Lower Wisconsin River
Editorial Mission/Extended About
The Lower Wisconsin River Valley Sentinel is the local news source covering arts & culture, outdoors & agriculture, local meetings and our larger community.
Our community deserves a news source that truly cares —
Cares to reach our readers where they want to be reached. Cares to stay ahead of the curve to inform our community. Cares to cover important topics that other journalists won’t touch. Cares to cover the decisions of our local governments and to hold them accountable. Cares to celebrate both our rural Driftless identity and the arts & culture that makes our community so extraordinary.
In times like these, our community needs to come together.
So, let’s build community together.
We cover Arena, Lone Rock, Plain, Spring Green and the surrounding areas. At times Valley Sentinel shall cover regional news around the state of Wisconsin, with a special focus on the Lower Wisconsin Riverway and the Driftless Area.
Valley Sentinel is published in Spring Green, Wisconsin, every other Thursday by Lower Wisconsin River Valley Sentinel, LLC.
Valley Sentinel is a free, bi-weekly single-copy news publication, available on newsstands in the area.
We believe in an accessible model that strives to reach people wherever and however they like their news. We reject the failing, walled-garden subscription model of large, corporate newspapers. We believe that anyone who wants the news, should get the news.
We believe it is the duty of any forward-thinking and dynamic community newspaper to assist in keeping its community informed and, to that end, to ensure that the news is available to all that seek it.
We’re a group of passionate people sharing their time in the name of community – current and former publication editors in chief, managing editors, farmers, attorneys, local and county government journalists and community organizers. Collectively, we have nearly two decades of experience in the Lower Wisconsin River Valley area, we believe in its potential, and quite simply — we care more.
However, we recognize the sometimes antagonistic environment in journalism that exists currently. We understand that ultimately the accuracy of a story is the most important aspect of our journalistic duty to the community we serve. We recognize that big, corporate media and other industries have non-compete clauses that journalists have to consider, non-compete clauses that we believe are antithetical to good, collaborative journalism. We will not be strong armed or dissuaded from covering important issues and topics that other journalists or news media are too scared or intimidated to cover. To that end, we support a reporter/contributor’s choice to publish under a pen name. We leave that decision up to them. Any such decision must not affect the integrity and impartiality of the reporting and all stories shall go through the same rigorous editorial review process.
Interested parties located in the United States can subscribe to Valley Sentinel for $30 annually using provided electronic options or by sending a check with your name, address to:
Valley Sentinel, PO Box 144, Spring Green, WI 53588
Valley Sentinel does not offer refunds for the remainder of annual subscriptions.
Subscriptions can be obtained electronically through our subscription page: https://valleysentinelnews.com/subscribe/
Subscribe Using Our Subscription Fund
We understand that everyone’s financial situation is different, but we believe that everyone that wants the news should be able to receive the news.
We’re offering a subscription fund that is provided by donations and a percentage of advertising sales to make sure that everyone that wants to be an actual subscriber is able to be. $5 of every ad sale goes to our community subscription fund.
By subscribing using our subscription fund you acknowledge that you are accepting an annual, auto-renewing gift subscription from Valley Sentinel’s subscription fund to become an actual, in-good-faith paid subscriber of Valley Sentinel to have the print news publication delivered/mailed to your address. We will also subscribe you to our weekly email news digest (you may unsubscribe at any time).
Gift subscriptions from Valley Sentinel’s subscription fund are provided by donations and a percentage of advertising sales. Subscription fund subscriptions are processed and fulfilled on a rolling basis as the fund allows.
Valley Sentinel reserves the right to identify and deny frivolous subscription requests.
Advertising shall be governed by the policies on our advertising page: https://valleysentinelnews.com/advertising-businesses/
Does your event require an ad in Valley Sentinel? Rule of thumb: if you’re making money then advertising/marketing should be included in your budget and will require an ad to run.
Valley Sentinel shall make exceptions at its discretion for events/subjects of a great compelling community interest or other artistic community value.
Events that are free to the community to attend can be placed in Valley Sentinel’s community calendar at no cost.
For all purposes of accepting service of process or to receive legal and other documents on behalf of Valley Sentinel, such as subpoenas, regulatory and tax notices, and related correspondence, please direct to:
Wisconsin Registered Agent LLC
2800 E. Enterprise Ave STE 333
Appleton, WI 54913
and copy to Valley Sentinel’s attorney of record.
