Social Streets CIC is a not-for-profit news and media organisation that publishes local news and culture magazines in London, United Kingdom, including Roman Road LDN, Bethnal Green LDN, Poplar LDN and Whitechapel LDN. Our ‘Editorial Policy’ applies to all our publications.
Our most important currency is trust.
The purpose of this code is, above all, to protect and foster the bond of trust between Social Streets CIC, in print and online, and its readers, and therefore to protect the integrity of Social Streets CIC and its journalism, however it is published.
Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice
Social Streets CIC – in common with most news publishers in Britain – considers the PCC’s Code of Practice to be a sound statement of ethical behaviour for journalists. It is written into our terms of employment that staff should adhere to the Code of Practice.
It is recognised that people will often speak more honestly if they are allowed to speak anonymously. The use of non-attributed quotes can therefore often assist the reader towards a truer understanding of a subject than if a journalist confined him/herself to quoting bland on-the-record quotes. But if used lazily or indiscriminately anonymous quotes become a menace.
We should be honest about our sources, even if we can’t name them.
There may be exceptional circumstances when anonymous pejorative quotes may be used, but they will be rare — and only after consultation with the senior editor of the day. In the absence of specific approval we should paraphrase anonymous pejorative quotes.
Articles commissioned by Social Streets CIC should be published anonymously or pseudonymously only in exceptional circumstances, for example where the author’s safety, privacy or livelihood may be compromised, and only with the permission of the relevant editor or managing editor. In these cases, readers should be made aware that identities have been obscured or withheld. This provision need not apply to user-generated content published or reproduced on our print and digital platforms, or to authors with established pseudonyms commissioned or hosted by SS in that capacity.
Staff must not reproduce other people’s material without attribution, other than in exceptional circumstances – for example where the source cannot be identified — and only with permission of the most senior editor on duty. The source of published material obtained from another organisation should be acknowledged, including quotes taken from other newspaper articles. Bylines should be carried only on material that is substantially the work of the bylined journalist. If an article contains a significant amount of agency copy then the agency should be credited.
Bribery and facilitation payments
The Bribery Act 2010 takes a robust approach to bribery, and creates a number of criminal offences, which even if committed abroad can be prosecuted in the UK. (See also ‘Freebies’)
Special care should be taken when dealing with children (under the age of 16). Heads of departments must be informed when children have been photographed or interviewed without parental consent. Articles that include significant intrusions into children’s private lives without their understanding and consent need a strong public interest justification.
In view of the longevity of online material, editors should consider whether children’s identities should be obscured to protect them from embarrassment or harm as they grow older.
The general rule is that no one should be given the right to copy approval. In certain circumstances we may allow people to see copy or quotes but we are not required to alter copy. We should avoid offering copy approval as a method of securing interviews or co-operation.
Journalists should not use content from non-authorised third-party sources – whether pictures, text or other media – without obtaining the necessary permissions. There are limited legal situations where permission may not be needed but you must check with the picture desk or editorial legal before using without permission.
Should not be changed to alter their context or meaning.
Journalists should not agree to promote through copy, photographs or footnotes the financial interests of prospective interviewees or contributors, or their sponsors, as a means of securing access to them. Promotional information about a subject or author provided in footnotes should be included only where, in the editor’s judgment, it is of genuine interest or assistance to the reader.
It is the policy of the Social Streets CIC to correct significant errors as soon as possible. Journalists have a duty to cooperate frankly and openly with the publications’ editors and to report errors to them. All complaints should be brought to the attention of the readers’ editors.
The more serious the criticism or allegations we are reporting the greater the obligation to allow the subject the opportunity to respond.
Grief and Suicide
People should be treated with sensitivity during periods of grief and trauma.
Journalists are asked to exercise particular care in reporting suicide or issues involving suicide, bearing in mind the risk of encouraging others. This should be borne in mind both in presentation, including the use of pictures, and in describing the method of suicide. Any substances should be referred to in general rather than specific terms if possible. The feelings of relatives should also be carefully considered. When appropriate a helpline number should be given, in general the following: In the UK the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123.
Respect for the reader demands that we should not casually use words that are likely to offend. Use swear words only when absolutely necessary to the facts of a piece, or to portray a character in an article; there is almost never a case in which we need to use a swearword outside direct quotes. The stronger the swearword, the harder we ought to think about using it. Avoid using in headlines, pull quotes and standfirsts.
We are not covered for libel so please don’t publish anything that could be libellous. 🙂
Digitally enhanced or altered images, montages and illustrations should be clearly labeled as such.
We believe in respecting people’s privacy. Much journalism may be intrinsically intrusive but we should avoid invading anyone’s privacy unless there is a clear public interest in doing so. Caution should also be exercised about reporting and publishing identifying details, such as street names and numbers, that may enable others to intrude on the privacy or safety of people who have become the subject of media coverage. In general, we do not publish someone’s race or ethnic background or religion unless that information is pertinent to the story. We do not report the race of criminal suspects unless their ethnic background is part of a description that seeks to identify them or is an important part of the story (for example, if the crime was a hate crime).
Sources promised confidentiality must be protected at all costs. However, where possible, the sources of information should be identified as specifically as possible.
Journalists should generally identify themselves as Social Streets CIC employees when working on a story. There may be instances involving stories of exceptional public interest where this does not apply, but this needs the approval of a head of department. This applies to anything we publish, including any information obtained by the subterfuge of others.
We are not first with our news, but we are trusted. Trust in the authenticity and reliability of our sources is essential. Digital communications and a fast-moving news environment present special challenges for verification, and scepticism should therefore be the starting point for web and email sources. We must be tenacious is seeking reliable corroboration and should state the level of substantiation we have been able to achieve (eg, ” Roman Road LDN has been unable independently to verify the facts”). Do not state as fact information about or from someone who we cannot authenticate (eg, “A student who says she witnessed the riot”, not “A student who witnessed the riot”). Where relevant we must be open with readers in saying what medium was used to conduct an interview. Satisfaction with sources is the responsibility of desk editors as well as reporters and correspondents, and sub-editors should be confident in challenging the dependability of information.
1. Staff should not use their position to obtain private benefit for themselves or others.
2. Social Streets CIC will not allow any payment, gift or other advantage to undermine accuracy, fairness or independence. Any attempts to induce favourable editorial treatment through the offer of gifts or favours should be reported to the editor. Where relevant, payments, gifts or other advantages will be disclosed.
3. Staff should not be influenced by commercial considerations — including the interests of advertisers— in the preparation of material for the paper.
4. Gifts other than those of an insignificant value (less than £50) should be politely returned or may be entered for the annual raffle of such items for charity.
Interaction with readers
Our most important relationship is the one we have with our readers and site users. Courtesy applies whether an exchange takes place in person, by telephone, letter, email or social media.