Journalists are held to a high standard in the community and have many expectations; the chief among these is the expectation of honesty and trustworthiness.

We adhere to a code of conduct based on that of the Canadian Association of Journalists, the National NewsMedia Council, and best practices in the industry.

ETHICS POLICY

1/ We strive for accuracy and fairness

2/ All interviews are recorded or done by email; all interview subjects are informed interviews will be recorded to ensure quotations are transcribed accurately and in context. We do not alter an interview when it is transcribed; however, we will include parenthetical additions. These are indicated in square brackets. For example: Tom [Smith] is the greatest hockey player on our team.” In this case, the addition is to clarify which Tom the interview subject is referring to.

3/ We avoid allowing personal biases on any issue influence the reporting of that issue. We attempt to present both sides of an issue in our reporting. If the opposition is critical of the government in power, we will seek to get the government’s point of view prior to publication.

4/ In a small community it is almost impossible for those writing the news to not be involved in the news at some point. We make every effort to disclose conflicts of interest if the story is controversial or if it involves the spending of public money. A story on a club having a bake sale fundraiser could be written by a reporter who is a member of that club, provided that club is not being covered to the exclusion of another – or more excessively than another. Conflicts are usually written as follows:

Ed. Note: The author of this article is the Board Chair of Organization XYZ

5/ Photos videos and audio recordings are not altered in any way that would mislead the public. Composite images, montages and special effects will carry a photo credit and a credit to the designer who altered the image for visual effect.

6/ We respect Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection (FOIPP) and will always ensure with school administration or parents that identified children are permitted to be published in our print and online edition.

Reporters, photographers and videographers will wear lanyards when covering larger community events.

7/ Morinville Online is an independent publication owned solely by Pawn Marketing & Publishing Inc. We do not give favoured treatment to advertisers and special interest groups. We make a strong effort to do a story on all new businesses that open in Morinville whether they contact us to advertise or not.

8/ Morinville Online uses anonymous sources only when there is a strong reason to do so and will always identify the reason for doing so. Example: “Karen (last name withheld to protect the identity of her children) said A, B, C, and D.”

9/ If we promise to protect a source’s identity, we protect the identity of that source.

10/ Diversity of content, values and viewpoints are always an aim. Our letters page and editorial space is open to the government in power and the parties that are opposed to the government in power. We welcome letters on a wide variety of topics but will not publish letters critical of how someone was treated at a local business or how their steak was not cooked the way they like it. Such letters are outside our coverage.

12/ Morinville Online answers to the public for our reporting and conduct. Our comments section has as many comments opposed to editorial viewpoints as it does comments in favour. Sometimes we respond. Sometimes we do not. But we always allow comments critical of our coverage to stand.

13/ Mistakes in fact are corrected at the first available opportunity and with the same degree of seriousness.

An editor’s note is attached to indicate the change in the article.

14/ Bylines are used on all articles that are purely original reporting. We typically use by Morinville Online Staff on any article that is a police report, reworked news release, or game coverage where we have relied on game sheets and or league websites. When you see a byline and the words with files from, it means that the reporter has used past reporting as background in the article.

15/ The differentiation between articles, columns, and editorials is as follows:

Articles must be written objectively and balanced with no opinion.

Columns are the opinion of the columnist but still must contain factual and fair information.

Editorials are the opinion of the publication as a whole. Although opinion pieces, they must contain factual and fair information.

16/ We do not charge for articles. FULL STOP. A business may purchase an advertorial, which is an advertisement in article form; however, that article must clearly be marked that it is sponsored content so that the reader clearly understands that the content is an advertising promotion.

WHAT WE COVER

MorinvilleNews.com and MorinvilleOnline.com cover community news in the following scale of importance:

Must Know: These are subjects of broad interest and importance to our readers, including stories on tax matters, bylaws and matters of public safety or public health. We refer to this as Hard News.

Should Know: Community news is about what is going on in the community, and we believe our residents should know what programs, events and non-commercial entertainment are going on in the community. We call this Soft News.

Nice to Know: You can tell the story of a community by the story of its people. We make every effort to cover stories about our residents and organizations, our faith groups and our service clubs. We also call this Soft News.

Promoting Your Stuff: We receive many invites to cover commercial undertakings, and while we do our best to cover everything from bake sales to store openings, we cannot be at everything.

for as long as news publication has been around, there have been advertorials, which is paid content that is published like a news story. We do publish these in print and video form and they are clearly marked as sponsored content.

BALANCED COVERAGE

Morinville Online seeks to find balance in the stories we cover to be of interest to all segments of our community.

Hard News – As stated above – Hard news takes precedent and we try to put it towards the front.

Soft News – As stated above – You will find this throughout the publication.

Around the Schools – We make every effort to chronicle essential events and happenings in ALL of Morinville’s schools.

Arts and Culture – We provide coverage on visiting and local entertainment, artists, and writers. These stories are sponsored by Smith Music.

Sports – We cover as many local sports as we can but are not able to cover every team. We invite coaches to submit their information for inclusion.

Seniors – Though not a weekly element of the publication, we make a strong effort to present stories and photos on what is happening in our community with seniors.

Faith – Though also not a weekly element of the publication, we do not shy away from covering our faith community and the role they play in Morinville.

Food and Health – these articles and recipes, including our Soaring Pig video columns, are sponsored by Sobeys Morinville.

Community Champions – This is the name of our People Feature stories, which are sponsored by Champion Petfoods. Here we look at interesting people, groups and organizations in the community who are working hard to build a better community.

Photos – From cheque presentations to cool shots, we believe a picture is worth a thousand words, though we generally add a hundred or so to tell what is going on.

Complaints

MorinvilleNews.com is a member of the National NewsMedia Council, which deals with complaints about news stories, opinion columns or photos. See the NNC web site at mediacouncil.ca or call 1-844-877-1163 for more information.

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