Attorney of Record
For all purposes of accepting service of process or to receive legal and other documents on behalf of Valley Sentinel, such as subpoenas, regulatory and tax notices, and related correspondence, or any legal or civil inquiries, Valley Sentinel (the entity) and its owners/editors (in all capacities, personal and professional) have indefinitely retained Gary Ernest Grass (State Bar No. 1035738) and Siddique Law, LLC, please direct requests or questions to:
Gary Ernest Grass
Siddique Law, LLC
6060 N. 77 th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53218
Papers available for general distribution are free, single-copy: a single copy, per person of each edition of the paper is free. Each additional copy is $1,000 to be paid directly to Lower Wisconsin River Valley Sentinel, LLC. This provision is wholly enforceable by Valley Sentinel and its principals, is irrelevant if not enforced, and is retroactively waive-able by Valley Sentinel and its principals.
Editorials, Columns, Letters to the Editor and Community Discussions
Editorial Policy: On certain topics in areas of great community interest, the editors of the Valley Sentinel may take positions they believe best represent and serve the interests of the community. Any opinions or positions taken by the editorial board are separate and distinct in labeling and substance from the community journalism that appears in the rest of the publication and does not affect the integrity and impartiality of our reporting.
Column Policy: Editors may feature opinion columns written by public figures, members of the public or other publication staff. Columns reflect the opinions of the individual contributors and do not represent positions of the publication. Guest columns of an anticipated length more than 500 words should seek prior editor authorization.
Letter to the Editor Policy: Letters submitted for consideration are subject to fact-checking and editing for space and clarity. Submissions must have a compelling local community interest. Letters to the editor must fit within a 500-word limit, and include name, city and phone number. Phone numbers are for office use only and will not be published. Letters of a political nature, without chance of rebuttal, will not be published the week before an election. All submissions become the property of Valley Sentinel.
Community Discussions Policy: From time to time the editorial board may select letters to the editor of a particular compelling community interest where a public figure or accountable public action is the recipient of criticism and allow, in the same issue, the subject of the criticism chance for rebuttal, with expounded independent input. The format shall be point, counterpoint and expert analysis. This community discussion shall serve as a moderated dialogue that presents multiple views of important community topics.
By submitting your writing to the Valley Sentinel for publication, you agree that the Valley Sentinel may exercise publication and other rights over the material in accordance with the Valley Sentinel’s submissions policy. You further warrant that you hold and have the authority to transfer those rights. The Valley Sentinel’s submissions policy is subject to change without notice, or may be superseded in writing in special cases at the discretion of the Valley Sentinel and the consent of the submitting party. In absence of any superseding agreement, the policy is as follows:
Duty to Preserve. Authors may submit an original or copy of any manuscript, but should retain at least one copy for their own records. The Valley Sentinel is not responsible for lost, damaged, or destroyed submissions.
Editorial Control. The Valley Sentinel has the right to edit any submission for length, clarity, or to remove any material which in its view may be defamatory or constitute an invasion of privacy, or which the Valley Sentinel is unable to confirm through fact checking or which may be subject to the copyright of a third party. The Valley Sentinel may edit to correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and to remove epithets or profanity. Edits may include deletions, changes, and small insertions as needed. Edits will generally be made without notice to the author and without special notation and without change to the byline. Material may be also added in the form of an editor’s note set off by brackets from the remainder of the submission. The Valley Sentinel will make reasonable effort when editing to preserve the fundamental points, character, style and tone of the original, and may at its discretion use an editor’s note to acknowledge significant alterations made in editing.
Use by Valley Sentinel. The Valley Sentinel has the right to use of the original and any versions of a submission edited by or for the Valley Sentinel by publication once within four months of submission in both print and electronic versions of the publication, and permanent inclusion in its paper and electronic archives. It may use images of the printed version of a piece, or excerpts not exceeding 100 words, in promotional materials. It may reprint the submission in not more than one full press run every ten years as a historical note.
Other rights of the Valley Sentinel. The Valley Sentinel’s right to print publication of the submitted material for distribution in its primary geographical area of publication, as determined by the Valley Sentinel, shall be exclusive. Unless authorized by the Valley Sentinel, no other publication may make the submission freely available online for a period of two weeks after publication by the Valley Sentinel, except for a blog maintained by the submitting party.
