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Ethics statement

As the only official print news source at Knox College run entirely by students, The Knox Student has a special responsibility to the student body to deliver solid stories about important issues and events at the college, local, national and international level. TKS strives for accuracy, fairness and independence in all reporting and promises to uphold these principles by:

  1. Seeking information on a topic from a variety of sources which represent both congruent and competing perspectives;
  2. Checking facts wherever possible and never intentionally distorting them;
  3. Writing headlines and subheadlines that do not misconstrue, oversimplify or take information out of context;
  4. Always identifying original collection of hard data (as with surveying the public), the circumstances under which it was done and any factors present that may affect the accuracy of results;
  5. Never plagiarizing;
  6. Giving accused persons or entities the opportunity to respond to allegations;
  7. Attempting to contact a source in multiple ways before declaring that person unreachable for comment or unresponsive to requests for information;
  8. Identifying sources in all instances except when a source’s safety is in jeopardy, a source is not authorized to comment or other especially grave circumstances are present, and always disclosing the reason(s) for granting anonymity;
  9. Avoiding clandestine methods of collecting information, including undercover work, except when the information in question is crucially important to public knowledge and cannot be obtained through more open methods, and always disclosing when such methods were used;
  10. Avoiding stereotyping by appearance, race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, gender identification, sexual orientation, disability, economic or social status, political views or religion;
  11. Distinguishing between news and commentary in a visible and clearly obvious manner;
  12. Never producing advertising or advocacy masked as news;
  13. Maintaining objectivity in all news reporting, carefully considering assignments where the ability to be objective could be compromised and disclosing when a conflict of interest could be perceived to exist;
  14. Never assigning reporters stories in which a club, organization or other group to which they belong has a vested interest and, in the case of editors, giving responsibility for editorial decision-making for material in which a club, organization or other group to which they belong has a vested interest to another editor;
  15. Never editing news photos or videos so as to distort or misrepresent content, and always identifying photo illustrations or stock images as such;
  16. Always explaining complicated concepts and jargon as fully as possible;
  17. Always disclosing when mistakes were made and rectifying them as soon as possible, realizing that the fault for reporting inaccurate information ultimately rests with the journalist, not the source;
  18. Never taking quotations out of context or shortening them in a way that distorts their meaning;
  19. Choosing whenever possible, when a crucial source cannot be met with until after a deadline, to delay a story’s publication rather than print it without the source’s information;
  20. Allowing for the expression of a variety of viewpoints, even those whom the journalist or the public may find offensive or otherwise repugnant;
  21. Refusing special treatment, gifts or favors from any person or entity;
  22. Denying favored treatment to advertisers and special interests; and
  23. Holding those with power accountable for their words and deeds, regardless of whether or not the person or entity in question holds any power, direct or indirect, over TKS, its content, its staff or its funding.

Some ideas in ethics statement drawn from The Society of Professional Journalists and The New York Times.