April 26, 2013
To Whom It May Concern:
In response to recent hostile events I would like to iron out some policies in order to spell out the manner in which our organization will handle chaotic events. The events that I am describing are those that require reporting as soon as possible, such as last week’s events in Boston, events that affect our reading publics safety. As I am sure many of you witnessed, the reporting within the media left much to be desired. Countless mistakes were reported; lack of time and panic caused many accredited organizations to fail in regard to research and fact checking. Learning is a constant in our profession and from mistakes we learn, therefore the following policies will be enforced and I expect them to be followed to your best ability. The integrity of this organization is of the upmost importance to me and should be important to you as well. Our mission is to stand out as a premiere, credible news corporation and I know that these new policies will help us to maintain this status.
In the news profession there is nothing more annoying than seeing a correction news story only hours after the first report. This comes from the reporting of hearsay whether it is from an unidentified source or the repeat reporting of another news organization. I would like to make it clear that just because another news organization sees a fact fit to be reported within their media, it does not mean that it is fit for ours. We do not know where this information came from nor do we know whether or not the information is true. If we don’t know the source of the information it becomes difficult to research the credibility of the facts. In a time where our viewers depend on our information for safety, in times of fear, it is unacceptable that we create new unnecessary terror. We should be informing our audience not trying to entertain future history classes! I do understand however, that if we are late on a beat sometimes the easiest way to stay in the same league as our competitors is to report some of the same information. The only time that this will be acceptable is if there is a credible source backing the information. This precaution will limit our liability in relation to misinformation. A source follow up should be conducted whenever possible.
Being the first in our business is a major component to being the best. However, being first and wrong is not as important as being the only one right and last! When it comes to anonymous sources our organization will not report them unless there is a valid reason for the anonymity. These reasons include the attachment of a name to the information can/will in endanger the source or reporter. These instances will be the only ones accepted, if the aforementioned reasons were not the ones regarding your anonymous source, the instance would need to be approved by our department. We should hold each other as well as the public accountable for their words. Why should we report something that the source itself is not willing to sign their name? Anonymous sources raise the possibility of reporting false information.
In accordance to using other social media as sources for our news, strict regulations will be enforced. Only blogs that are manned by blogging professionals will be considered for factual information. The only time blogs manned by unaccredited bloggers will be consulted, is in times of extreme disaster within the nation. Natural disasters or attacks that have made it impossible for anyone on the outside to get a first hand account of the situation, will be considered worth the risk of printing false accounts.
Thank you for taking the time to read this memo. Please make sure to incorporate these policies into your professional habits. Remember that all of these new policies are being enforced in order to better our organization. We stand for credible, factual news and our consumers should never expect anything less.
– M.K. McGillivray