Rights of Submitting Party, Licensing Fees and Profits. Subject to the rights of the Valley Sentinel as set forth above, the Valley Sentinel grants a permanent license to the submitting party for all other uses of the submission, but may assess a license fee of no more than 10% on any sale of rights or profits from the republication of the submission, or development of the submission into any motion picture, theatrical performance, multi-media presentation, graphic novel, or work in any form that makes more than fair use of the submission. The right to such license fee is durable, and follows the ownership of all other rights, such that it must be paid upon each transfer of ownership or use of the submission, until the Valley Sentinel agrees otherwise.
Editorial Review Process
We are a small newsroom, it’s fairly easy to undertake our editorial review process. We have a large focus on editing first, helping look at the larger picture and guiding our reporters through the process of what makes a story great and what makes it resonate and engage with our community. We then focus on copy-editing as the process moves on, going line by line and ensuring accurate grammatical clarity and accurate information, which take us to fact-checking. We are very data and information focused, it’s not the job of one of our news stories to reflect bias or take a position. We simply strive to find the facts based in data and information and report them to our community as such.
Ethics & Professional Standards Guidelines
Valley Sentinel is committed to the highest ethical standards.
Fairness and accuracy are among our core values. But perhaps nothing stands above the need for the news organization to maintain and preserve its integrity. The public’s trust in our work — our most important asset — depends on it.
This evolving document is meant to provide general guidance to Valley Sentinel staffers on the many difficult ethical questions that arise in the course of doing our jobs. But because not every situation can be anticipated, it is useful to keep two particular guidelines in mind.
1.) None of us should act in ways that could damage the organization’s credibility. Many complicated issues — from political involvement to attribution to freelance policy — can be navigated easily with that principle in mind.
2.) Any situation that raises questions of credibility ought to be discussed with an editor. None of us should decide such issues alone.
We are all collectively responsible for ethical standards.
Valley Sentinel recognizes that while there are many black-and-white issues easily resolved, there also are many that involve shades of gray. Questions often can, and should be, discussed openly and thoroughly with members of the newsroom. Avoid “doing” ethics alone. Collaboration produces better decisions.
Professional Activities and Standards
Fairness, Accuracy and Corrections
Valley Sentinel strives to operate with fairness, accuracy and independence.
Whenever possible, the Valley Sentinel seeks opposing views and solicits responses from those whose conduct is questioned in news stories.
While it is our responsibility to accurately report the news we know, and as soon as possible after breaking the news, we should update what we can from an opposing side or more background. If the opposing side can’t be reached, we should say that. We should also foster a spirit of fairness in the tone of our coverage. An opposing side shouldn’t necessarily be expected to provide cogent and thoughtful responses to complex issues instantaneously. Developing stories must indicate they will continue to be updated with “More to come” or similar phrasing.
We must strive to create balance in all of our coverage with a sense of immediacy.
All errors shall be acknowledged promptly in a straightforward manner, never disguised or glossed over in a follow-up story. Only in rare circumstances, with approval from the Editorial Board, should an attempt be made to remove erroneous content (or content published inadvertently) from the web. When errors are made online, we should correct the errors and indicate that the story has been updated to correct an error or clarify what it says. We always acknowledge our mistakes and set the record straight in a transparent manner.
In considering requests to remove accurate information from our public archives, we should consider not only the person’s interest in suppressing the content but also the public’s interest in knowing the information. Circumstances will guide the decision and must be approved by the Editorial Board. Our policy is not to remove published content from our archives, but we want archives to be accurate, complete and up-to-date, so we will update and correct archived content as needed, including headlines.
With that said, Valley Sentinel believes in second chances and the contributions each person can make to society and our community. If published content can be demonstrated as contributing negatively to someone’s livelihood, and the circumstances of that person’s life has changed, (e.g. expungement or pardon of criminal charges followed by community service and positive contributions to community) then Valley Sentinel shall consider un-indexing or un-publishing content.
Clarifications should be made when a story, photograph, video, caption, editorial, etc. creates a false impression of fact.
A correction or clarification should repeat the original error only if omitting that information fails to provide necessary context for understanding the correction/clarification. For example, a correction such as “The name of Joe Editorer was incorrectly spelled in a story about Valley Sentinel” is sufficient in print. It is not necessary to repeat the original error. Corrections/clarifications should be appended to the original story online and be located in a consistent place in print.
When there is a question over whether a correction, clarification or removal of story or photo is necessary, bring the matter to an editor.
