ASAP.
VETTING YOUR SOURCES FOR CONFLICTS
If you seek out a so-called “expert” or “academic” source, be sure the source is dispassionate unless your intention is to talk to someone who is outwardly on one side of your story such as a plaintiff’s attorney. But, if you are going to Professor Expert X for quotes, you want to and must ask if he has any possible or perceived stake in the story before you provide him or her with a soapbox. If Professor Expert X is a paid consultant for Pet Food Company TK, you should find a different “expert” for your story. Or, if Professor Expert X is the leading authority on quality controls for pet food and just happens to have a major stake in Company TK, you introduce him as TK, who is a major shareholder of …
Our central mission is to provide dog owners with reliable, fair, dispassionate information; therefore, we need to be relentless about research, including how we choose our sources.
KEEP SOURCES ON RECORD.
If there’s no other way, you can allow someone to go on background, which means we can still use the information they provide, but not attribute directly to them. We will need to give readers the reason why source x cannot be named, if he or she insists, and reveal some info about who they are e.g. “According to a shelter employee who works in the development office who asked not to be named for fear of losing his job”
ALWAYS IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS A REPORTER.
The Canine Review appreciates and welcomes complaints about errors that warrant correction. When we issue a correction, we will announce the correction on the main home page so as to display it prominently per our ethical policies and standards.
If you have a comment pertaining to a possible substantive error in any of The Canine Review’s reporting or opinion writing, please email email@example.com.