Reporters or photographers ought to identify themselves as news media to news sources. In the rare instance when circumstances suggest not identifying ourselves as news media, the Editorial Board must be consulted for approval.
Journalists must not plagiarize, whether it is the wholesale lifting of someone else’s writing, or the publication of a press release as news without attribution. Valley Sentinel journalists are responsible for their research, just as they are for their reporting. The inadvertent publication of another’s work does not excuse the plagiarism.
While journalists are expected to cover breaking news aggressively, they must not interfere with civil authorities while on assignment. In no circumstance should a journalist break the law. Journalists who feel they have been unlawfully restricted from doing their job are expected to remain calm and professional and report the situation to the Editorial Board immediately.
Confidentiality and Unidentified Sources
Agreements about anonymity should be ironed out with sources in advance. Make sure sources understand the ground rules: What information can be attributed to the source and what can not be attributed? What is off-the-record? — meaning what information cannot be published unless confirmed through another source.
In general, we should avoid the use of unnamed sources in stories. We will attribute information to unnamed sources only when news value warrants and it cannot be obtained any other way.
When we choose to rely on unnamed sources, we will avoid letting them be the sole basis for any story. We will not allow unnamed sources to make personal attacks. We should describe the unnamed source in as much detail as possible to indicate the source’s credibility. And we should tell readers the reason the source requested or was given anonymity.
To the extent possible, we should apply our own standards to the use of unnamed sources in stories produced by other newspapers or wire services. In cases where there are significant conflicts between the attribution of information in the wire story and Valley Sentinel policy on unattributed sources, an effort should be made to contact the originating news agency for more information.
Under no circumstance does Valley Sentinel pay for information.
Use of Names / Descriptions
When law enforcement or other officials identify a person who has been arrested, that person can be identified by Valley Sentinel outlets. In some instances, a person might not be named until charged.
Juveniles should not be identified unless they are to be tried as adults, or their alleged crime is deemed particularly newsworthy. Such a decision should be made in consultation with an editor.
Once a person is named in our reporting, Valley Sentinel should make every effort to report on the ultimate adjudication of the case.
Valley Sentinel generally does not name victims of sexual assaults.
Physical descriptions of suspects should be published only if they are of sufficient specificity that they can be useful in identification.
Social Media Identities / Use
Social media accounts should be clearly branded with the name of the news organization, either at the local level or with Valley Sentinel.
An employee of Valley Sentinel should refrain from endorsing entities in which they cover or have direct contact. Retweets, sharing of posts or “+1” indicators do not constitute endorsements.
Official Valley Sentinel social media profiles should clearly and prominently indicate the account is representative of our news organization. Examples of prominent indications include branded backgrounds, the name of the newspaper incorporated into the title of the page when possible.
Valley Sentinel journalists are expected to maintain professional decorum on their personal and work social media accounts, just as they would be expected to conduct themselves professionally when representing the news organization in public. Journalists should be cognizant of their language, the opinions expressed, visual material presented, and how their posts may be perceived by the public. Foremost, they should remain cognizant of the public nature of social media.
Valley Sentinel employees should always source the information they are pushing out via social media. If they are not the original source, they need to make sure that they reference who/what that source is.
Valley Sentinel employees will not delete incorrect posts; instead, they will follow similar guidelines set up for online and print corrections, indicating they had previously published incorrect information when posting the correct information.
—For media that now allow editing, e.g., Facebook, we should correct the error and include an UPDATED at the beginning of the post. A comment should also appear in the post, identifying that an update/fix has been made.
—For Twitter, a reply to the initial post with the accurate information is the best way to keep the content linked and visible.
Valley Sentinel journalists are allowed to break news via social media, especially in competitive situations. However, they should carefully consider their overall reporting approach, using social media reporting to augment and not substitute for the writing of stories. The goal is to ensure our reporting is published accurately across all channels.
Social Media in Breaking News Coverage
When breaking news via social media, the initial post must be sourced, and the journalist must make it clear whether they are at the scene or not. If they are not at the scene, they must clearly — and repeatedly — source the information they are getting about the event.
In the event the reporter wants to post on their own social media information attributed to an anonymous source, they must adhere to the guidelines in the “Confidentiality and Unidentified Sources” section of this document. If anything is going to be pushed out anonymously sourced, an editor must be involved in the decision. Nothing should be published before a discussion takes place.
When attributing information found on Twitter, they should retweet the information in its original form, whether in a single post or in multiple instances. Copying and pasting alone is not acceptable.
Quotations and Attribution
Quotations should always be the exact words that someone spoke, with the exception of minor corrections in grammar and syntax. Parentheses within quotations are almost never appropriate and can almost always be avoided. Ellipses should also be avoided.
We generally should explain when a quote was received in a manner other than an interview: via email, in a prepared statement, in a televised press conference. In cases where we conduct an interview through a translator, we should identify quotes received in that manner.
A reporter should not make it sound as if a source made a statement to the reporter if, in fact, it came to us through a third party.
Bylines, Datelines and Credit Lines
Bylines, datelines and credit lines should accurately convey to readers the source of reporting. All stories, including briefs, should have a byline and contact information for the writer so readers know who to contact if there is an error or issue.
In multiple bylines, the first name generally should be that of the reporter who wrote the article, or if different, of the largest contributor. Any reporter who contributed substantively to a story should be included in the byline. Contributor lines should be reserved for those who provided small slices of reporting, such as a single quote or two, for a story.
We should treat material from our Valley Sentinel colleagues at partner newspapers just as the work of our individual newspaper’s staff. When a reporter writes an article based in part on wire service reports and in part on the reporter’s own work, the article should carry the reporter’s byline and a credit to the wire service in a tagline. If the reporter independently reports the facts of the story, the byline can stand alone. If the reporter simply inserts some local material, the byline should be the originating source with a reporter’s credit at the end.
When adding a wire-service quote to a story, particularly if it is exclusive information or an anonymous quote, indicate the source: “Bush is going to run for re-election,” a senior administration official told the Washington Post.
On some pages you will see bylines from news agencies rather than our staff. We trust news agencies such as The Badger Project, Wisconsin Watch and public agencies such as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to help us cover the world as fully as possible and to adhere to the highest journalistic standards.
We have a no byline policy on editorials written by our Editorial Board. The editorial board strongly views its role with respect to editorials independent of the news-gathering side of our organization. Through our staff-written editorials, we take positions on important issues affecting our readership. The editorials are unsigned because, while written by one or more members of our staff, they represent the point of view of our news organization’s management. In order to take informed positions, we meet frequently with government, community and business leaders on important issues affecting our cities, region and state. During elections, we meet with candidates for office and the proponents and opponents of ballot initiatives and then make recommendations to voters.
Visual Imaging and Editing
Visual journalists and those who manage visual news productions are accountable for upholding the following standards in their daily work:
Strive to make images that report truthfully, honestly and objectively. Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.
Aside from portraits and illustrations, never set up photographs or videos or manipulate news events. Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects. Images that are altered by the photographer or designer for illustration purposes must be labeled as such.
Treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration to vulnerable subjects and compassion to victims of crime or tragedy. Intrude on private moments of grief only when the public has an overriding and justifiable need to see.
Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images (still or video) or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects. Be truthful and accurate in your captioning.
Do not pay sources or subjects or reward them materially for information or participation.
Reproducing images from print and online publications is sometimes acceptable if the context of the printed page or screen grab is included and the story is about the image and the use in said publication. Editor discussion and approval is required.
Harvesting images from television media requires agreement between the television station and our publication. Frame grabs must be of images made by the station’s staff. Source credit must accompany the image.
All photographs are, by definition, copyrighted by the person or entity that made or owns the image. We therefore should not publish images taken from the web or other digital sources without permission of the copyright holder except in circumstances that require approval by an editor. Exceptions are media sites, such as those of sports leagues that provide images for media dissemination, and sites of public agencies (such as cities, counties, state and federal departments). Any photos pulled from social media should be first vetted by an editor so that all verification efforts and processes are discussed and followed.
Every effort will be made to know and adhere to the video policy of the venue we are covering ahead of live coverage. If the video policies are prohibitive, there should be discussion on how to proceed with coverage.
Valley Sentinel prohibits the use of news photographs or video by political campaigns or any advocacy group. Likewise, Valley Sentinel visual journalism generally is not to be used for any commercial purpose (other than our own). Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Editorial Board for educational textbooks/purposes or for historical accounts. Valley Sentinel journalism should not be compromised by becoming a part of any candidate or group’s political campaign, or used for a money-making venture by an outside organization.
Issues about visual taste, such as dead bodies, nudity, graffiti and language, must be discussed and approved by editors for both print and online.
Meals, Tickets, Travel Policy
As a general rule, we pay our own way.
Valley Sentinel will pay for meals and drinks shared with news sources. In general, we do not accept complimentary meals.
Staff members may accept free admission to plays, concerts and other performances and sporting events only for the purpose of reviewing them, covering them or are otherwise on assignment for Valley Sentinel.
Transportation and other expenses necessary for the performance of professional duties shall be paid by Valley Sentinel in all possible cases.
Gifts and Sample Products
Employees should not accept or solicit business-connected gifts or free services. Items received whose value is greater than $25 should be returned or donated to a charity. Items that are of token or insignificant value (under $25), such as calendars, pencils or key chains, may be accepted if returning them would be awkward.
Books, compact discs, sample food products, software or other items sent to the Valley Sentinel for review purposes are accepted as news releases. These items should never, under any circumstances, be sold for personal profit.
Conflicts of Interest and Outside Activities
Grants and scholarship funding for seminars/conferences and events to help build skills and knowledge could also be accepted. Before accepting any funding to cover tuition to any outside event, a member of the senior management team must be consulted and allowed ample time to weigh-in.
Employees should not have a financial connection to anything they cover, whether it be owning stock or other form of investment, holding an outside job, or receiving a fee for service or preferential treatment that has an economic value. Conflicts involving the financial interests of spouses or close family members should also be avoided.
Online and Outside Activity
Staff members should avoid advertising or blatantly espousing viewpoints on public issues in professional settings where they are representing Valley Sentinel — in person and online. Staff members should not take an active part or a public stand on political, public policy or any other debates over which they may end up covering.
Staff members should also avoid signing petitions or otherwise identifying themselves with causes they are expected to cover.
Staff members should avoid outside activities that could conflict with their jobs. Contributions to political candidates, parties, political or activist organizations in the news could be a conflict of interest and should be avoided. Contributions to religious or charitable organizations normally do not pose a conflict of interest.
Routine involvement in religion, hobbies, recreational pursuits, neighborhood and school programs generally do not pose a conflict of interest.
In order to preserve the integrity of the Valley Sentinel as a business, matters such as internal policies, personnel issues, internal conversations and staff meetings, and data such as metrics or financial results, are not for public consumption unless they appear in published form or you have obtained permission of the Editorial Board.
Freelancing by staff members may be permissible. All freelance assignments must be approved by a supervisor.
Information that appears first in a Valley Sentinel paper may be recast to appear in a national publication. The writer will be identified as a Valley Sentinel staffer whenever possible. A supervisor must always be notified when staffers intend to use their newspaper for identification purposes in freelance work.
Radio and Television
Staffers asked to appear on shows where the appearance is related to the staffer’s area of expertise should obtain the approval of a supervisor. The guest must be clearly identified as a staffer for the Valley Sentinel or one of its individual newsrooms. Valley Sentinel journalists are held to the same standards in broadcast media as they would be in print. A reporter, for example, should speak to facts and can provide analysis, but should not offer opinion. A columnist has more leeway in this regard, just as he or she does in print.
Paid appearances, such as regularly appearing on a radio show, are regarded as freelance assignments. They are allowed with a supervisor’s knowledge and approval.
When invited, Valley Sentinel staff members are permitted to speak before trade groups, community organizations, etc., but should not accept speaking fees.
Instances where a staff member will be permitted to accept expenses or fees as part of a speaking engagement will be decided on a case-by-case basis in consultation with a supervisor, using ethics — not economics — as the overriding factor.
Employees shall not use their positions with the Valley Sentinel to get any benefit or advantage in commercial transactions or personal business for themselves, their families, friends or acquaintances.
Employees shall not use the company name, reputation, phone number or stationery to imply a threat of retaliation or pressure, to curry favor or to seek personal gain.
Employees shall not write, photograph, illustrate or make news judgments about anyone related to them by blood or marriage, or with whom they have a close personal relationship. This does not apply to first-person stories or stories in which the relationships are clearly spelled out.
Journalists shall not provide sponsored content in order to preserve the organization’s editorial integrity and independence. This includes reporters, visual journalists and digital specialists. Any and all sponsored content online and in print must be clearly identified as such.
This ethics policy was derived from policies adopted by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, National Public Radio, the National Press Photographers Association, the Poynter Institute and the SCNG.
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Last updated: March 30, 2023